For his patience, encouragement, and assistance, I am deeply grateful to Horn Professor Warren S. Walker, chairman of my committee. I also thank Professors James W. Culp, Walter R. McDonald, Dahlia J. Terrell, and Thomas A. Langford for their interesting comments and helpful criticism of this work.
Chapter I. Introduction
Chapter IV. Emotional Bankruptcy
A good writer generally writes about what he knows best, and F. Scott Fitzgerald was no exception. His writing and his life were so strongly intertwined that the fiction was frequently only a thin gilding of his own experiences. That fact has caused many Fitzgerald scholars to concentrate on the flamboyant events which made the writer a chronicler of the Jazz Age, a representative of the “flapper and philosopher” era about which he first began to write. When interest in the decade of the twenties began to wane, so did Scott's popularity; only after his death did scholars once again attempt to analyze Fitzgerald as an artist.
Those analyses often did nothing more than assert his status as a minor writer, one whose fame would always rest on his association with the flappers. Others attempted to identify people and events in his works as thinly disguised realities, thus maintaining that Fitzgerald was able to write only because he lived such an exciting life and therefore had available material for stories and novels.
These excuses for Fitzgerald's writing fail to take into account the obvious artistry of his technique: the excellence of The Great Gatsby, the poignancy of Tender Is the Night, the structured control of “May Day.” Only in the last twenty years or so have critics begun to recognize the subtlety of Fitzgerald's art, the undercurrent of talent which often was ignored by readers who saw only the decadence and excitement which characterized the “lost generation.” That Fitzgerald was a conscious artist is evident in the many revisions which he made in almost everything he wrote—his never-ceasing attempts to make his work better, more consistent, more artistic. His recognition that Gatsby was his best novel and his awareness of the lack of substance in many of his stories, as well as his knowledge of which stories were “artistic,” reveal him to be more than a hack who turned out stories for monetary gain. Fitzgerald knew exactly what he was: an artist reduced by financial despair to prostitution of his talents for subsistence. His disgust with himself was evident throughout his letters and in “The Crack-Up,” but his dealings with the business world did not detract from the genuine skill which he displayed in some of his more careful writing.
Arthur Mizener has remarked that Fitzgerald's intelligence was not equal to his literature, and by that he meant that sometimes Fitzgerald was able to write almost automatically, to chronicle some emotion or event which became almost real to his readers without Scott himself ever having realized how or what he was doing. In this way Scott Fitzgerald wrote about writers, the men with whom he aligned himself in life, first revealing them to be demigods, then later writing about their inadequacies and failures through the disillusionment which he himself felt in his lifetime. The disenchantment took place gradually; at first he felt only disgust for the artists who had destroyed their talents through alcohol or frivolity, though he recognized the ubiquitousness of that syndrome. Later, however, he began to feel that perhaps the artists were more victims of society than shapers of their own fates; this gradual change in viewpoint rendered a somewhat different picture of the creative person. After “The Crack-Up,” Scott tried to be honest with himself by admitting that some of the dissipation he saw in artists could not be blamed on the world but must be attributed to hedonism and immorality on the part of the individuals themselves. His image of the artist became pathetic, then cynical, then finally sympathetically humorous.
“I think writing,” said Fitzgerald just eight months before his death, “is a sheer paring away of oneself leaving always something thinner, barer, more meager.” Fitzgerald's artists became less capable, less confident, and more desperate as the years rolled by. The idealism of Amory Blaine eventually evolved into the pathos of Pat Hobby; the confidence became the degeneracy; the power of intellectualism gave way to the soporific effect of alcohol. The early artist had the world at his feet; the later one saw it shut its door to him.
Some critics have asserted that Fitzgerald's interest in failures was the result of his attempts to excuse his own wish to belong to the immoral world of the rich. Certainly his artistic “double vision” sprang from his simultaneous desire for and condemnation of the lifestyle that he saw around him. Martin Kallich described Fitzgerald as “an artist who actively responded to [his material] but who failed to subdue it—an artist who is attracted by 2 what he sees and repelled by what he knows.” Perhaps Fitzgerald's changing image of the artist grew out of his feeling that he must denounce the corruption of the wealthy, even though he sought the side effects of the bohemian lifestyle: the gracefulness and social status which spelled richness to the young middle-western writer. Instead of writing innocuous entertainment, Fitzgerald wrote attacks on irresponsibility and immorality, and his intent was recognized by both the author himself and by his reading public. In spite of his only moderate successes, Fitzgerald could never leave off his sermonizing even to gain greater acclaim: “I guess,” he wrote to his daughter, “that I am too much a moralist at heart and really want to preach at people in some acceptable form rather than to entertain them.”
To what extent Fitzgerald was aware that he was disclosing in his works a changing attitude toward his profession will remain an unanswered conjecture. Perhaps, as Mizener asserts, Fitzgerald wrote somewhat mechanically about artists, never understanding exactly what he felt about them. On the other hand, perhaps he knew exactly what he felt and was merely attempting to create empathy in his readers. Regardless of the limitations of his vision, he nonetheless painted a revealing portrait of “the artist” in his works, a portrait that bore striking resemblance to F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.
“My whole theory of writing I can sum up in one sentence. An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Author's Apology (1920)
Throughout much of his writing Fitzgerald utilized what can be called the theme of the artist, a theme which preoccupied Fitzgerald as much as it had Henry James. He was concerned about various problems faced by any creative person: his view of himself, his performance as an artist, his role in society, his reaction to that society's reception of his efforts. It was not, indeed, until he attempted to explore these and related problems in his writing that Fitzgerald began to find himself as an artist. The superiority of his play “Shadow Laurels” to the six short stories that preceded it may in large part be attributed to its inclusion of this theme; it was hardly the result of the shift in genre, for drama was not Fitzgerald's forte.
In his earliest works, Fitzgerald wrote, rather badly, about a wide variety of subjects, most of which were totally unfamiliar to him in his own experience. “The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage,” written in 1909, when Fitzgerald was but thirteen, utilized a typically juvenile plot apparently taken from the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Weak in structure and technique, the story employed unlikely events to bring about the resolution and failed to reveal much of the talent that was to make Fitzgerald such a powerful writer. “Reade, Substitute Right Half,” written in 1910, was a stronger story, not as melodramatic as “The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage,” but it too lacked the depth and powerful emotions which were the basis for Fitzgerald's popularity. This story has been studied by critics who see it as the beginning of Scott's obsession with football and the social status of its players. “A Debt of Honor,” published in March 1910, played upon the Civil War anecdotes with which Fitzgerald amused himself; “The Room with the Green Blinds” continued to use the theme of the Civil War, but it reached back to “The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage” in its endeavor to create a mystery. Neither story was memorable.
With “A Luckless Santa Claus” (1912), Scott Fitzgerald began to improve his technique, in part because of his improved choice of subject matter. The plot revolved around a rich young man who was challenged to give away twenty-five dollars on Christmas Eve. The story had an ironic twist and a weak ending reminiscent of the 0. Henry stories. In “The Trail of the Duke” Scott continued to write about the leisure class and the inconsequential events which make up their lives; these two stories are somewhat better than those preceding because Fitzgerald was himself familiar with the characters of these writings. Though purely fictional, those characters nonetheless represented real “types” to the writer, and thus he was able to draw more strength into his pictures of them. Not, however, until he wrote “Shadow Laurels” (1915), a play, was Fitzgerald able to breathe real life into a character, and that character was, significantly, an artist.
The young Fitzgerald had an almost reverential awe for those persons whom he saw as “artists,” and he himself aspired to join their ranks on the pedestal where he had placed them. “It seemed,” says Henry Dan Piper, “as though everyone he knew and admired was working on some sort of book.” Writing was the vocation or avocation of everyone he chose to emulate; thus when he began to write about real people, he chose writers as his subjects.
Though “Shadow Laurels” was purportedly about Fitzgerald's father, the unseen protagonist was, in addition to being a father, an artist. Through the play Scott Fitzgerald appeared to express ambivalent attitudes toward the unseen protagonist, the figure who represented Edward Fitzgerald, as he had Jacques Chandelle remember his father as a somewhat degenerate, emotionally barren person; but the elder Chandelle's friends changed the harsh picture into a sympathetic one by remembering his artistic talents. The first description of Jean Chandelle, from the mouth of his son, was this: “My father was no aristocrat. As I remember, his last position was that of waiter in some forgotten cafe.” Later he elaborated: “He was a little man with a black beard, terribly lazy—the only good I ever remember his doing was to teach me to read and write. Where he picked up that accomplishment I don't know” (SL, p. 70).
Upon learning that his father was a drunkard and a suspected card cheat, Jacques Chandelle was not surprised, only disappointed. While reminiscing about his drinking, Chandelle's friends mentioned that he “could make verses and sing them with his guitar”; in the midst of the nostalgia, one suddenly experienced a revelation of the artist's genius:
“Don't you see, he stood for us as well as for himself… [H]e expressed us. If you can imagine a mind like mine, potently lyrical, sensitive without being cultivated. If you can imagine what a balm, what a medicine, what an all in all was summed up for me in my conversations with him. It was everything to me. I would struggle pathetically for a phrase to express a million yearnings and he would say it in a word… He was a poet unsinging, crowned with wreaths of ashes.” (SL, pp. 75-76)
In spite of Jean Chandelle's weakness for liquor, he had been a sensitive poet, a man loved by other artists who deferred to his abilities both in verse and in compassion for others. The young Jacques proposed a sentimental toast to his deceased father, a man for whom he had gained new respect, a man who was an artist.
In “Shadow Laurels,” then, the young Scott Fitzgerald, like the young Jacques Chandelle, seemed to reveal a respect for the artistic man, the man who, in spite of his faults, had the gift of poetry and thus the gift of real life. At the close of the play, there was a feeling of respect for the artist, his drinking notwithstanding, and it was this feeling which undoubtedly Fitzgerald was attempting to dramatize.
But Scott Fitzgerald had not yet become a skilled writer, as lapses such as “Tarquin of Cheapside” would attest. The identity of the “artist” in the story was not revealed until the end in another O.Henry twist; no personalities were developed, and the story seemed to turn on plot instead of characterization. Though Fitzgerald himself was fond of the story, his critics and publishers continually tried to convince him of its weakness and its lack of life. In the story, a fugitive from two vengeance-driven men hides until they have gone, then goes into his refuge and writes doggedly until the experience has become a poem, “The Rape of Lucrece.” The story suffered from a variety of flaws, not the least of which was the fact that Scott did not take the advice he himself was propounding in the story: a writer should write about that which he has experienced.
With “The Pierian Springs and the Last Straw,” Scott Fitzgerald ended his apprenticeship and began to write skillfully and carefully about the themes which would pervade his works until his death. Several vestiges of juvenility remained in this story, but many were retained through This Side of Paradise as well. In this and in other writings Scott’s literary egotism was seen in his desire to parade his knowledge of writers and literary works. The title,
“The Pierian Springs and the Last Straw,” was in itself a comical statement on Fitzgerald's need to assert a literary allusion while at the same time employing, apparently seriously, a trite colloquialism. Comparing his characters to literary figures was a device that Fitzgerald used throughout his early works, as he himself attempted to identify with the world of writers; George Rombert of “Pierian Springs” was described as “a combination of Byron, Don Juan, and Bernard Shaw, with a touch of Havelock Ellis for good measure.” In a letter to Edmund Wilson written at about the same time as “Pierian Springs,” Fitzgerald made a similar remark about himself: “I remind myself lately of Pendennis, Sentimental Tommy (who was not sentimental and whom Barrie never understood), Michael Fane, Maurice Avery and Guy Hazelwood.” The technique continued through This Side of Paradise as well: “You, Tom d'Invilliers, a blighted Shelley…” “The artist who doesn't fit—the Rousseau, and Tolstoi, the Samuel Butler, the Amory Blaine—” (TSOP, p. 258). The list goes on and on, for, as Theodore Gross explained, “Few American writers have been so selfconsciously literary as Fitzgerald, and it is the early Fitzgerald who is most self-conscious, most intent upon displaying his intellectual wares…”
By associating writers with intellectual superiority, Fitzgerald created a standard for their behavior which did not include compromises to the world of economics; therefore, the issue of the artist's prostitution of his talent was one that plagued the author throughout his career. In “Pierian Springs,” George Rombert was accused of wasting his talent by appealing to “eager shopgirls and sentimental salesmen,” but his books found their real popularity in literary and academic groups. In fact, George was considered “the Thomas Hardy of America” and “the Balzac of the century” (PS, p. 165). Fitzgerald's picture of Rombert was humorously enhanced by his insinuations about the academic community's standards for literary art: “Long psychopathic stories and dull germanized novels were predicted of him by optimistic critics” (PS, p. 165). George, then, had not sold his talents to Mammon; “he could write, write well,” said the narrator. His abilities were to be admired, though his private life had failed to live up to the expected standards for an artist.
