When LauraGuthrie walked into Scott Fitzgerald’s room at the Grove Park Inn on the morning of Friday, September 13, 1935, she found empty glasses and cigarette butts everywhere and Fitzgerald himself on the bed, with bloodshot eyes, drawn lips, skin raw from eczema, twitching leg muscles, and a distorted look about the eyes. “My nerves are going,” he told her. “I’m about to break.” He couldn’t do any work at all, he said. He wept, as he often had that summer. He pretended he was having a heart attack. Then he demanded one more favor of the woman who had served as his “secretary” (that is, his always-to-be-available companion, good listener, potential conquest, and occasional typist) all summer in Asheville. She’d have to get him dressed and packed and deliver him to the hospital, but only after marching through the lobby and checking out as if on his way to the train. He might be at death’s door, but appearances mattered.
Though she knew it wasn’t fair that she should have to do the job, Mrs. Guthrie helped her invalid pack up his filthy clothes and ushered him through the lobby to a waiting taxicab. Three months earlier she had thought Fitzgerald “a lost soul, wandering in purgatory—sometimes hell” and had hoped to “save him and help him write steadily and really be his good angel.” Now, after lying to cover up his affair with Beatrice Dance and witnessing his daily attempt to achieve oblivion through drink, she only wanted to be quit of her charge. When she’d deposited him at the hospital she “felt like a kid out of school,” her responsibility over.
Fitzgerald’s collapse in Asheville was his fourth breakdown in two years, he told Mrs. Guthrie. Liquor was the immediate cause of the problem, though Fitzgerald was also distressed about Zelda’s illness and about his dwindling capacity to do the kind of work expected of him. The previous spring when Arnold Gingrich had come calling on him in Baltimore, Fitzgerald—clad in a “ratty old bathrobe”—moaned about having to write a story of young love for the Saturday Evening Post. He could no longer write such stories with conviction, he said, and the idea of producing one brought up his “cold gorge.” “Well, why not write about that?” Gingrich had suggested.
Still other difficulties contributed to Fitzgerald’s periodic breakdowns, chief among them his constitutional tendency toward sadness. “Please don’t be depressed,” Zelda had written him in 1931, eighteen months after her own collapse. “Nothing is sad about you except your sadness and the frayed places in your pink kimono and that you care so much about everything.” Her husband was temperamentally unsuited to happiness, however. Hemingway’s “instinct [was] toward megalomania,” Fitzgerald later commented, “and mine toward melancholy.” What psychic kink lay behind that disposition to melancholy? What was it, as his three “gloom articles” in “The Crack-Up” put it, that cut off the sun and caused him to crack like a plate?
Fitzgerald’s three articles, which ran in Esquire for February, March, and April 1936, precipitated an extraordinary response from the magazine’s readers. “I get letters from all over,” Fitzgerald wrote Gingrich on March 20. These letters came from old friends who wanted to cheer him up, from total strangers who recognized something of their own plight in Fitzgerald’s account of emotional exhaustion, and most of all from other writers, among them James Boyd, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, Nancy Hoyt, John O’Hara, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, G. B. Stern, Julian Street, and Alexander Woollcott.
As O’Hara remarked in an April letter, “I suppose you get comparatively little mail these days that does not dwell at greater or less length on your Esquire pieces, and I guess few of the writers resist, as I am resisting, the temptation to go into their own troublesfor purposes of contrast.” (O’Hara then revealed that he had recently been jilted by his girl and had picked up a dose of clap on the rebound.)
The very nature of “The Crack-Up” articles called for some response. Here a well-known writer was admitting in print that he had cracked like a plate and lost much of the vitality that made him successful. Furthermore, at the end of the second article, Fitzgerald openly appealed for reader reaction.
The correspondence that found its way back to Fitzgerald varied enormously in tone. Much of it sympathetically proposed solutions to his dilemma. Some letter-writers suggested God, some Alcoholics Anonymous, some a rendezvous. Others recounted their own troubles, delivered pep talks, tried to jolly him up. The worst were those who could not resist the opportunity to preach at Fitzgerald. “Please write me,” he asked Max Perkins in February 1937. “You are about the only friend who does not see fit to incorporate a moral lesson, especially since the Crack-Up stuff. Actually I hear from people in Sing Sing & Joliet all comforting & advising me.”
