F. Scott Fitzgerald Quotations

The following quotes are by or about F. Scott Fitzgerald.


[Quotations #1] [Quotations #2] [Quotations #3] [Quotations #4] [Quotations #5] [Quotations #6]


"Action is character."

- The Notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich/Bruccoli Clark, 1978. p. 332

Fitzgerald included this observation in the working notes for his novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon. He was implementing the idea in his development of producer Monroe Stahr, whose artistic integrity and talent for the movie business are conveyed through what he does.

submitted by Tracy Simmons Bitonti


"Art invariably grows out of a period when, in general, the artist admires his own nation and wants to win its approval. . . . The greatest grow out of these periods as the tall heads of the crop."

- from Fitzgerald's Notebook

Fitzgerald on Art and Patriotism

submitted by Robert F. Moss


"The men who locked their wives out in the snow, because the snow of twenty-nine wasn't real snow. If you didn't want it to be snow you just paid some money."

- from "Babylon Revisited," The Saturday Evening Post, 21 February 1931.

In "Babylon Revisited" Fitzgerald directly examines the cultural differences between the reckless 1920s and the painfully sober 1930s. Charlie Wales, a reformed alcoholic widower, attempts to regain custody of his daughter in Depression-era Paris. Although the hero exhibits a noble purpose in trying to reform and win back his child, he cannot escape his indirect responsibility for his wife's death. He admits he lost a lot of money in the economic crash, "but I lost everything I wanted in the boom."

submitted by Park Bucker


"Out of the deep sophistication of Anthony an understanding formed, nothing atavistic or obscure, indeed scarcely physical at all, an understanding remembered from the romancings of many generations of minds that as she talked and caught his eyes and turned her lovely head, she moved him as he had never been moved before....She was a sun, radiant, growing, gathering light and storing it--then after an eternirty pouring it forth in a glance, the fragment of a sentence, to that part of him that cherished all beauty and all illusion."

- Anthony Patch's thoughts of his future wife, Gloria, in The Beautiful and Damned

submitted by Mary Sidney Watson


"France was a land, England was a people, but America having about it still that quality of idea, was harder to utter--it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up, "Notebook 0," 1945

Part of what F. Scott Fitzgerald is known for is his love of America. This quotation reflects that love and his strong sense of national pride.

submitted by Catherine Lewis


"Poetry is either something that lives like fire inside you -- like music to the musician or Marxism to the Communist -- or else it is nothing, an empty, formalized bore around which pedants can endlessly drone their notes and explanations."

- FSF to Frances Scott Fitzgerald, 1940; qtd. in F. Scott Fitzgerald On Writing, New York: Scribners, 1985, 56.

Fitzgerald's letters to his daughter Scottie are filled with advice on writing, and no small part of what he had to say relates to the reading of poetry. Part of what makes Fitzgerald's prose so beautiful and lyrical is the influence poetic language had on him.

submitted by Michael Cody


Fitzgerald Centenary Comments

This page updated 27 January 1997.
Copyright 1997, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
URL http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/quotes/quotes5.html