In the story, George told the narrator about his past relationship with a woman who was to have provided the inspiration for his writing; even as he spoke, he deteriorated both morally and physically. At last quite drunk, he took the young boy to meet the woman. Alternately pitying him and scorning him, the woman revealed her emotional hold over the artist; George himself ceased to be a writer at that point and became merely a weak old man. His shocking elopement with her at a later point in the story could not revive the flow of creativity which ebbed when he was forced to choose between the woman and his work. Though the woman reformed his drunken habits, he never wrote again.
“The Pierian Springs and the Last Straw” has been much underrated as a point in the development of Fitzgerald's art. Not only did he discover the technique of narration which was later to be used so effectively in The Great Gatsby (that of the narrator-observer), but also he began to reveal his own fears about the loss of creativity and the prostitution of art, either to Mammon or to Venus. George Rombert was admired as an artist, but unfortunately he did not remain an artist for the duration of the story; at its conclusion he was merely mortal, a demigod removed from his pedestal and placed in the category of wasted talent.
The reflections on artistic waste did not consume much of the time of the young Fitzgerald, however. After “Pierian Springs,” he returned to the composition of his novel, which was at last revised and published under the title This Side of Paradise. Once more egotism overtook the young writer; as he began to see himself identified with the coterie of artists whom he admired and attempted to emulate, he used his own self-esteem in his works to reveal an idealized portrait of the artistic young man, a man misunderstood by his peers (who were commoners and did not possess artistic vision) and undervalued by the world at large. Amory Blaine, a somewhat autobiographical creation, was at first referred to as “the romantic egotist,” and the description was certainly apropos both for the fictional character and for Fitzgerald himself. In a letter to Shane Leslie in 1918, Fitzgerald appended in a postscript “Did you ever notice that remarkable coincidence? Bernard Shaw is 61 years old, H. G. Wells is 51, G. K. Chesterton 41, you're 31, and I'm 21—all the great authors of the world in arithmetical progression.” Attempting to identify himself with the world of writers, Fitzgerald revealed his idealistic respect for anyone who had artistic talent. Because he knew that his reading public would naturally associate him with Amory, Fitzgerald attempted to display the erudition and talent of his protagonist even to the detriment of his social standing with his peers. Thus Amory was not well-liked, but that was the price he had to pay for being an artist.
That Fitzgerald and Amory both regarded the latter as a person of artistic talent was evident in the author's coupling him with the great names of literature: “He was where Goethe was when he began 'Faust'; he was where Conrad was when he wrote 'Almayer's Folly'” (TSOP, p. 253). Perhaps Fitzgerald saw himself as writing another Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; if so, claims Sergio Perosa, he was mistaken. “In the first [Portrait], the protagonist is an artist, caught in the crucial years of his intellectual growth; in the second [TSOP], he is merely a young man whose youthful crisis is disguised under the pretence of his being an artist.” Perosa's claim seems a bit harsh, however; the weakness of the novel is not the failure of the protagonist to live up to his artistic ideals but the failure of the author to view an artist as subject to human rules of conduct. In the end, Amory claimed to choose to be a man rather than an artist; the choice was superficial because Fitzgerald had already dictated that he be an artist, and his desire to be a good man as well simply reinforced the sympathy that Fitzgerald had hoped to claim for his character. The choice then, was not polar—artist on one end and man on the other—as Amory seemed to assert; instead, by choosing to be “a certain sort of man” Amory added another admirable quality to the characteristics of the artist. Unlike artists in the later works of Fitzgerald, this early writer was seemingly in control of his life and his destiny; he was egotistic, but that high opinion of himself was well-deserved in the eyes of his creator. His claim at the conclusion, “I know myself, but that is all” (TSOP, p. 270) was an example of Fitzgerald's irony of understatement, for the man who knows himself knows all he needs to know. Amory Blaine had arrived.
Before Amory was allowed to reach this stage, however, he must have gone through several stages of selfdefinition. In the beginning of the novel, he was a young man whose identity was closely related to that of his mother, the guiding force in his early life. Through her tutelage, Amory became a precocious child well versed in the arts; this precocity served him well in the company of adults, but when he was sent to a boarding school, he discovered that his peers could not appreciate his intellect. At Princeton, affirming the need for the company of others of his age group, Amory learned how to channel his talents in the direction which would bring him the most recognition. “Amory found that writing for the Nassau Literary Magazine would get him nothing, but that being on the board of the Daily Princetonian would get any one a good deal” (TSOP, p. 52). The first step in the prostitution of his abilities was taken, and Amory began to find community with his classmates, though yearning for the freedom to reveal his innermost desire to write “art” instead of marketable frivolity.
Though frequently not a likeable character, Amory Blaine was always an admirable one for two reasons. First, as Milton Stern has pointed out, Amory's superiority to his peers was the result of his creative intellect, a factor lacking in the popular athletes and ladies' men. Second, Amory was a moralist, as Fitzgerald always was in his writings, a touchstone for the people of an age turned topsy-turvy by the aftermath of war.
One aspect of the artist's integrity lay in his rejection of the readily accessible diversions in the form of alcohol and sex. The artist in This Side of Paradise was acquainted with the loose morals of his companions, but bis own sharp analysis of artistic “sanity” saw through the artificiality of that brand of escapism. Knowing that he would be considered “stupid” if he did not join in the hedonistic revelry, he equated “sane and stupid and good” as the same element of morality. Running from the experience with sex, he sought “sanity” in the form of literature “'Wells is sane,' he thought, 'and if he won't do I'll read Rupert Brooke'” (TSOP, p. 122). Fitzgerald later admitted in a letter to John Grier Hibben, then president of Princeton, that Amory was somewhat unusual in his reactions to “many perfectly normal phenomena,” but he reaffirmed his youthful belief in the work at the time that it was written. Fitzgerald further defended his hero's actions by reminding Mr. Hibben that Amory was not average and thus could be expected to behave somewhat differently from the typical Princeton student.
The artist's unusual moral cognizance extended beyond trifling sexplay to more significant matters such as politics and religion. Since throughout the novel Amory was in the process of discovering himself, he frequently found models to emulate or persons whose thoughts and ideas provided stimulation for the growth of the young artist. Providing the political impetus for Amory to search out his own philosophies was Burne Holiday, but Amory was too weak to take the socialistic step begun by Burne. There was some suggestion, however, that Fitzgerald intended that Burne provide the extremely idealistic view of the individual who dedicated his life to literature and the pursuit of ideas.
When first acquainted with Burne, Amory immediately detected “intense power” and “earnestness,” even admitting that the attraction between the two young men “began as purely a mental interest” (TSOP, p. 126). Burne's own models included Tolstoi and Whitman; his eventual change to socialism and pacifism precipitated much thought on the part of the developing artist, as the narrator admitted that “Burne stood vaguely for a land Amory hoped he was drifting toward …” (TSOP, p. 126). But Burne was an ideal; Amory was real. The sense of martyrdom which was bestowed on Burne was not for our hero; Amory joined the infantry and continued his artistic and moralistic development in an atmosphere which was guided by another type of model, this time a religious one.
That Father Darcy affirmed in his letter to Amory the “magnificence” of the young Burne Holiday attests to the position which Fitzgerald intended the political activist to hold in the novel. Both men provided a means of growth to the developing young man; both gave him a code of morals to consider and eventually revise to suit his own ideals and personality. Patterned on Fitzgerald's lifelong friends and advisor, Father Sigourney Fay, Father Darcy was a man whom the author used in his stories and novels as the intellectual and moral guide. His hero's yearning for a strong spiritual code was associated with Father Darcy and the religion he represented: Catholicism. Amory Blaine told his artist-friend, d'Invilliers, that the latter should become a Catholic because he needed the ritual and the history on which to write poetry; yet Amory himself admitted that he was “rather pagan at present” (TSOP, p. 203).
Several times Fitzgerald repeated in the novel that Father Darcy considered Amory his reincarnation; in his first letter to Amory, Darcy wrote him a poem entitled “A Lament for a Foster Son, and He going to the War Against the King of Foreign” (TSOP, p. 158). The constant identification with the moral force of Darcy would seem to affirm that Amory was himself a moral person worthy of imitation, though he may have been going through a period of flux at any given time. The mere fact of his respect for the person and the religion of Father Darcy is enough to reveal Fitzgerald's belief in the importance of moral vision.
While creating a moralistic but fairly realistic character in Amory, Fitzgerald nonetheless remembered the function of that character as an artist; thus he made of him a person occasionally persecuted and often excluded but never disrespected. The road of life for the artist was often a lonely one, but that fact alone made the choice to be an artist all the more admirable.
Amory Blaine, however, was not a strong person. Almost won over by the desire for popularity, he nearly failed to recognize his responsibility to his own creativity. A model for emulation was once again introduced, a model whose function in the novel was to help Amory get in touch with his own intellect. The first person to pull Amory back into the world of literature was Tom d'Invilliers, the very picture of the artist Amory would become and then surpass.
The contrast between Amory and the artist who had rejected the world at large served to reveal just how far Amory had gone in his compromise with popularity. “That awful highbrow, Thomas Parke d'Invilliers” was described as “nineteen, with stooped shoulders, pale blue eyes, and, as Amory could tell from his general appearance, without much conception of social competition and such phenomena of absorbing interest” (TSOP, p. 58). The decision to befriend d'Invilliers, though the addition of such a friend would do nothing for his social standing, revealed Amory's yearning for the artistic life for which his mother had prepared him. Still compromising with the physical world, however, Amory attempted to remake d'Invilliers into a “regular” person who could be accepted by the men whose intellectual capacity was not equal to his:
In the meanwhile Amory delicately kept trying to awaken a sense of the social system in d'Invilliers, for he knew that this poet was really more conventional than he, and needed merely watered hair, a smaller range of conversation, and a darker brown hat to become quite regular. But the liturgy of Livingstone collars and dark ties fell on heedless ears; in fact d'Invilliers faintly resented his efforts… (TSOP, p. 60)
The artist's refusal to subordinate his intellect to conformity was important to Fitzgerald, and it was this respectable independence that the author was building for Amory. Through the guidance of d'Invilliers, Amory began to write poetry and to contemplate matters of weightier importance than the issue of slicked hair. But through Amory's influence, Tom too underwent a change; he became “a Princeton type.” Regretting the loss of his poetic abilities, Tom attempted to affirm the value of having his eyes opened to the real world, but the best he could claim was cynicism. Amory soothed him by admitting his own cynicism, but he added a qualifier which described the conflict which occurred in every artist in the works of Fitzgerald: “'I'm a cynical idealist.' He paused and wondered if that meant anything” (TSOP, p. 90).