The media reaction was mixed. The New Yorkers “Talk of the Town” dismissed the essays with an air of superiority. “F. Scott Fitzgerald has been telling, in Esquire, how sad he feels in middle life,” the item began, and went on to refer to his “picturesque despondency.” The San Francisco Chronicle observed in similar vein that the “gentleman in question is being a little too sorry for himself,” but acknowledged that one could “hardly help being interested in what he has to say,” the more so since he seemed to strike a common chord, and his essays went far “to explain the spiritual troubles of many another member of the almost-lost generation. ”
Such friends as Margaret Turnbull and Marie Hamm agreed. “Your story is a mental snapshot of a rather universal experience,” Mrs. Turnbull wrote after reading his first article. All of us end up “more or less defeated,” but since so many shared this experience, Fitzgerald would discover “a chain of people, stretching around the world, to catch hold of [his] hands.” One hand that reached out was that of Scott’s first girl in St. Paul, Marie Hersey Hamm. “Cheer up, darling, life begins at forty!” she wrote early in October, responding both to the Esquire articles and to the account, in Time,of Fitzgerald’s disastrous fortieth birthday interview with Michel Mok for the New York Post. Mrs. Hamm granted that Fitzgerald had probably gone “on a more prolonged binge than the rest of us,” and that therefore his “hang-over, awakening, or what have you” was that much more oppressive. But life, she insisted, was pretty swell, especially when you considered the alternative. Among their mutual friends, Joe Ordway was in a sanitarium and Theodore Schultze had died the week before. “When you’re dead, you’re dead, my pet, so why not enjoy it while you’re here.” It was nice of Marie to write, Fitzgerald acknowledged. “However, child,” he told her, “life is more complicated than that.”
Not all of his female friends were so sympathetic. Nora Flynn, who’d seen the shabby hotel room in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where Fitzgerald began the articles, imagined him lying prone, “thinking about himself. He never was interested in anyone or anything but himself.” And to Sara Murphy too, Fitzgerald seemed so wrapped up in himself as to be unable to sympathize with others. Did Scott really, honestly think that “life was something you dominated if you were any good”? That kind of arrogance brought an incident to mind:
I remember once your saying to me—in Montana at Harry’s Bar, you & Dotty [Parker] were talking about your disappointments, & you turned to me and said: I don’t suppose you have ever known despair? I remember it so well as I was furious, & thought my god the man thinks no one knows despair who isn’t a writer & can describe it. This is my feeling about your articles.
John Dos Passos also proposed that Fitzgerald stop regarding his own navel. “Christ, man, how do you find time in the middle of the general conflagration to worry about all that stuff?… We’re living in one of the damnedest tragic moments in history—if you want to go to pieces I think it’s absolutely O.K. But I think you ought to write a first-rate novel about it (and you probably will) instead of spilling it in little pieces for Arnold Gingrich—”
The important thing, to Dos Passos and other writer-friends, was that Fitzgerald should continue to do his work. “Katy & I … wish like hell you could find some happy way of getting that magnificentworking apparatus of yours to work darkening paper, which is its business,” as Dos Passos put it in another letter. Even if he remained unhappy, Fitzgerald ought to turn that sorrow to literary account. “I suppose you know that nothing is wasted,” Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings asserted. “The hell you’ve been through isn’t wasted. All you have to do, ever, is to forget everything and turn that terrible, clear white light you possess, on the minds and emotions of the people it stirs you to write about.” Ernest Hemingway had offered much the same advice after reading Tender Is the Night and detecting traces of self-pity in the portrayal of Dick Diver. Forget your personal tragedy, he told Fitzgerald. “But when you get the damned hurt use it—don’t cheat with it.” Neither of them were tragic characters. They were only writers, and what they should do was write.
