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]

"He had one of the rarest qualities in all literature, and it's a great shame that the word for it has been thoroughly debased by the cosmetic racketeers, so that one is almost ashamed to use it to describe a real distinction. Nevertheless, the word is charm--charm as Keats would have used it. Who has it today? It's not a matter of pretty writing or clear style. It's a kind of subdued magic, controlled and exquisite, the sort of thing you get from good string quartettes."

- Raymond Chandler on F. Scott Fitzgerald

In a 12 November 1950 letter to Dale Warren--the publicity director of Houghton Mifflin--detective novelist Raymond Chandler commented about Fitzgerald,

submitted by Robert F. Moss

"I had no idea of originating an American flapper when I first began to write. I simply took girls whom I knew very well and, because they interested me as unique human beings, I used them for my heroines."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald in His Own Time: A Miscellany, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1971. p. 265.

Fitzgerald originally made this comment in a November 1923 interview for Metropolitan Magazine. Early in his career he had acquired the popular reputation of having created the "flapper," particularly in his stories, but this image is misleading. Fitzgerald's female characters are not trivial, immature, dumb beauties; instead, they are independent, courageous, and determined.

submitted by Tracy Simmons Bitonti

"In the spring of '27, something bright and alien flashed across the sky. A young Minnesotan who seemed to have nothing to do with his generation did a heroic thing, and for a moment people set down their glasses in country clubs and speakeasies and thought their old best dreams."

- "Echoes of the Jazz Age," The Crack-Up, 1945.

F. Scott Fitzgerald on Charles Augustus Lindbergh. 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

"What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story."

- from the Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western, section 15 (first part).

Cecelia's willingness to relate a personally shameful story to the reader reinforces her credibility as a narrator. It also distinguishes her from previous Fitzgerald heroines through her candor and selflessness. Unlike Daisy Buchanan and Nicole Diver, Cecelia Brady is not a man-killer. Fitzgerald presents her love for Monroe Stahr as charmingly adolescent rather than threatening or consuming.

submitted by Park Bucker

"Again she struggled with it, fighting him with her small, fine eyes, with the plush arrogance of a top dog, with her nascent transference to another man, with the accumulated resentment of years; she fought him with her money and her faith that her sister disliked him and was behind her now; with the thought of the new enemies he was making with his bitterness, with her quick guile against his wine-ing and dine-ing slowness, her health and beauty against his physical deterioration, her unscrupulousness against his moralities--for this inner battle she used even her weaknesses--fighting bravely and courageously with the old cans and crockery and bottles, empty receptacles of her expiated sins, outrages, mistakes."

- Nicole Diver makes her final break with her husband, Dick, in Tender Is the Night

submitted by Mary Sidney Watson

"Fitzgerald was a better just plain writer than all of us put together. Just words writing."

- John O'Hara to John Steinbeck; Selected Letters of John O'Hara, New York: Random, 1978, 224.

Fitzgerald's prose has always been greatly admired by other writers. After Fitzgerald died on 21 December 1940, Scribners editor Maxwell Perkins briefly considered having another writer attempt to finish _The Love of the Last Tycoon_, the novel Fitzgerald had in progress at the time of his death. John O'Hara was approached, but he declined because he believed that no other writer could finish Fitzgerald's work.

submitted by Michael Cody

Fitzgerald Centenary Comments

This page updated 27 Jan 1997.
Copyright 1997, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.
URL http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/quotes/quotes6.html