An apparent paradox, then, is the situation confronting every artist from This Side of Paradise to The Last Tycoon. He must be cynical about the world outside his imagination, but within his imagination he remains idealistic, placing the world of creativity on a level above that of reality, viewing the artist as the “seer” of ancient mythology, the one whose vision is not limited to what is outside his window. Since the real world cannot accept the validity of his idealism, the artist wonders about the audience for his revelations; is there a reason to write if readers cannot understand what they read? Where is the value of art if one prostitutes his abilities for the tastes of the paying public? In This Side of Paradise and the apprentice fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the artist eventually affirmed his individuality and asserted his convictions about his talent; he would choose the solitary path to truth through art, though it might mean that he be misunderstood and taken for a fool. The integrity of the artist lay in his being able to choose to be alone.
The seeds of disrespect for literary prostitutes were being sown in This Side of Paradise, as Amory and Tom damned the writers who wrote merely for public recognition. Tom, the “serious” artist, satirized the egotism of the published writers in a poem he called “Boston Bards and Hearst Reviewers”:
Louis Untermeyer Eunice Tietjens,
I place your names here
So that you may live
If only as names,
Sinuous, mauve-coloured names,
In the Juvenalia
Of my collected editions. (TSOP, p. 209)
In the same vein, d'Invilliers and Amory rejected the necessity of “trying to make business romantically interesting” (TSOP, p. 210); both had nothing but scorn for writers who catered to the demands of their reading public. At that point in his literary career, Fitzgerald was soaring on the wings of optimism; belief in the honesty of his visions led him to have hope for acceptance on the strength of his talent alone. As the years progressed, he continued to scorn literary prostitutes, but he added himself to their ranks and made himself the object of his own abuse.
The affirmative ending of This Side of Paradise was never quite repeated in the works of Fitzgerald. In fact, the continued cynicism which pervaded later works may have influenced critics to view this first novel as open to interpretation at the end. Alfred Kazin sees the mature Amory Blaine “as a man who had conquered all the illusions and was now waiting on a lonely road to be conquered in turn.” The optimism is there, Kazin seems to say, but we who have read more of Fitzgerald know that what always follows is disillusionment. Recognizing the pattern of the downward spiral in Fitzgerald's fiction, Leo and Miriam Gurko claim that Amory Blaine was “panting with optimism” at the end of This Side of Paradise, “but this was fated to be a momentary interregnum that never reappeared.”
Like later artists in the works of Fitzgerald, Amory Blaine was self-confident, egotistical, and arrogant in the beginning of the novel; though he went through periods of doubt and cynicism, he reemerged at the end a selfconfident, egotistical man who claimed to have no illusions about life. The affirmation is important, because it recalls the not-yet-demolished pedestal on which Fitzgerald had placed the artist and the suggestion that the artist was somehow more in touch with reality than were “ordinary” men and as a result was capable of extending moral and aesthetic vision to the less gifted population.
Scribner's acceptance of the manuscript of This Side of Paradise left Fitzgerald elated and even more egotistical. He, like his fictional counterpart, Amory Blaine, felt that he had arrived; he was an author. His jubilation was expressed in a letter to Alida Bigelow in 1919 in this form: “Scribner's has accepted my book. Ain't I smart!” but later in the same letter he revealed his underlying despair over being rejected by Zelda. In a rather melodramatic statement Scott seemed to resign himself to the arts totally: “I am frightfully unhappy, look like the devil, will he famous within one 12-month and, I hope, dead within 2.” The sheer egotism of such a statement seems consistent with the character of Amory Blaine; the Fitzgerald artist in 1919 was a man devoted to his talent, aware of his obligation to his readers, and austerely denied personal happiness by his dedication to his unique ability.
What John Rogers, book advertising manager of Scribner's in 1920, must have thought when Scott Fitzgerald suggested publishing an interview with the then-unknown author of This Side of Paradise is an interesting conjecture. The interview, written by Fitzgerald himself, portrayed an artist who was learned and intellectual without seeming to parade his knowledge; he became excited when talking about “literary traditions,” but at the end of the interview admitted in a confidential whisper, “I don't care for literary people much—they make me nervous.” Fitzgerald's opinion of himself and of authors in general is fairly clear from the self-interview; he described himself as “good-looking,” and “sturdy, broad shouldered and just above medium height,” though he claimed that the imaginary interviewer expected him to have “a thin nose and spectacles.” Even more shocking, this new breed of artist admitted he was a “literary thief, hot after the best methods of every writer of [his] generation,” but somehow his admission of borrowings from other writers seemed admirable, because he aligned himself with the greatest writers of his time:
I want to be able to do anything with words: handle slashing, flaming descriptions like Wells, and use the paradox with the clarity of Samuel Butler, the breadth of Bernard Shaw and the wit of Oscar Wilde, I want to do the wide sultry heavens of Conrad, the rolled-gold sundowns and the crazy-quilt skies of Hichens and Kipling, as well as the pastelle [sic] dawns and twilights of Chesterton. All that is by way of example.
The reader of the interview had the feeling that this new artist could do all those things and perhaps even exceed the accomplishments of those preceding him. The high goals that the young Fitzgerald had set for himself were indicative of the awe and respect he had for the artistic mind, the creative intellectual who could do almost anything. These goals were merely reflections of the optimism of the new young author who had just discovered that he could create art and people would pay to read it. The irony occasioned by the proposed interview is that Rogers did not use it, because “Fitzgerald was just one more young man with a promising first novel. An interview giving impressions of him and his literary opinions was of very little interest to anybody.”
In the millennium an educational genius will write a book to be given to every young man on the date of his disillusion. This work will have the flavor of Montaigne's essays and Samuel Butler's notebooks—and a little of Tolstoi and Marcus Aurelius. It will be neither cheerful nor pleasant but will contain numerous passages of striking humor. Since first-class minds never believe anything very strongly until they've experienced it, its value will be purely relative… all people over thirty will refer to it as “depressing.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald in “Dalyrimple Goes Wrong”
By 1920 Scott Fitzgerald was starting to feel old; his success had not diminished, but the toll it was taking on his time and his intellect was beginning to show. Admittedly writing for publication, Fitzgerald reveled in the idea of being “an author” but at the same time recognized the subtle changes in his writing which resulted from the gentle coercion of editors and publishers. In a letter to Ruth Sturdevant in February, 1920, Fitzgerald revealed his restlessness:
I seem, at present, to be a fairly well established author, with six stories appearing in The Saturday Evening Post beginning with the issue of February 21st, stories regularly in Smart Set and some in Scribner's, and a novel coming out in April, published by Scribner's …. I am immeasurably older, Ruth; I rather want to talk to you sometime—
The changes in Scott Fitzgerald eventually appeared in his stories and novels as well. The euphoria of the artist began to fade, and in its place was a bitterness, a hardness, and a regret for his abused talent. The first story to reveal this decline in the depiction of the artist was “Head and Shoulders,” published in The Saturday Evening Post in February, 1920, the same month as the letter to Ruth Sturdevant.
Few critics would claim that “Head and Shoulders” was a great story, but its place in the continuing development of the artist-character is a significant one. Sergio Perosa saw this story as evidence of Fitzgerald's moving from the theme of the “education” of a character (This Side of Paradise) to the theme of the deterioration of a character, a haunting idea which would recur with depressing frequency in later works.
In the story, a child prodigy and a dancing actress married and nicknamed themselves “Head” (representing the genius of the union) and “Shoulders” (referring to the gyrating body that was to provide the financial support for the two while Horace, the husband, pursued an education). Eventually an unplanned pregnancy forced Horace to postpone his artistic endeavors in favor of an acrobatic job to support his family; when his unschooled wife then wrote a book, the role reversal was complete. Ironically a popular success, the simplistic book was said to resemble Huckleberry Finn in its lack of “literary tone” and its “distinct contribution to American dialect literature.” The irony was completed by having a critic mistake the wife for the “Head” and the husband for the “Shoulders” of their early moniker. The true intellectual, however, could not accept his fate placidly. His horror at discovering that his wife had usurped his position as writer was countered bitterly with his statement of regret for ever having answered her knock on his door. While the true artist had fallen in status to a mere acrobat, the “artist” who took his place was not one that Fitzgerald intended for the reader to respect and admire; the “popular writer” was a poor substitute for real talent.
In 1920, then, Fitzgerald's image of the artist had not suffered a complete decline; the problem was one of the choice of audience rather than of willful degradation of the person himself. Having to earn a living was a serious concern of the struggling young writer; his selling of himself to his public was sadly regrettable but necessary. “Head and Shoulders” was “lightly anti-intellectual,” claimed Robert Sklar, and its theme was “the moral that life plays strange tricks. But there [was] a suppressed cruelty and despair in the situation…” In an atmosphere of regret, not disgust, Horace Tarbox was not blamed for his actions. Soon, however, the disgust would intensify as Fitzgerald began to reckon with the guilt for his own weakness in succumbing to popular tastes.
That Scott Fitzgerald was himself in the dilemma of needing cash but wanting to write only what he considered art was evident in his letter to Professor Hibben in June, 1920. Claiming to have lost his idealism, Fitzgerald admitted that he had written a story (“The Four Fists”) which would cater to the public taste: “I wrote it in desperation one evening because I had a three-inch pile of rejection slips and it was financially necessary for me to give the magazine what they wanted.” With this admission Fitzgerald lost some respect for himself and his profession, a loss which was to seriously affect his portrayal of artists in his works during this period.
Like Horace Tarbox and Marcia Meadow of “Head and Shoulders,” Jeffrey Curtain and Roxanne Milbank of “The Lees of Happiness” were a mismatched couple, an intellectual writer and a voluptuous actress. Unlike the former story, however, “The Lees of Happiness” did not turn upon the reversal of roles between the two; instead, Curtain ceased to be a writer early in the story when he suffered a broken aneurysm in his brain. The rest of the story revolved around his wife's devotion to his paralyzed body and the memories of their life together. Virtually a story of sentiment with little character or plot development, “The Lees of Happiness” was hardly memorable; all the more interesting, therefore, was Fitzgerald's comment in the Table of Contents to Tales of the Jazz Age: “Of this story I can say that it came to me in an irresistible form, crying to be written.” The downfall of the writer in this story was purely physical, a deterioration not accompanied by willful abuse of the body and/or intellect. In this way Fitzgerald might have been excusing Jeffrey Curtain—and, by extension, other writers overcome by the physical needs of living in the Twenties — from responsibility for their fates. Sklar's analysis of the story as one of “heavy-handed naturalism” would seem to exonerate both Jeffrey and Roxanne. Fitzgerald's insistence on the “tragedy” of the story further underscored the blamelessness of the characters for their wretched state of affairs. Perhaps at that stage of his career Fitzgerald could see his artistic side at war with his side that wanted desperately to belong to the group of rich people who set the pace for the Jazz Age. In a story like “The Lees of Happiness,” he could absolve himself of the guilt he naturally felt when he resorted to writing strictly for economic survival.
A similar victim of life's cruelties was found in “May Day,” a story which chronicled the 1919 chaos and disorientation which ushered in the Jazz Age. The figure who united all of the seemingly unconnected sections of the lengthy story was Gordon Sterrett, a “degenerating pseudoartist” who Sklar claimed was patterned after a similar character in Frank Norris's Vandover and the Brute. Fitzgerald's letter of February 3, 1920, to Max Perkins would seem to substantiate Sklar's claim, for Scott admitted his fascination with Norris's realism: “I've fallen lately under the influence of an author who's quite changed my point of view. He's a chestnut to you, no doubt, but I've just discovered him—Frank Norris… Odd! There are things in Paradise that might have been written by Norris—those drunken scenes, for instance—in fact, all the realism. I wish I'd stuck to it throughout!”
The discovery of realistic fiction and his own affinity for it changed Fitzgerald's themes somewhat. Instead of the light and romantically sexual focus of stories such as “Porcelain and Pink,” later stories began to assume a sobriety which reflected the author's changing image of himself and of people with whom he was associated. Gordon Sterrett of “May Day” was the first artist to embody the new realism, the first to fall from the artistic pedestal to a nadir of despair and decadence.