Hemingway did not intend, however, that Fitzgerald should bleed all over the page. “The Crack-Up” articles struck him as a despicable whining in public. His old friend Scott had become the “Maxie Baer” of writers, he wrote Max Perkins, sunk to the canvas in the “shamelessness of defeat.” In “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” which appeared in the August 1936 Esquire, Hemingway dismissed Fitzgerald openly. “Poor Scott Fitzgerald” had been “wrecked,” Ernest wrote, by his worship of the rich. When Fitzgerald objected, Hemingway explained that since Scott had written himself off in “The Crack-Up” he figured it was open season on him. (It must have been something of the same savage distaste for public confession that inspired syndicated columnist Westbrook Pegler’s ill-spirited obituary of Fitzgerald: his death recalled to Pegler “memories of a queer band of undisciplined and self-indulgent brats who were determined not to pull their weight in the boat and wanted the world to drop everything and sit down and bawl with them.”)
Though he did not share the vehemence of Hemingway, the gentlemanly Perkins was also embarrassed by “The Crack-Up” articles. Parading one’s troubles in public simply wasn’t done. A man of reticence himself, Perkins was one of those—Fitzgerald so described them in his second “Crack-Up” article—“to whom all self-revelation is contemptible, unless it ends with a noble thanks to the gods for the Unconquerable Soul.’ He regarded Fitzgerald’s articles as an “indecent invasion of his own privacy,” and thus faced a delicate problem when Fitzgerald proposed on March 25, 1936, that his autobiographical magazine writing might be stitched together into a good and saleable book. Perkins had already discouraged this idea once, but since “the interest in this Esquire series has been so big,” Fitzgerald pointed out, “I thought you might reconsider the subject.” Perkins replied tactfully that he’d much prefer “a reminiscent book—not autobiographical but reminiscent. … I do not think the Esquire pieces ought to be published alone. But as for an autobiographical book which would comprehend what is in them, I would be very much for it.” It would need integration, however, and should not be a mere collection of articles.
By the fall of 1936, Fitzgerald had abandoned any idea of collecting “The Crack-Up” articles. Both Perkins and agent Harold Ober had by then indicated that the articles were doing real damage to his reputation as a writer. “My Hollywood deal,” he wrote Beatrice Dance in September, “was seriously compromised by their general tone. It seems to have implied to some that I was a complete moral and artistic bankrupt.” As a consequence he began disavowing “those indiscreet Esquire articles.” They were not to be taken too seriously, he told Hamilton Basso. Later he withheld the articles from Sheilah Graham for some time before showing her the tearsheets with the admonition, “I shouldn’t have written these.”
When Edmund Wilson began assembling the volume of Fitzgerald’s nonfiction and critical praise that emerged in 1945 as The Crack-Up, he encountered some opposition from both Perkins and Ober. As early as February 1941 Wilson had suggested to Perkins that “The Crack-Up” should be brought out in book form. “I hated it when it came out, just as you did,” Wilson remarked, “but I have found several intelligent people that think highly of it. There was more truth and sincerity in it, I suppose, than we realized at the time. He wanted it published in a book himself, and after all I dare say it is a part of the real Fitzgerald record.” These were excellent reasons for Scribner’s to publish such a book, but Perkins remained adamant. Eventually Wilson took his project to New Directions, but not before he’d lobbied on its behalf with Fitzgerald’s financial executor John Biggs. He intended to call his bookThe Crack-Up, editor Wilson explained, not because he was enamored of the title, but because
Glenway Wescott’s appreciation is largely based on The Crack-Up, and… if you read The Crack-Up through, you realize that is not a discreditable confession but an account of a kind of crisis that many men of Scott’s generation have gone through, and that in the end he sees a way to live by application to his work.
What was that crisis? The words of “The Crack-Up” tend to blur the issue. Only by reading between the lines do the dimensions of Fitzgerald’s crack-up begin, fuzzily, to take shape.
When The Crack-Up emerged as a book in 1945, Lionel Trilling hailed Fitzgerald’s “heroic self-awareness, ’ Glenway Wescott praised his candor, and Andrews Wanning detected “a desperate effort at self-disclosure.” Yet Fitzgerald was far from totally forthcoming in his articles for Esquire. As Alfred Kazin realized, “The author is somehow offering us certain facts in exchange for the right to keep others to himself.” The thing most conspicuously left out was, naturally, Fitzgerald’s alcoholism—“naturally” because as both Wescott and Malcolm Cowley have observed, denying that one has a drinking problem constitutes one of the symptoms of the disease. Fitzgerald disingenuously attempted to dispose of the issue in his first “Crack-Up” articles. There he referred to William Sea-brook’s book about alcoholism that “tells, with some pride and a movie ending, of how he became a public charge. “ Seabrook’s nervous system had collapsed, and so, admitted Fitzgerald, had his own, but not because of drink: “The present writer was not so entangled,” he lied, “—having at the time not tasted so much as a glass of beer for six months.”
Such denials did not convince everyone. John V. A. Weaver, another writer associated with the Jazz Age, found the first two Esquire articles disturbing, since they described so exactly what had happened to him. “I can’t drink a drop,” he wrote Fitzgerald. “I can only sit impotent, day by day, and see a strange world careen by—a world in which I have no place.” Weaver mailed his letter early in 1936, while George Martin (who did not know Fitzgerald)waited until after the publication of “An Alcoholic Case” in February 1937 to offer his assurance that he’d been in the same boat. “From the stuff you write in Esquire you seem to be having one hell of a time,” Martin began. “If it’s true… please know that I’ve lived all through it—will to die, dts, friends gone, money gone, job gone, self respect gone, guts gone… everything. “ He then suggested that Fitzgerald get hold of Peabody’s Common Sense of Drinking.
This letter struck a nerve, for Fitzgerald answered by proposing external reasons for his malady. Martin gently chided him in reply: “Certainly, as you say, the cause precedes the curse, but it is also true that the old ego breeds rationalizations like guinea pigs.” Indeed, much of “The Crack-Up” reads like a rationalization of Fitzgerald’s breakdown, and the three articles represent more an apologia than a confession. (He does not mention his womanizing at all.) The blame for his breakdown, Fitzgerald implies, lies not within himself but elsewhere: the deficient genes he was bequeathed, the contemporary climate of materialism and insincerity, the growth of motion pictures that threatened to put fiction writers out of business. There was more to it than that.
The dramatic logic of “The Crack-Up” demanded that some immediate cause be located, and so in the first of his essays Fitzgerald indicated that it was a piece of unexpected good news from his doctor—a reprieve from an earlier death sentence—that led him to crack like an old plate. Such an event may have happened, but no biographer has documented it. In the remaining “Crack-Up” essays, significantly, he dropped all reference to this medical reprieve. Instead, in “Pasting It Together,’ he cited three specific blows that led to his breakdown: dropping out of Princeton because of ill health (he does not mention his academic difficulties), temporarily losing Zelda because of lack of money, and suffering an unspecified, more violent third blow that “cut off the sun last spring.”
Obviously and understandably, Fitzgerald was telling less than the whole truth about himself and his family. Similarly, though he acknowledged Edmund Wilson as his “intellectual conscience,” he eliminated almost all names of real people from his articles. To populate his prose he referred instead to the Bible, to William Ernest Henley, to Wordsworth and Keats, to Lenin and Dickensand Tolstoy, to Spinoza, to Descartes, to the Euganean Hills. This wealth of references suggests not only a kind of evasion, but some authorial confusion. Working in a genre new to him, Fitzgerald was searching for a form but had not quite found it.
He had not settled on a consistent tone, either. The language varied from the tough wise-guyism of “All rather inhuman and undernourished, isn’t it? Well, that, children, is the true sign of cracking up” in the first essay to the ornate prosiness of “The dullest platitude monger or the most unscrupulous Rasputin who can influence the destinies of many people must have some individuality so the question became one of finding why and where I had changed, where was the leak through which, unknown to myself, my enthusiasm and my vitality had been steadily and prematurely trickling away” in the third. Re-reading “The Crack-Up,” one is inclined to share the ambivalent reaction of the woman who wrote Fitzgerald that she found it hard to believe his articles really touched the depths of tragedy, yet they were “so convincing as to leave little room for doubt that the author had at some time lived those bitternesses and depressions.”