Published in Smart Set in July 1920, “May Day” was the first story to reveal Fitzgerald's disgust for artists who willfully abused their talents; the responses of Philip Dean to his former friend were only a slightly harsher version of what the writer himself felt toward the man who sacrificed his abilities to the pace of the bohemian world and the lure of the rich. Sterrett's artistic talent was never developed because he “made a hell of a mess of everything” by becoming sordidly involved with a cheap woman; even recognizing his own responsibility for his failure could not save him from her greedy grasp. Dean's curiosity concerning Gordon's decline quickly turned to repulsion and then to hatred as he discovered that Sterrett was attempting to borrow money from him. “You ought to've had more sense,” Dean told him, but Gordon was beyond even shame at that point: “I know,” he said.
Always the moralist, Fitzgerald wrote in “May Day” an explicit remonstrance to persons of any talent at all, urging them not to waste that which was more valuable than money. Dean's financial irresponsibility was not nearly so devastating as was Sterrett's; Dean had nothing to lose except money, but the potential artist lost so much more when he failed to fulfill his dream of becoming an illustrator. When Philip Dean told Gordon Sterrett that he was “morally as well as financially” bankrupt, he was effectively putting into words Fitzgerald's attitude toward the wasteful artist. Up to 1936, Fitzgerald continued to damn the talented individual who, either through prostitution of his abilities or through personal debasement by abuse of alcohol and sex, corrupted the gift that even the rich could not buy. The irony of the situation is that Fitzgerald tried to live in both worlds—the everyday party of the rich and the dedicated austerity of the talented—so that while scorning the misuse of talent, he was knowingly including himself in the despised group.
In The Far Side of Paradise, Arthur Mizener asserted that “Gordon Sterrett … [was] Fitzgerald's exaggeratedly condemnatory portrait of himself.” Though Fitzgerald did not see himself as reaching the depths of degeneracy to which Sterrett had plummeted, he revealed in his character's failure the possible extremes to which moral bankruptcy could lead. Remembering Amory Blaine's association of sex with evil, we see in Gordon's relationship with the loose woman an implicit denunciation of his character. In addition, he suffered from a lack of “self-discipline and integrity,” claimed John Higgins. Very little pity was evoked for the plight of Gordon Sterrett, the man who might have been an artist had he but chosen morality over money.
“The chronicle of Gordon Sterrett's decline and fall,” said Henry Dan Piper, “needed the more ample space of a novel to do it justice.” “May Day,” according to Fitzgerald, was a “character sketch” taken from the start of the novel he was working on in 1920, a novel which was then called The Flight of the Rocket, later revised and retitled The Beautiful and Damned. Fitzgerald's plan for the novel was explained to Charles Scribner in a letter dated August 12, 1920: “My new novel, called The Flight of the Rocket, concerns the life of one Anthony Patch between his 25th and 33d years (1912-1921). He is one of those many with the tastes and weaknesses of an artist but with no actual creative inspiration. How he and his beautiful young wife are wrecked on the shoals of dissipation is told in the story.” Thus the resemblance between Anthony Patch and Gordon Sterrett was no accident, but in the novel the main character was revised so that his artistic bent was limited to his “tastes and weaknesses” rather than attributing to him any particular talent which would be abused. Fitzgerald's associating hedonistic tastes and a weakness for luxury with the “artist,” however, revealed something significant about his view of himself and his colleagues in the profession.
A “taste” for fame and luxury and a “weakness” for money and hedonism were attributes which Fitzgerald saw in himself after the success of his first novel; since these latent characteristics were not revealed until he had clearly established himself as a writer, he assumed that they were companions of the trade. The fact that Anthony, like Gordon Sterrett, met his downfall because of those attributes further underscored the strong sense of morality which was to become Fitzgerald's albatross. He wanted the life of the rich, but his conscience told him it was evil. The conflict between the desire for and the simultaneous denunciation of the same lifestyle helped to make Fitzgerald a master of “double vision,” the post-1919 version of “cynical idealism” which Amory Blaine affirmed in This Side of Paradise.
In the advertising for The Beautiful and Damned, the novel was described as a satire of the wealthy and irresolute class of people who floated from place to place in an alcoholic unreality. Though Fitzgerald himself apparently saw the novel as a satire, the critics reacted violently to that claim and asserted that the author was himself too close to his material to be objective about it; Mizener explained that “this intention [was] at odds with the real story Fitzgerald had to tell, the story of what he had known and felt in the incredible years since the success of This Side of Paradise.” Without recognizing what he was doing, Scott Fitzgerald was chronicling his own changing attitudes toward people, money, and artistry. His supposed satire of the rich was actually a satire of himself, his condemnations clearly self-rebuke.
The theme of deterioration and degeneracy which was the undercurrent of “May Day” continued in The Beautiful and Damned, though the artists of the novel did not suffer as much physical deprivation as did Gordon Sterrett of the short story. The degeneracy of the artists in The Beautiful and Damned was a moral degeneracy, a continuation of the idea of “moral bankruptcy” expressed in “May Day”; however comfortable the artists were in their physical habiliments, they were nonetheless casualties of the changing tide of public taste. Whether selling out or giving up, the artists lost the respect of their creator, Scott Fitzgerald, and their new position with the leisure class could not replace the position on the pedestal with the Amory Blaine of yesterday. Two “artistic” characters in The Beautiful and Damned expressed different directions the disillusioned artist might take to regain his own respect; neither character succeeded because each had sold his talent for something less valuable—fame and fortune.
Like Gordon Sterrett, Anthony Patch of The Beautiful and Damned had untapped talent, talent limited to attempts and desires rather than actual production. Three times in the novel he tried to be a writer; each time he gave up because of others' attitudes toward his writing. The first to discourage him in his artistic endeavors was his grandfather, old Adam Patch, the man whose money and morality created the conflict which resulted in Anthony's deterioration. When the elder Patch suggested that Anthony “ought to do something,” the young man began to explain that he thought he was best qualified to be a writer. Seeing the scorn in Adam Patch's face, Anthony hurriedly amended his statement to say that he might write a history of the Middle Ages; while the old man was not exactly happy at that prospect, at least he was able to eradicate the picture of “a family poet with long hair and three mistresses” (TB&D, p. 22). The image of the artistic individual in the vision of the family patriarch was one of indolence and immorality, an image that eventually described Anthony Patch perfectly.
Adam Patch viewed the effective writer as a person whose works could be read by anyone and whose material had some basis in fact and thus some relevance to the lives of the readers. He gave Anthony another opportunity to prove his worth when he offered to send him to Germany as a war correspondent; this time Anthony's bent toward writing was redirected by his bride, Gloria. She wanted to live a leisurely life with no responsibilities and resented his suggestion that he might interrupt their partying to go overseas and “accomplish something.” Anthony himself rejected his grandfather's reasons for wanting him to go when he claimed that he had “no moral compunctions about work” (TB&D, p. 188), but he nonetheless was subconsciously drawn to the prospect of writing. In a rare moment of regret for what might have been, Anthony argumentatively protested to Gloria, “I think that if I hadn't met you I would have done something. But you make leisure so subtly attractive—” (TB&D, p. 189). Once more the desire to write had been squelched through the influence of another person, this time a wife. The situation between Anthony and Gloria at this point in The Beautiful and Damned sounds remarkably like Scott Fitzgerald's own reflective assessment of his wasted talents. In a letter to his daughter in 1938, Fitzgerald offered this explanation for his behavior in the early years of his marriage:
When I was your age I lived with a great dream. The dream grew and I learned how to speak of it and make people listen. Then the dream divided one day when I decided to marry your mother after all, even though I knew she was spoiled and meant no good to me. I was sorry immediately I had married her but, being patient in those days, made the best of it and got to love her in another way. You came along and for a long time we made quite a lot of happiness out of our lives. But I was a man divided—she wanted me to work too much for her and not enough for my dream. She realized too late that work was dignity, and the only dignity
Recognizing the dignity of work was one step in the maturation of Scott Fitzgerald; his counterpart, Anthony Patch, never reached that understanding. In The Beautiful and Damned, Adam Patch stood as the strong moral guide whose values were real and respectable; Anthony was at odds with his grandfather on more than just the issue of working but on all matters concerning morality at all—drinking, the squandering of money, the loyalty of friends. While the author knew that he was creating of Anthony Patch a character much like Scott Fitzgerald, at the same time he yearned to be more like the grandfather, the man whom another character described as “a fine example of an American” and “a great character” (TB&D, p. 187). Anthony's assessment of the old man showed evidence of respect when he asserted that “in private life he's seldom unnecessarily disagreeable,” and “he's very moral” (TB&D, p. 83); but lest he show too much affinity for the man, he contradicted his statements with, “He's a pious ass—a chicken-brain” (TB&D, p. 83).
The third time that Anthony attempted to write, he had already fallen too much under the influence of his wife and his friend Richard Caramel. Instead of writing for the sake of creative expression, he was writing only for the ready cash which he thought he could make by selling short stories to magazines. On the advice of his writer-friend, Anthony attempted to give the public exactly what he thought they wanted: “the customary denizens of the pink-and-blue literary world… in a saccharine plot that would offend not a single stomach in Marietta (TB&D, p. 267). His assessment of the quality of his first short story—“it is, without question, the most abominable piece of writing in existence” (TB&D, p. 267)—was shared by the editor of the magazine to which he had sent the writing. After six “wretched and pitiable efforts” (TB&D, p. 268), Anthony Patch gave up the idea of being a writer. It was too late. Moral and financial bankruptcy had obliterated his artistic talents.
The sterile efforts of Anthony Patch, however, were contrasted by the successful books and stories of his friend Dick Caramel. Through the latter Fitzgerald revealed another type of deterioration, that of the morally bankrupt artist who had sold out to the collective will of popular taste in order to gain fame and wealth. Though his financial and social status continued to grow in the novel, Caramel suffered the loss of creative talent and consequently the loss of respect from both his friends and his creator, Scott Fitzgerald. Unlike the egotistical Amory Blaine, who had reason to hold himself in high regard, the conceited Caramel was a victim of self-delusion, a writer who wrote for money and then tried to convince himself that his works were equal to those of Twain and Dreiser. Caramel was not always a hack, however; in the beginning of the novel he had some talent, but Mammon's lure eventually proved greater than his dedication to art.
The real difference between the two artistic types was made clear in a discussion between Anthony and Richard in which Anthony explained that an artist's intelligence must not exceed his talent or he would be a failure. The success of the artist must depend on the balance between his intellectual desires and his creative abilities; the lesser intellect of Caramel was in part responsible for his success with the public, for he was able to demean himself to give them what they wanted without feeling himself inferior for such a compromise. Anthony's grandiose conception of the artist was summed up by the theory of the “divine function of the artist”; that is, “every writer writes because it's his mode of living” (TB&D, p. 39). Even at that early point in the novel, Caramel recognized his limitations and foreshadowed his later prostitution of his abilities when he responded: “I'm not accustomed even to refer to myself as an artist” (TB&D, p. 39). Through this important confrontation between Patch and Caramel, Fitzgerald was able to explain why Patch was never able to write anything the public would buy when in fact he was probably a greater artist than Caramel, who made a comfortable living from his writing. Anthony later offered more proof of this reasoning when he explained, “I have a great confidence in Dick. So long as he sticks to people and not to ideas, and as long as his inspirations come from life and not from art, and always granting a normal growth, I believe he'll be a big man” (TB&D, p. 48).
Caramel's early idealism quickly became subordinated to the demands of his trade, for when he was writing his only creative work, The Demon Lover, he was “sapped” and “overpowered” by the novel “until he walked haggard and conquered in its shadow” (TB&D, p. 72). He egotistically predicted that it would start a renaissance in prose like the poets of the “New Poetry” had begun in that genre, and in this respect he seemed like the young Amory Blaine who thought his writings had the power to change the world. With the acceptance of the book, however, Caramel “spent his days in a state of pleasant madness … so swollen with conceit as to be a bore” (TB&D, pp. 129-30); his egotism began to overshadow his talent, and the stage was set for his deterioration.