Clearly, Fitzgerald was suffering from nervous exhaustion, or from—in his phrase—“emotional bankruptcy. “ But that is not what “The Crack-Up” is about. The subject of these essays is Fitzgerald’s misanthropy, and the self-hatred behind it. All three articles, but especially the first and last, deal with the author’s attempted escape from people—more particularly his escape from that large group of people to whom he felt obliged to give something of himself. He had given too much in the past. He would give no more.
When the writing touches on this subject, it achieves a vividness missing elsewhere. On hearing the “grave sentence” of his doctor, Fitzgerald writes in the first article, he “wanted to be absolutely alone” and so cut himself off “from ordinary cares. “ Instead, he sat around making lists. “It was not,” he reveals, “an unhappy time.” Then came the crack-up and with it the realization that “for a long time I had not liked people and things, but only followed the rickety old pretense of liking.” In his casual relations—“with an editor, a tobacco seller, the child of a friend”—he had merely done what was expected. Even with love, he had been going through the motions. He had, in short, been guilty of emotional insincerity forsome time. Instead of blaming himself, he transferred his self-disgust into distaste for most other human beings.
He still admired the looks of Midwestern Scandinavian blondes. He liked “doctors and girl children up to the age of about thirteen and well-brought-up boy children from about eight years old on.” He liked old men and Katharine Hepburn’s face on the screen, and Miriam Hopkins’ face, and old friends if he only had to see them once a year. But there was a large category of people he had come to detest:
I couldn’t stand the sight of Celts, English, Politicians, Strangers, Virginians, Negroes (light or dark), Hunting People, all retail clerks, and middlemen in general, all writers (I avoided writers very carefully because they can perpetuate trouble as no one else can)—and all the classes as classes and most of them as members of their class….
Under the pressure of his crack-up Fitzgerald withdrew from contact with the real world into a period of “vacuous quiet” during which he was forced to think for himself. He then discovered, according to the second article, that he had never done this before. All his ideas had been borrowed from Edmund Wilson and from four other unnamed men, one of whom, his “artistic conscience,” was surely Ernest Hemingway. Not only had he given too freely of himself to people he didn’t care about, but he had submerged his mental development by passively adopting the ideas of others. There was no “I” anymore, Fitzgerald concluded, no basis on which he could organize his self-respect.
The third article, “Handle with Care,” picks up this theme. Unlike Descartes, Fitzgerald’s motto had been, “I felt—therefore I was.” He had, in fact, felt too much, and so he decided that if he wished to survive he must cease “any attempts to be a person— to be kind, just or generous.” In this mood he cynically resolved to develop a false smile to win the favor of those who might be of use to him, and otherwise to cultivate the habit of saying no in a voice that would make “people feel that far from being welcome they are not even tolerated.”
In a series of metaphors of degradation, Fitzgerald revealed theself-disgust that he would not openly articulate. He compared himself to a cracked plate good enough to hold leftovers but not to be brought out for company, to a beggar carrying the “tin cup of self-pity,” to a bankrupt who has overdrawn his account, to a lecturer about to lose his audience, to an empty shell, to a conjurer fresh out of tricks, to a Negro woman cutting out a rival. Then, in the last paragraph of the last article, he made two more telling comparisons that fix the source of his malady. He had concentrated on pleasing others too long, and not without cost:
… And just as the laughing stoicism which has enabled the American negro to endure the intolerable conditions of his existence has cost him his sense of the truth—so in my case there is a price to pay.
Now that he had determined to change, Fitzgerald concluded, life would no longer be as pleasant as it once was. He was a different sort of dog now, one who no longer liked “the postman, nor the grocer, nor the editor, nor the cousin’s husband… and the sign Cave Canem is hung permanently just above my door. “ He would not lick your hand now, Fitzgerald says, if you threw him a bone. In repudiating a past in which he had too often played the fawning servant or the lovable lap dog, Fitzgerald was implicitly condemning himself.
Joan Didion has uncannily echoed the theme of “The Crack-Up” in her essay on “Self-Respect”:
To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference. If we do not respect ourselves, we are on the one hand forced to despise those who have so few resources as to consort with us, so little perception as to remain blind to our fatal weaknesses. On the other, we are peculiarly in thrall to everyone we see, curiously determined to live out—since our self-image is untenable—their false notions of us. We flatter ourselves by thinking this compulsion to please others an attractive trait…. At the mercy of those we cannot but hold incontempt, we play roles doomed to failure before they are begun, each defeat generating fresh despair at the urgency of divining and meeting the next demand made upon us.
It is the phenomenon sometimes called “Alienation from self”… Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will.
This “alienation from self lies behind Fitzgerald’s breakdown, and behind his announced misanthropy. The very process of putting “The Crack-Up” on paper may have helped free him from that alienation, but the therapy did not work immediately.
Certain of Fitzgerald’s readers were sure that his gloom articles would have a purgative effect. He’d be willing to bet, critic Burton Rascoe observed after seeing the first two essays, that Fitzgerald was “already feeling immensely better… self-confident and creative again.” “You’ve been finding out a lot of things that have hurt like hell,” Julian Street told Fitzgerald, “and at the end of it you’ll be grown up… a bigger and better man and a bigger and better writer for it.” His long spell of despondency was far from over, however. Fitzgerald wrote the “Crack-Up” articles in the fall of 1935, Esquire published them early in 1936, and in the summer and fall of that year he was back in Asheville where he broke his shoulder attempting a fancy dive, struck up a romantic liaison with one or more of his nurses, drank continually, and wrote virtually nothing. In September the New York Post printed an interview on Fitzgerald that depicted the one-time chronicler of the Jazz Age as drunken, cynical, and washed-up.
“My life looked like a hopeless mess there for a while,” he later confided to his notebooks, “and the point was I didn’t want it to be better. I had completely ceased to give a good god-damn.” Twice, perhaps half-heartedly, Fitzgerald tried to kill himself. After those attempts failed, he started to rebuild his life.
Significantly, he referred to “The Crack-Up” in his ledger as “biography,” not “autobiography.” This apparent slip of the pen, as critic Robert Sklar has observed, revealed the “essential truth” that the Scott Fitzgerald described in the essays was not the same as the man who wrote about him. “I don’t know whether those articles of mine in Esquire—the ’Crack-Up’ series—representeda real nervous breakdown,” Fitzgerald remarked in July 1939. “In retrospect it seems more of a spiritual ’change of life’—and a most unwilling one.” “Transformation” might be an even better term, for in “The Crack-Up” Fitzgerald sloughed off the skin of the old Irish charmer and declared his determination to let work instead of play dominate the time left to him. He would henceforth be “a writer only,” he announced in his last gloom article. The following year, in Hollywood, Fitzgerald set out to realize that goal. He also continued to wage his long battle with the demon of drink.
145 one more favor… “kid out of school”: Guthrie, pp. 138-43.
146 “ratty old bathrobe”: Arnold Gingrich, “Publisher’s Page—Will the Real Scott Fitzgerald Please Stand Up and Be Counted?” Esquire, 62 (December 1964), 12, 16.
146 “... don’t be depressed…”: ZF to FSF, 1931, Firestone.
146 “Hemingway’s … “melancholy”: FSF to Beatrice Dance, 15 September 1936, Correspondence, p. 543.
146 “letters from all over”: FSF to Arnold Gingrich, 20 March 1936, Letters, pp. 533-34.
146-47 O’Hara … “temptation”: John O’Hara to FSF, April 1936, Selected Letters of John O’Hara, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli (New York: Random House, 1978), p. 115.
147 “Please write me …”: FSF to MP, late February 1937, Scott / Max, p. 235.
147 “sad… in middle life”: “Notes and Comment,” The New Yorker, 12 (14 March 1936), 11.
147 “a little too sorry …”: “Between the Lines,” San Francisco Chronicle, 20 March 1936.
147 “mental snapshot…”: Margaret Turnbull to FSF, 12 February 1936, Firestone.