Richard Caramel's one worthwhile effort was given the same title as a work begun by Fitzgerald in 1919 but never completed because of the economic demands his lifestyle was making upon him. Giving up his novel for the ready money the Post would pay for short stories, Fitzgerald eventually consigned the work to the character in The Beautiful and Damned who represented the artistic deterioration which he feared in himself, a downward spiral heralded by his willing concessions to his publishers. Though Caramel was not an accurate picture of his creator, he was the artist Fitzgerald feared he might become; in his fictional counterpart he exaggerated the traits which he despised in himself.
Throughout The Beautiful and Damned, Bloeckman, the representative of the motion picture industry, was rising in importance and status as Anthony and others declined. The power of the new medium was revealed when Caramel sold his novel to the movies: the original writer was almost forgotten, replaced by the screenwriter whose talents were lauded by the public and the advertisers alike. Caramel then knew what he had to do. Instead of writing artistic novels with serious characterization and literary strength, he must write screenplays with plots which reflected the tastes of the common viewing audience. Even in his short stories, he acceded to the wishes of his publishers by giving them “'action' (kissing, shooting and sacrificing)” (TB&D, p. 198). His financial success was assured, but he was never again able to write a novel with the vitality of The Demon Lover. Explaining to Anthony his reasons for the works that seemed “cheap,” Caramel rationalized his literary vapidity: “These, Dick explained severely, were to widen his audience. Wasn't it true that men who had attained real permanence from Shakespeare to Mark Twain had appealed to the many as well as to the elect?” (TB&D, p. 199). While Maury and Anthony piously disagreed with the writer's literary assessment, Gloria saw through his reasoning and “told him to go ahead and make as much money as he could—that was the only thing that counted anyhow…” (TB&D, p. 199).
Caramel's degeneracy was intensified by his defending the quality of his writings and by his apparent belief that his success had affirmed his membership among the intellectual elite. The title of his later novel, A Shavetail in France, was indicative of the trend toward earthy and second-rate material; in spite of the obvious compromise, however, Caramel self-righteously told Anthony that he believed in moral values. When the writer boasted, “There's nothing I'd violate certain principles for,” Anthony came directly to the root of the problem: “But how do you know when you're violating them?” (TB&D, p. 367). Caramel had indeed sold out his scrap of talent for a place in the prosperous world of established popular writers; his morals had been challenged by the economic world, and money had proved the stronger force. The “principles” affirmed by Caramel were only empty words which had been compromised so heavily that he could no longer recognize his violation of them.
The height of Dick's blind egotism was reached when the critics turned against him, and “he was accused of making a great fortune by writing trash for the movies. As the fashion in books shifted he was becoming almost a byword of contempt” (TB&D, p. 369). His explanation at that time reflected the depth to which he had sunk in his search for fame and wealth; he equated his works with those of classic American writers and denounced the critics—the same ones whose opinions had swept him along on the tide of success years earlier—as “just sheep.” Letting down his guard just slightly, he admitted to Anthony that some of his later novels were not up to the quality of The Demon Lover; but he regained his self-assurance as he bragged that his publishers were advertising him as the “Thackeray of America.” The egotism of Richard Caramel at this point in the novel was contemptible; he was a man deluded by his own greed into thinking that he was an artist. Instead of joining Amory Blaine on the pedestal of true talent, he remained aside on a pedestal of his own making, one which could crumble at any moment as the sands of popular taste shifted.
The moral bankruptcy of Anthony, then, had its counterpart in the moral decline of Richard Caramel, and Fitzgerald carefully equated the deterioration of the two men:
And that night while Richard Caramel was hard at toil, with great hittings of the wrong keys and screwings up of his weary, unmatched eyes, labouring over his trash far into those cheerless hours when the fire dies down, and the head is swimming from the effect of prolonged concentration—Anthony, abominably drunk, was sprawled across the back seat of a taxi on his way to the flat on Claremont Avenue. (TB&D, p. 370)
Maxwell Geismar's assessment of Richard Caramel as the representative of Fitzgerald's view of his own profession provides the easy excuse which Fitzgerald was ready to use in 1921: in order to survive in the economic world the writer must be willing to give the public what it wants. Fitzgerald could not give up his morals so easily as Caramel, but he was certainly sympathetic with the problem of the audience and their fickle tastes. Though his character deluded himself about the worth of his poorest writings, Fitzgerald never pretended to be unaware of the quality of his works; he was in fact embarrassed by some of his stories but when needing money was willing to sell them to lesser- read magazines. Arthur Mizener explained in the biography that “his best work was hard to sell. But it was frighteningly easy to sell his competent, mediocre, and even his bad work. He never stopped trying to write good stories, but when he became desperate for money, he found it hard to resist selling stories he was ashamed of…” The problem during these years, 1921-1935, was one of audience; the artist was capable, but the readers were unwilling to read quality work. The choice facing the writer was a difficult one: should he compromise his talents for the sake of sales, or should he continue to write for the sake of the art itself, though the artist might never be recognized by his public? Caramel chose the former; in practice Fitzgerald did also, but in principle he deplored his demeaned talent. Not until “The Crack-Up” was he able to accept the responsibility for his decision; prior to 1936 the blame lay with the readers, not with the artist.
Scott Fitzgerald considered the concessions made by the artist a necessary part of growing older and assuming social and familial responsibilities. In an autobiographical sketch called “What I Think and Feel at 25,” published in American Magazine in September of 1922, Fitzgerald explained his dilemma as one of vulnerability. At twenty-two, he claimed, he could dismiss the critical comments about his work as “callow,” but at twenty-five, he believed him self “vulnerable in every way.” (The remark about critics being callow is reminiscent of Caramel's claim that they were “just sheep,” an indication, perhaps, of his literary immaturity.) The shift from the optimistic creator of Amory Blaine to the cynical writer of the depressing sketch was one that Fitzgerald himself recognized; deploring the loss of creative egotism, he lamented: “The older I grow the more I get so I don't know anything. If I had been asked to do this article about five years ago it might have been worth reading.”
The problem which Fitzgerald called “vulnerability” was the question of the artist's responsibilities to his family and those to his art; which were to take precedence? Apparently Fitzgerald believed that one of his functions as a husband and father was to provide material comforts for his family, even if those comforts cost him his self-respect by making him compromise with his publishers. “I have seen many happy young couples,” wrote Scott Fitzgerald, “but I have seldom seen a happy home after husband and wife are thirty.” The physical fact of the passing years was not the tragedy, however; the writer was sad for the loss of his dream:
If you believe in anything very strongly—including yourself—and if you go after that thing alone, you end up in jail, in heaven, in the headlines, or in the largest house in the block, according to what you started after. If you don't believe in anything very strongly—including yourself—you go along… and finally you get tired and you die.
If you're in the second of those two classes you have the most fun before you're twenty- five.
Concern for age was not something that Fitzgerald discovered at age twenty-five. Even in The Beautiful and Damned, both Caramel and Maury Noble were old before their physical ages would indicate that they should be. Dick was continually referred to as “an ancient soul,” and at one point he agreed with the assessment because he saw that he was “so old as to be absolutely rotten” (TB&D, p. 74). Noble too thought himself old, though he lacked three years of being thirty. In terms of his professed goal in life (to get rich as quickly as possible), he might be considered aging, since at the ripe old age of twenty-seven he had not begun to amass the fortunes which he considered his dream. The two characters had in common with Fitzgerald their concern over compromises between the real world and the idealistic world, and the recognition of personal failure constituted the simultaneous acknowledgement of human limitations, one of which was the short span of a man's life.
Disgusted with himself over submitting to the wishes of the public, Fitzgerald continued to write short stories, all the while borrowing money as advances on stories not yet sent and in some cases not yet written. The more he lived beyond his financial means, the more he was forced to write what the magazines wanted and consequently the more he despised himself for his misuse of his talent. In depressed confusion, he wrote Maxwell Perkins in August of 1921: “My third novel, if I ever write another, will I am sure be black as death with gloom. I should like to sit down with 1/2 a dozen chosen companions and drink myself to death but I am sick alike of life, liquor and literature.”
In both This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned, Fitzgerald occasionally shifted from the prose narrative to a dramatic form. His penchant for drama had been evident since his childhood, when he wrote plays for his friends, and his college days, when he wrote for the Triangle Club. In 1923 he invested his reputation and his finances in his first mature play, The Vegetable, but it was a critical and economic disaster. Finding himself deeper in debt, Fitzgerald was once more forced to write short stories for the eager readers of the Post and other popular magazines. Since his name had a certain popularity, he was also able to sell articles which were reflections on his own life and the style of the Twenties. In spite of their apparent comedic lightness, many of those articles contained pathetic sobriety and heavy regret for wasted years and wasted dollars. One very popular article of this nature was “How to Live on $36,000 a Year,” published in the Post on April 5, 1924, and written, claimed Arthur Mizener, about the “six months of driving work between November, 1923, and April, 1924, during which Fitzgerald produced eleven short stories and earned something over $17,000 to pay off the debts that had accumulated during he previous year, especially during the production of The Vegetable.” The artist of the sketch, ostensibly Fitzgerald, seemed less culpable for his inability to save money than did his wife; he was concerned over their finances but the wife's attitude was, “Well, let's go to the movies.” In desperation, the artist tried to find where the money had gone, but no amount of budgeting could account for the $36,000 which had disappeared. The wife's suggestion that the author write an article called “How to Live on $36,000 a Year” brought a cold sneer from the artist in the last sentence of the article. The humor of the sketch, however, could not cover the desperation which Fitzgerald apparently felt over his inability to manage money; in view of his self-reproach for using his talents to provide quick cash, the suggestion concerning the writing of the article is double-edged: the readers smile in amusement over what has occurred, but the artist must have cringed at having to reduce himself to such tactics.
The success of “How to Live on $36,000 a Year” led to a similar autobiographical sketch, “How to Live on Practically Nothing a Year,” which was published in the Post later the same year. The article seemed forcibly humorous, as though Fitzgerald were writing deliberately what he thought the Post's readers wanted to see. At the end, however, he allowed himself this lapse into reflective seriousness:
It is twilight as I write this, and out of my window darkening banks of trees, set one clump behind another in many greens, slope down to the evening sea. The flaming sun has collapsed behind the peaks of the Esterels and the moon already hovers over the Roman aqueducts of Frejus, five miles away. In half an hour Rene and Bobbe, officers of aviation, are coming to dinner in their white ducks; and Rene, who is only twenty- three and has never recovered from having missed the war, will tell us romantically how he wants to smoke opium in Peking and how he writes a few things “for myself alone.” Afterwards, in the garden, their white uniforms will grow dimmer as the more liquid dark comes down, until they, like the heavy roses and the nightingales in the pines, will seem to take an essential and indivisible part in the beauty of this proud gay land.
The loveliness of the land was the serenity for which Fitzgerald yearned; the romanticism of Rene was an extension of Scott's own desire to write “for myself alone” instead of for the money which he and Zelda always needed. In spite of intentional humor, the sketch revealed more of the artist's wistfulness—the wish to escape the reality of the monied life for the peaceful world of artistic creativity.
Separating Fitzgerald the artist from the fictional representations of artists which he created is a difficult task because the merging of the two was sometimes intentional and at other times unconscious. In This Side of Paradise, Amory Blaine reflected many of the optimistic attitudes and ideals which Fitzgerald held, but the author was also able to stand back from his character to create an ironic viewpoint. The Beautiful and Damned's artists represented the state of the profession with which Fitzgerald associated himself; the bits of Fitzgerald which were in that novel were dismal, exaggerated projections of his future. The artist in the two “How to Live” sketches, however, was intended to be the writer himself, although the pathos of his situation was played down in an effort to write an article which would sell. While the artists in his works were showing steady deterioration, Fitzgerald was portraying in them the degeneration which he thought was occurring in himself. In a letter to Max Perkins sometime in the spring of 1924, Scott lamented, “It is only in the last four months that I've realized how much I've, well, almost deteriorated in the three years since I finished The Beautiful and Damned. … I don't know anyone who has used up so much personal experience as I have at 27… So in my new novel I'm thrown directly on purely creative work…This book will be a consciously artistic achievement and must depend on that as the first books did not.”