147-48 “Cheer up … more complicated”: Marie Hersey Hamm to FSF, 5 October 1936, Firestone; FSF to Marie Hersey Hamm, 28 October 1936, Letters, p. 545.
148 “interested … himself: HDP, interview with Nora Flynn, 10 February 1947.
148 “life … dominated…”: Sara Murphy to FSF, 3 April 1936, in Linda Patterson Miller, “’As a Friend You Have Never Failed Me’: The Fitzgerald-Murphy Correspondence,” Journal of Modern Literature, 5 (September 1976), 375-76.
148 “Christ, man…”: John Dos Passos to FSF, October (?) 1936, Crack-Up, p. 311.
148-49 “Katy & I …”: John Dos Passos to FSF, n.d., Firestone.
149 “nothing … wasted…”: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings to FSF, n.d., Firestone.
149 Forget… tragedy …: Quoted in Mizener, pp. 259-60.
149 “Maxie Baer”: Quoted in Berg, p. 302.
149 open season: FSF to Beatrice Dance, 15 September 1936, Letters, p. 542.
149 Pegler’s… obituary: Westbrook Pegler, “Fair Enough,” New York World-Telegram (26 December 1940), p. 17, partly quoted in Jackson R. Bryer, The Critical Reputation of F.Scott Fitzgerald: A Bibliographical Study (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1967), p. 206.
149-50 “indecent invasion …”: John Chamberlain, “The New Books,” Harper’s, 191 (September 1945), unpaginated; Matthew J. Bruccoli, “The Perkins-Wilson Correspondence,” Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual 1978, p. 65.
150 “reconsider”… replied tactfully: FSF to MP, 25 March 1936, and MP to FSF, 26 March 1936, Scott/Max, pp. 227-28.
150 damage… reputation: Harold Ober to FSF, 21 August 1936, As Ever, Scott Fitz------, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Jennifer M. Atkinson (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1972), pp. 279-80; FSF to Beatrice Dance, 15 September 1936, Letters, p. 542.
150 “indiscreet”… Basso… Graham: FSF to Corey Ford, April 1937, Letters, p. 549; Hamilton Basso to EW, 14 October 1944, Firestone; Infidel, p. 237.
150 “hated it… real… record”: EW to MP, 16 February 1941, in EW, Letters on Literature and Politics 1912-1972, ed. Elena Wilson (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977), pp. 337-38.
151 “Glenway … work”: EW to John Biggs, 3 June 1943, Ibid., p. 348.
151 Trilling … Wescott… Wanning: Lionel Trilling, “F. Scott Fitzgerald,” The Nation, 166(25 August 1945), 182; Glenway Wescott, “The Moral of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Crack-Up, pp. 323-27; Andrews Wanning, “Fitzgerald and His Brethren,” Partisan Review, 12 (Fall 1945), 545.
151 Kazin realized…: Alfred Kazin, “Fitzgerald: An American Confession,” Quarterly Review of Literature, 2 (1945), 342.
151 “can’t drink … impotent…”: John V. A. Weaver to FSF, 17 February 1936, Firestone.
152 “From the stuff… everything”: George Martin to FSF, 20 January 1937, Firestone.
152 “Certainly … rationalizations …”: George Martin to FSF, February (?) 1937, Firestone.
153 “so convincing… depressions”: Mrs. E. H. Tyson to FSF, n.d., Firestone.
154 third… “Handle …”: The titles of the second and third articles of The Crack-Up were transposed during the movement from Esquire to the book. The original and presumably the correct order is this: “Pasting It Together” is the second article, “Handle with Care” the third.
155-56 Didion … theme …: Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), pp. 147-48.
156 Rascoe … Street: Burton Rascoe to FSF, 10 February 1936, Firestone; Julian Street to FSF, 12 February 1936, Firestone.
156 “a hopeless mess”: FSF, Notes, Firestone.
156 slip of… pen: Robert Sklar, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Laocoon (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 309.
156-57 “breakdown … ’change of life’”: FSF to Mrs. Laura Feley, 20 July 1939, Letters, p. 589.