The book to which he referred was his best, The Great Gatsby, a novel which was everything Fitzgerald had predicted but which carefully left out any character who could be described as an artist. The conscious effort to disassociate himself from his art was a necessary one at this point because Scott Fitzgerald was so set on selfdeprecation that he had used himself as a bad example too often. The Great Gatsby, said Fitzgerald, “represents about a year's work and I think it's about ten years better than anything I've done. All my harsh smartness has been kept ruthlessly out of it—it's the greatest weakness in my work, distracting and disfiguring it even when it calls up an isolated sardonic laugh.” He wrote to Perkins that he was “tired of being the author of This Side of Paradise” and he wanted to start over. The Great Gatsby brought him out of his despair somewhat, for he recognized the worth of his achievement in comparison to the short stories and articles which he had been writing for the past year to support his family. “I really worked hard as hell last winter,” he wrote his friend Edmund Wilson, “but it was all trash and it nearly broke my heart as well as my iron constitution.”
Even the receipt of high figures for his quickly written stories could not make Fitzgerald accept them as art; while proud of his ability to command $2000 a story, he could not brag about having to write for money. “I hate worse than hell to do them,” he wrote Perkins in 1924. When the sales of The Great Gatsby got off to a slow start, Fitzgerald went through another depressed period in which he assessed his role as a writer. He blamed himself for not being more sensible in 1920 when he was soaring on the money from This Side of Paradise, but he allowed himself one more chance:
In all events I have a book of good stories for the fall. Now I shall write some cheap ones until I've accumulated enough for the next novel. When that is finished and published I'll wait and see. If it will support me with no more intervals of trash I'll go on as a novelist. If not, I'm going to quit, come home, go to Hollywood and learn the movie business. I can't reduce our scale of living and I can't stand this financial insecurity. Anyhow there's no point in trying to be an artist if you can't do your best.
The refusal of the reading public to pay for the artist's best was the crux of the issue facing all the writers in Fitzgerald's works, and it was the dilemma which Fitzgerald himself faced. The revealing letter to Max Perkins would seem to put Scott Fitzgerald on the same scale with Richard Caramel, the artist who gave up and sold out to the movies. The real difference, however, was that Caramel still considered himself an artist even when writing trash; Scott knew what was worthwhile and what was not. When considering going to the new medium of motion pictures, Fitzgerald was renouncing his talents, his artistry, in order to survive in the economic world. Writing for the movies was equated with writing “trash” for money, a terrible waste of his abilities, but a concession to his public and his family.
Fitzgerald was not the only one to realize how he was wasting his talents. Since the publication of The Great Gatsby, critics knew how capable a writer he was and were disappointed by the stories which could not reflect the artistry of that novel. In a review of All the Sad Young Men that both complimented and condemned Fitzgerald, William Rose Benet made explicitly clear what he thought of the artist's compromises with the magazines: … [I]f one has any acquaintance with the problem of 'living by one's pen' in America, with the present status of the magazine short story, with the relationship that ordinary periodical publication bears to what a writer is actually capable of achieving in fiction, one is a proven fool if expectation be set too high.” The reviewer then went on to discuss the stories of the volume in a manner which could not be considered derogatory, but his closing remarks indicated that he knew, as Fitzgerald did, that the writer was capable of much more: “He is keeping his hand in and paying the rent. And the performance is energetic with a certain gallantry. But now that he has written The Great Gatsby we are, perhaps, exorbitant in our demands.”
In spite of having high hopes for the new novel he was writing, Scott Fitzgerald still lingered in depression over needing money. In February of 1926, he told Perkins,
“Trash doesn't come as easily as it used to and I've grown to hate the poor old debauched form itself.” The other option was to go to Hollywood and try his hand at scriptwriting. The endeavor proved not to be economically profitable, but he did meet Lois Moran and gather material for the book which was to emerge as Tender Is the Night.
The financial crisis was not over, the new novel was not coming along very well, and thus Fitzgerald returned to writing short stories for the Post. Hating the compromising, Fitzgerald disparagingly referred to himself as a literary prostitute: “The Post now pays the old whore $4000 a screw…” Tired of writing imaginatively romantic love stories, Scott drew upon his childhood experiences to create Basil Duke Lee and Josephine Perry; together fourteen stories were written about these two characters, thirteen of them published in the Post. While willing to accept the money which the magazine was paying him for the stories, Fitzgerald balked at the idea of putting all of them together in a form which might be construed as a novel. When the stories were finally collected in a single volume in 1973, the editors explained Fitzgerald's objections:
He had not produced a full-length piece of fiction since The Great Gatsby (1925) and he hoped Tender Is the Night (published on April 12, 1934) would revive his reputation for serious long fiction. … Fitzgerald, who regarded the story—with its hackwork connotations and its literal potboiling function in his life—as less “artistic” and “serious” than the novel, was thus understandably uneasy.
Taken as a group, the Basil Duke Lee stories reveal many of the dreams and adolescent experiences which helped to mold Scott Fitzgerald into the perceptive artist he was when he wrote the stories. The suggestion by Jackson Bryer and John Kuehl that “Basil could well metamorphose into a professional playwright” is a critical conjecture which would not warrant including the stories in a study of the image of the artist in the works of Scott Fitzgerald. If the stories constituted Fitzgerald's “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” an idea also suggested by the editors, a study of them would more properly emphasize “young man” rather than “artist,” for the maturing Basil seemed far less concerned with art than with football, money, and girls.
The only story in the series which dealt at any length with an “artistic” figure was “A Snobbish Story,” one of the Josephine sketches. The story pitted the wealthy and snobbish Josephine against an attractive re- porter/playwright. Though John Bailey was tall and had a “sensitive and strongly set” mouth, “he was poorly dressed—green shine on his suit, a shabby string of a necktie and a bum cap.” Bailey's appearance and situation are reminiscent of Gordon Sterrett of “May Day,” even to the clinging, slovenly woman who interfered to ruin his chances with a wealthier class of female. The suicide motif was also used in the story, but this time it was an abortive attempt on the part of the wife instead of the death of the protagonist. The image of the “artist” in this story, published in 1930, revealed that nothing much had changed since Fitzgerald first began to write about the deterioration in himself and others in his profession. Bailey's financial situation was merely one more instance of the physical representation of moral bankruptcy; by renouncing his responsibilities to his wife, the writer had walked out on his human obligations, and Fitzgerald, always the moralist, held him accountable for that transgression.
Besides the Basil and Josephine stories, Fitzgerald was writing very little of any real value. He regretted that he had put the material of his youth into a medium— the short story—which he felt was beneath the value of the fiction. Finally, in 1931, in desperation he tried Hollywood once more. Instead of the confident young author he was when there in 1927, this time he was, in his own opinion, “far too humble.” He left in disillusionment and disgust, but more material had been gleaned which would ultimately find its way into Tender Is the Night.
In the meantime, he continued to write stories for sheer survival. One of those which dealt with his Hollywood experience was “Crazy Sunday,” the story John Higgins called the “one superb short piece in the half-decade between 'Babylon Revisited' and 'The Crack-Up.'” The story dealt with two artistic figures, Miles Caiman and Joel Coles the former a director and the latter his screenwriter.
Coles referred to himself as a hack but did not believe his own indictment; his only real shortcoming, he thought, was his penchant for liquor, a weakness he shared with all Hollywood writers. Only twenty-eight and “not yet broken by Hollywood,” Coles still believed he had some morality in spite of his alcoholism and his eagerness for recognition which caused him to act foolishly in front of Caiman's wife. Proudly assuring Caiman that he could be trusted with Stella, Coles intended to be the perfect gentleman, but he took his cues from those around him instead of from the inner sense of integrity which should have governed his actions. When he believed that Caiman had trusted him, Coles was only companionable to Stella, but when she suggested that her husband might be watching their behavior, Coles felt no obligation to live up to his promises. Instead of the strong young man of artistic virtue, Joel Coles was a moral weathervane weak enough to be swayed by Hollywood's loosely structured relationships.
In contrast to the weak-willed writer, Miles Caiman was an “American-born director with both an interesting temperament and an artistic conscience.” Though not a moral example, Caiman was the stronger figure of the two; his unfaithfulness to his wife was the result of his being broken by the same town which had brought him to the height of his career: “Meshed in an industry, he had paid with his ruined nerves for having no resilience, no healthy cynicism, no refuge—only a pitiful and precarious escape.” His failure seemed a relatively small one when compared to the accomplishments which he had amassed. According to Henry Dan Piper, “Fitzgerald was trying to develop in Miles Caiman an imaginative figure of heroic proportions whose abilities, in the long run, far outshone his obvious shortcomings.” The story, however, was not all that simple. If Caiman were intended to be the protagonist, why was Coles given so much attention in the beginning and again at the end of the story? On the other hand, if Coles were the central figure, why would Fitzgerald give Caiman such a strong personality that he dominated the central portion of the story? Sergio Perosa sees these faults as elements of the partial failure of the work; “'Crazy Sunday,'” he said, “is not as good as the previous stories because Fitzgerald has not clarified his attitude toward his characters.” But that explanation seems a bit too facile. In his role as observer of the Hollywood scene, Fitzgerald could admire the determination which brought men like Calman (and later Monroe Stahr) to important positions in the industry, but he could also see that young idealistic writers like Coles would soon succumb to the lure of the big money and give in to the already inherent weaknesses of their dispositions. He apparently wanted to make Coles a respectable character, but he seemingly could not resist making him a “typical” incontinent writer.
In his famous memoir of his friend Ring Lardner, Scott Fitzgerald wrote sentimentally about the deterioration and demise of another artist; “Ring,” published in 1933, was about a man whose life might have provided the model for Fitzgerald's fictional artists as well as the example which Scott feared he himself was following. Like Scott Fitzgerald, Ring seemed exuberant and optimistic in 1921, but “the change in him had already begun—the impenetrable despair that dogged him for a dozen years to his death.” Fitzgerald's description of Ring as a “disillusioned idealist” is reminiscent of Scott's autobiographical character Amory Blaine, who claimed to be a “cynical idealist”; both writers found satisfaction in being associated with the literary world but knew that their accomplishments fell short of the artist's real capabilities. The problem once more was one of audience. Publishers were willing to give Ring—and Fitzgerald—“huge earnings and an increasingly solid reputation” for the materials which neither author felt were his best. Both had been limited by that magic age, twenty-five (cf. “What I Think and Feel at 25”), to a world which had become identified with that writer. “Here was his artistic problem,” said Fitzgerald, “and it promised future trouble. So long as he wrote within that enclosure the result was magnificent: within it he heard and recorded the voice of a continent. But when, inevitably, he outgrew his interest in it, what was Ring left with?”
Fitzgerald's assessment of his friend's life and his compromises with it may or may not have been entirely factual. Not that Scott would intentionally fictionalize something as sacred as another artist's life, but Fitzgerald was so intent on believing in his own myth of the dissipated artist that he tended to view all writers as in the process of deterioration. An incident related by Mizener in The Far Side of Paradise further substantiates Fitzgerald's obsession with making all artists fit his mold:
Fitzgerald met Compton Mackenzie, whose Sinister Street had meant so much to him ten years earlier, and liked him, though he no longer admired Mackenzie's work. “I asked him,” Fitzgerald told Edmund Wilson later, “Why he had petered out and never written anything that was any good since Sinister Street and those early novels.” The question is very much in character; poor Mackenzie could only reply that it was not true, as, indeed, it was not.
Just before the completion of Tender Is the Night, over which the author had labored for several years, Fitzgerald published an essay called “One Hundred False Starts.” Unlike the humorous sketches about his personal life, this one depicted a writer, presumably Fitzgerald, who had several beginnings of stories or novels but all without development. Scott's depression was deepening, and the short article reflected the change in the artist, a change which meant a serious application of his professional skills, a final effort to complete something meaningful. Turning from hedonism in search of something significant, the artist in the sketch asked the advice of an old Alabama Negro: “Uncle Bob, when things get so bad that there isn't any way out, what do you do then?” The advice was the same as propounded by old Adam Patch in The Beautiful and Damned: work. The response of the dejected artist differed, however, from the cynicism of Anthony Patch: “It was good advice. Work is almost everything.” Perhaps the artist had reached the depths of desolation and waste, and now he was ready to pull himself back up. At any rate, in less than a year, Tender Is the Night was published in serial form in Scribner's Magazine.
The theme of deterioration which pervaded most of Fitzgerald's best work was once again apparent in Tender Is the Night, but this time Scott deliberately attempted to separate himself from the suffering character. Patterned after Gerald Murphy, Dick Diver was to be a scientist, not an artist, whose failure was witnessed by individuals who had some similarity to Fitzgerald himself. Before the novel was halfway completed, however, Scott Fitzgerald began to see too much of his own life in Diver's and consequently endowed the character with feelings and self-reprisals which were clearly the author's. Hemingway's analysis of the predicament came brutally to the point: “Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start… [Y]ou're not a tragic character. Neither am I. All we are is writers and what we should do is write.”
Not surprising, then, is the tendency on the part of some critics to see Diver's deterioration as one more instance of the artistic collapse which was indicative of the profession. Since, however, Dick was not a writer or an “artist” in the usual sense, and since Fitzgerald was intentionally trying to divorce himself from the character, his plight perhaps said more about the state of civilization than about the unconscious picture Fitzgerald had of the creative personality. The characters who suffered true artistic deterioration were Abe North and Albert McKisco, but Tender Is the Night did not record their gradual decline as previous works had done for other artists. Instead, these two men were already degenerate when the novel began; both had made compromises and concessions to life which had resulted in the sterility of their talents. The drinking and revelry which dominated their lives were not forerunners of their debasement; for, as John Lucas has pointed out, “Weakness and self-indulgence do not cause the collapse; they are among its effects, its recognizable tokens.” Both North and McKisco had had rather optimistic starts, but both had wallowed in their own inertia for several years. McKisco had begun a novel patterned after Ulysses, but the action of the tale was to take one hundred years instead of twenty-four hours. From the awesome scope of the projected work, it is apparent that McKisco was never to complete it. In the meantime, he drank.
Abe North “was a musician who after a brilliant and precocious start had composed nothing for seven years”; juxtaposed with this explanation was North's affirmation that he did have a moral code: “I'm against the burning of witches, “ he said (TITN, p. 42) . Obviously trying to pretend amorality, North did not have the projected intentions of Albert McKisco; he had given up because “it was such a long way to go back in order to get anywhere” (TITN, p. 94) . Some sympathy was evoked for the character, however, by Fitzgerald's description which included a touch of regret for what might have been:
They stood in an uncomfortable little group weighted down by Abe's gigantic presence: he lay athwart them like the wreck of a galleon, dominating with his presence his own weakness and selfindulgence, his narrowness and bitterness. All of them were conscious of the solemn dignity that flowed from him, of his achievement, fragmentary, suggestive and surpassed. But they were frightened at his survivant will, once a will to live, now become a will to die. (TITN, pp. 95-96)
The artist who could not compromise, then, saw his former power and creativity reduced to narrowness and bitterness, his strength redirected to self-destruction.
The similarities between the fictional artists and Fitzgerald himself were more indications of the selfdeprecation of the author. North's seven-year sterility paralleled the seven years between All the Sad Young Men and Tender Is the Night, a period in which Scott began to drink heavily and to fall into deeper and deeper depressions over the corruption of his work. McKisco's professed socialistic tendencies and his distrust and disgust with the manners of the rich might have been Fitzgerald's own disillusionment with the world which he was so eager to join in the early Twenties. In Rosemary's unpretentious assessment of the exclusive group in Part I of the novel, only McKisco was unwelcome; he had “contrived to be the unassimilated member of the party” (TITN, p. 41) who sought company with whom to drink away the responsibilities of yesterday's commitments. Unsuccessfully trying to be included in the conversations, McKisco eventually gave up and “devoted his attention entirely to the champagne” (TITN, p. 42). Similarly, Scott Fitzgerald always wanted to be a part of the world of the rich, but his efforts were often cut short by a lack of funds. Emphasizing the drinking, Leslie Fiedler wrote perceptively about the basis for the characters of McKisco and North:
The pretentious novelist (enter drunk, to be sure!), Albert McKiscoe [sic], is Scott in caricature, his social insecurity, his pretenses, even the early success he feared and hated. Abe North, faintly disguised as a musician, is Ring Lardner; but Ring Lardner was Fitzgerald's favorite alter ego, in whom he liked to see the image of his own doom (exit drunk, of course!).”
The reasons for the failures of North and McKisco were never made very clear by the novel itself. For McKisco we feel such a lack of respect—by the very fact that he believed he could improve upon the works of the best contemporary authors—that his inefficacy seemed to be what he deserved. North's disintegration, however, was more regrettable in that he had real talent but could not subordinate it to the desires of the public. “Smart men,” said Dick Diver, “play close to the line because they have to—some of them can't stand it, so they quit” (TITN, p. 114). Abe began drinking because the alcohol blurred the distinctions between the past, the present and the future; he had quit playing the game by choosing to live in the past when playing wasn't necessary.
Fitzgerald's failure to make Abe culpable for his own downfall is another aspect of the whole picture which Scott saw as the artist during this period. The fault lay with the public, the customers who were only too fickle to allow art to be anything other than romantic and nonintellectual. McKisco, who sold out to the conformity which was demanded of him, was equated with Caramel, “too stupid to know that he was compromising,” but characters like Abe North were like Horace Tarbox, rudely awakened to the changing tastes of those with the cash to buy the artists along with their work. Perhaps there was redemption in their giving up, for at least they did not prostitute themselves for an unworthy audience.
While the novel was in serialization, Scott wrote to Perkins offering suggestions about the advertising of the book when it was to be published. His comments about the sales seemed more to bolster his own sagging opinion than to provide useful direction for the advertisers, but even at that the remarks were guarded and qualified, a far cry from the exuberance which he formerly felt at the publication of a novel: “I don't think there is a comparison between this book and The Great Gatsby as a seller. The Great Gatsby had against it its length and its purely masculine interest. This book, on the contrary, is a woman's book. I think, given a decent chance, it will make its own way insofar as fiction is selling under present conditions.” His depression was apparent; he had become caught up in the world of his own making and was witnessing—and writing about—his own deterioration. That unintentional closeness was to blame for one of the novel's problems, according to Maxwell Geismar:
The accents of destruction are familiar… And it is more appalling because it extends, finally, to the craft of the novel itself. The wavering motivation, the artistic confusion in the last sections of the book—the sense one has of brilliant and disordered fragments—make it really seem to be the diary of a collapse; a diary written by the subject of the collapse, the one, who, viewing all the symptoms so intimately, is the least likely to get at the source of the illness.
Fitzgerald did not even try to explain “the source of the illness”; in fact, he offered only a mild protest to Edmund Wilson's complaint about the destiny of the characters: “Any attempt by an author to explain away a partial failure in a work is of course doomed to absurdity.” His world was crumbling, but he was not willing to take the blame for its destruction. Instead of analyzing the causes, he continued to work, but his efforts were becoming less productive and his health was showing the wear and tear of alcohol and hard living. His own decline seemed in sharp contrast to the rising reputations of his friends Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. When he commented on Wolfe's “The House of the Far and Lost,” he seemed like the old Fitzgerald, trying to align himself with the successful efforts of good writers: “I thought it was perfectly beautiful and it had a subtlety often absent from his work, an intense poetry rather akin to Ernest… What family resemblance there is between we three as writers is the attempt that crops up in our fiction from time to time to recapture the exact feel of a moment in time and space, exemplified by people rather than by things. …”
But the moment of illumination was coming. Scott was eventually going to have to face himself as the victimizer as well as the victim of his own debauchery. No longer could he blame the profession for his deterioration, for here were two writers who were not suffering from his degeneracy. Shifting the blame to Zelda, he claimed that his own “bad moods” were a reflection of her poor health. Then he tried a reverse tactic: he changed his subject matter completely and wrote four chapters of a medieval novel which he hoped would bolster his sagging reputation. “They are as bad as anything Fitzgerald ever wrote,” criticized Arthur Mizener. “They are the clearest example there is of what Fitzgerald's work could be when he was not writing out of personal experience.”
Shortly after the publication of Taps at Reveille, Fitzgerald forced himself to face the awful truth: that he could no longer blame the non-intellectual readership for his condition. He had compromised and hated himself for it, but he had also lost.
“Then you will be a writer and may God have mercy on your soul.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to Andrew Turnbull, August 18, 1932
In 1935, Scott Fitzgerald suffered a breakdown precipitated by poor health and excessive drinking. Though he effectively concealed his convalescence for a time, he later wrote about the crisis and publicly diagnosed his trouble as “emotional bankruptcy.” Published in Esquire in 1936, the confessional articles, “The Crack-Up,” “Handle With Care,” and “Pasting It Together,” revealed the new attitude the artist had taken toward writing and living. Cynicism was the keynote of the sketches, not the healthy cynicism which spurred the romantic egotist on toward “double vision,” but a cynicism born of despair, a philosophy which said despondently, “I give up.”
Published in February, 1936, “The Crack-Up” began with these words: “Of course all life is a process of breaking down.” The pessimism which was embodied in that viewpoint was carried through the essay and its successors, a pessimism carefully explained as the reaction against the romanticism and exuberance of earlier days of writing: “It seemed a romantic business to be a successful literary man—you were not ever going to be as famous as a movie star but note you had was probably longer lived—you were never going to have the power of a man of strong political or religious convictions but you were certainly more independent. Of course within the practice of your trade you were forever unsatisfied—but I, for one, would not have chosen any other.” Though the writer had always known that he had lived beyond his financial means, he had not realized previously that he was living beyond his physical and emotional means, living on “mortgaged resources” which eventually went bankrupt.
The problem began, Fitzgerald explained in “Handle With Care,” when he started to write about the rich and then to envy the “grace and mobility” which money afforded them. Writing what would bring the most monetary reward drained him physically and morally, but he tried to maintain his self-respect by not giving in to the destructive impulse or to the complete prostitution of himself which he saw in others: “I saw honest men through moods of suicidal gloom—some of them gave up and died; others adjusted themselves and went on to a larger success than mine…” A sense of morality had pervaded his life and his works, but his young idealism had set goals for him that could not be met without compromising some of those values. In “Pasting It Together,” he renounced all attempts at being human and claimed that he was going to sell out to the business world. “I have now at last become a writer only,” he said. “The man I had persistently tried to be became such a burden that I have 'cut him loose.'” The utter cynicism exhibited by this last of the series of articles on “cracking up” was intended seriously, but of course Fitzgerald could never completely give in to the demands of the contemporary audience, even though he might have wanted to. The morality which had enslaved him had also been his justification for writing; his quote from Matthew 5:13 offered hope for his continued efforts: “Ye are the salt of the earth. But if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”
Fitzgerald knew that the artist must continue to “salt” the earth, but he was tired—tired of living on borrowed money, tired of giving his all for the crumbs of critical acclaim, and tired of watching his best efforts being subordinated to the “mechanical and communal art that… was capable of reflecting only the tritest thought, the most obvious emotion.” The movies were coming in, but the artist refused to see them as art: [T]here was a rankling indignity, that to me had become almost an obsession, in seeing the power of the written word subordinated to another power, a more glittering, a grosser power…” Fitzgerald did eventually give in to the mechanical art, but only at the price of depicting the screenwriter as a total degenerate, an image which he felt was an accurate (if somewhat exaggerated) reflection of the prostituted Scott Fitzgerald.
In “Pasting It Together,” the author wrote in italics a remark which was apparently a startling revelation to himself, but which had been realized by his readers and friends for quite some time: “I had,” he asserted, “become identified with the objects of my horror or compassion.” Because the writer had seen himself in the characters he had created, he had adopted “a sad attitude toward sadness, a melancholy attitude toward melancholy and a tragic attitude toward tragedy”; that identification, he claimed, meant the “death of accomplishment.” The problem as he saw it was that the writer was no longer drawing from a well of imagination; instead he was merely reiterating personal experience and personal reflection, and those works therefore were no longer creative but merely reproductive. The issue did not resolve itself, for Fitzgerald continued to see himself as the disintegrating artist, and that character became more and more prevalent in the writings which followed “The Crack-Up.”
“The Crack-Up” served a useful function in the canon of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It marked the end of the duplicity which Fitzgerald had warred with in an attempt to hide his hypocrisy from himself, and it marked an age in which the writer began to take responsibility for his compromises with the world. Prior to 1935, Fitzgerald had deprecated any writer who could not live up to the rigid moral code which he had set for himself; he blamed readers for demanding less than quality work from artists, but he had little sympathy with anyone who crossed the line and sold out completely to the monetary world. While he despised the side of himself which was writing “trash” for the ready money it afforded him, he maintained that he was well aware of the true quality of that work and that he was continuing to write artistic novels for the sake of the craft while the short stories were paying his rent. Being aware of where he stood in relation to his profession was important for a writer; when he let the public decide what was valuable, then he had lost his capacity for being an artist. As long as Fitzgerald could distinguish between the “trash” and the “art,” then he allowed himself to believe that he was not wholly a literary prostitute. That one shred of selfrespect was important in order to take the blame for his compromises off the writer and place it on the shoulders of the non-intellectual audience. After his breakdown, however, Fitzgerald took a long hard look at himself and realized that he had been deceiving no one. Thereafter his portrayal of debased writers in his fiction and his sketches was less disdainful and more sympathetic.
“The Crack-Up” series, then, became a dividing line between the attitude of harshness toward prostituting artists and the attitude of pity for the writer who had compromised because he had been too weak to do otherwise. Revealing this truth to himself was painful; but Scott Fitzgerald finally admitted that he, like his fictional alter ego, Pat Hobby, was his own victimizer as well as the victim of his atrocities. A perceptive assessment by critic Otto Friedrich makes a significant point about this issue:
As a desperate search for salvation, “The Crack-Up” is one of the most moving things Fitzgerald ever wrote. And instead of the disintegration of reality that marks the usual crack-up, Fitzgerald's breakdown often seems like an awakening from unreality, from a pleasant dream that had gradually become a nightmare.
Close on the heels of those three autobiographical articles were three more, “Author's House,” “Afternoon of an Author,” and “An Author's Mother,” also published in Esguire in 1936. The biting sarcasm and the despairing cynicism of “Pasting It Together” gave way to the piteous cry for sympathy which was apparent in “Author's House.” Although Fitzgerald was ostensibly writing about a fictional “author” whose home was being toured, the protagonist was another of those characters who had meshed with his creator until reader and writer alike could hardly tell which parts of him were fiction and which were Fitzgerald.
The “house” of the sketch was analogous to the body of the author, its basement corresponding to his “heart,” where his emotions were exposed for public display. The turret in the attic seemed to parallel the world of imagination, the highest intellectual state, and the place to which the author attempted to escape. In addition to the physical analogy, the tour of the house corresponded to the history of the author's life as well. The basement, where the memories were stored, seemed to exemplify the period of his life represented by Amory Blaine: “That,” said the author, “is where I buried my first childish love of myself, my belief that I would never die like other people, and that I wasn't the son of my parents but the son of a king, a king who ruled the whole world.” The living room brought back memories of college days, days in which football was more important than writing, but the artist's incapacity for that sport forced him to put on paper what others did on the field—“it was a back door way out of facing reality,” said the author.
When the tour was interrupted by the receipt of a letter from “Mrs. Kracklin Lee,” the author revealed his period of “smartness,” a time when he was living the hedonistic life without any concern for anyone but himself. The letter's pathos was no longer humorous, however, as the author regretted his thoughtless deeds of the past: “You can pay a little money but what can you do for meddling with a human heart? A writer's temperament is continually making him do things he can never repair.”
After a brief view of the romantic serenity of the turret, the author sadly acknowledged that his house was really not different from other houses, that the “writer” was really just another person like all other people, with the same backgrounds, the same hopes and dreams, and the same disillusionments. This admission by Fitzgerald that authors were simply human beings marked a significant awareness opposed to that postulated by “Pasting It Together”; in the latter he asserted that he would be an author only— leaving out human compassion and sympathy—but in this sketch, he pathetically admitted that he was human and as such could not sell out to the business world after all.
When asked, however, if he were satisfied with memories and scrapbooks instead of a bank balance, the author still replied negatively; for in spite of all the pity and sympathy for the broken old writer, Fitzgerald was not through with life, and the game of living required operating capital.
The second of the “Author” sketches, “Afternoon of an Author,” was probably less imaginative than “An Author's House” in that it recreated an actual day in the life of Scott Fitzgerald. Almost totally without plot, the sketch nonetheless had redeeming qualities; Sergio Perosa praised its “interplay between irony and participation, detachment and involvement, precision of detail and simplicity of diction.” The character of the piece was suffering from an artistic sterility, an inability to write anything worthy of his reputation and former imagination. In a revealing moment of awareness, the “author” looked into the mirror and saw himself as the “by-product of an idea, slag of a dream.” Remembering Fitzgerald's comment to his daughter concerning his “dream” of becoming a writer makes the statement a dismal assessment of a failure, a person whose dream had dissipated and left only the “by-product” — the wasted author—of the original idea. Pity and regret for what might have been were repeated when the character recalled with what ease the critics had damned him by saying that he had “fatal facility” when in fact he had “labored like a slave over every sentence so as not to be like that.”
The character in the sketch still had some degree of self-respect, however, as he casually dismissed an idea for a short story because “it would be the kind of piece that is often placed in anthologies, but not this [his] sort of thing it was sheer swollen antithesis, as formalized as a popular magazine [story] and easier to write.” In spite of the apparent unproductivity of the writer, he was still able to distinguish between “trash” and literature, and at this point he was content to choose to write nothing at all if unable to write something worthy of his name. The old morality was still there; even being worn out physically and emotionally could not make Scott Fitzgerald into a Richard Caramel, whose judgment of literature was determined by the amount of money it would bring to the author.
The third “author” sketch was identified in Esquire as “fiction” when it was published in September of 1936, and indeed it bore little resemblance to the two previous. The “author,” Hamilton T. Johnson, was a writer of novels but his mother was not pleased with his choice of profession: “An author was something distinctly peculiar—there had been only one in the middle western city where she was born and he had been regarded as a freak.” The attitude of the woman in “An Author's Mother” was similar to the attitude Fitzgerald saw in readers of the Thirties: she did not know how to respond to the works of novelists—after all, they were quite unlike “the poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary”—— so she tended to group them all together as something less than artistic. The very brief story had all the sadness and poignancy which marked the series, but the thrust of its pathos was directed toward the dying mother whose ties to an earlier age had prevented her understanding her son's modern work.
During 1936, Scott Fitzgerald had been negotiating for a Hollywood contract, in spite of his professed attitude toward writers who attempted to seek their fortunes in that place. (“No single man with a serious literary reputation has made good there,” he had said to Harold Ober.) When the opportunity was withdrawn, Fitzgerald blamed the autobiographical sketches with their air of melancholy: “My Hollywood deal … was seriously compromised by their general tone. It seems to have implied to some people that I was a complete moral and artistic bankrupt.” Scott's own feeling was that he was not yet totally used up artistically or morally but only emotionally. It was, as he saw it, the fate of all writers to become prematurely dissipated; even in the egotism of Ernest Hemingway, Fitzgerald saw the symptoms of destruction: “He is quite as nervously broken down as I am but it manifests itself in different ways. His inclination is toward megalomania and mine toward melancholy.”
No longer able to imagine a hedonistic, carefree world peopled with smiling rich individuals, Scott continued to write sketches and stories which reflected his mood and his opinion of himself and others in the profession. But his productivity was slowing down, and the price he was commanding for those pieces had dwindled to a new low. Of the four stories that he sold in 1936, one, “An Alcoholic Case,” was a short fictional piece in the same vein as the “Author” sketches. In the story, a young private-duty nurse was asked to stay with an alcoholic who had formerly been “a cartoonist, or artist, whatever they call themselves….” The case was difficult, because the patient was bitter, self-destructive, and melancholy; nevertheless the nurse liked him and continued to stay with him even when no one else would. Echoing Fitzgerald's own attitude of helplessness over his situation, her final words were, “[I]t's so discouraging—it's all for nothing.”
As another example of the theme of artistic decline, “An Alcoholic Case” revealed a man for whom both personal and professional life had become tedious. Like Abe North of Tender Is the Night, the dissipated artist sought escape through alcohol; that method had been tried by Fitzgerald as well, but he had found it impermanent and thus unacceptable. By the time “An Alcoholic Case” was published (February, 1937), Scott had been without liquor for several weeks, but even the improvement in his health could not bring back “the old exuberance” which had dominated his creative imagination. Still looking for a means to pay off debts, he once again considered going to Hollywood, and in July, 1937 that possibility became a reality. The venture was not, however, an optimistic one; rather it was a move made out of desperation, as he wrote to his cousin: “It's a hell of a prospect in every way except money but for the present and for over 3 years the creative side of me has been dead as hell.”
In October of 1937, while Scott was in Hollywood, American Cavalcade published his essay called “Early Success,” which was a rather depressing account of his own life shortly after the publication of This Side of Paradise. The reflection on that time was considerably different from the actual mood which dominated his actions in 1920. Instead of the romantic egotism of the earlier days, Scott's attitude in 1937 revealed cognizance of the seeds of disintegration which would eventually overtake him: “The implication was that I was on the down-grade at twenty-two.” Taking as its theme one of the same ideas which pervaded a short story of 1922 (“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”), “Early Success” sadly and seriously proposed that youth was merely a dream. “It is a short and precious time,” said Fitzgerald, “for when the mist rises in a few weeks, or a few months, one finds that the very best is over.”
The significance of “Early Success” lay not in its melancholy mood, however, but in its attitude toward the writer who had been successful yet nevertheless unable to maintain the high level of achievement which had been predicted for him. The dreams and illusions gone, what was left was only hard work and disappointment.
The chance to write screenplays brought renewed vigor into Scott's pen, and he worked hard on the assignment given him by Joseph Mankiewicz. Turning in his version of Three Comrades, Fitzgerald was appalled to find it revised almost beyond recognition. His image had suffered once more; his writer's ego was again painfully bruised.
“To say I'm disillusioned,” wrote Scott to Mankiewicz, “is it mildly. For nineteen years, with two years out for sickness, I've written best-selling entertainment, and my dialogue is supposedly right up at the top. But I learn from the script that you've suddenly decided that it isn't good dialogue and you can take a few hours off and do much better.”
Although bitter about the rewriting of his work, Fitzgerald was nonetheless pleased that Metro-Goldwyn renewed his contract at the end of 1937, for he still needed the salary in order to pay back some old debts. His opinion of Hollywood writers was that they were “loafers and incompetents,” but he somehow maintained that he himself was not one of “them.” By early in 1938, however, he had begun to admit his disillusionment both with the setting and with his own accomplishments: “A good deal of the glow of Hollywood has worn off for me during the struggles with the first picture, “ he wrote to Anne Ober, “but I would as soon be here as anywhere else. After forty, one's surroundings don't seem to matter as much.” Viewing the Hollywood as much the same sort of dissipated degenerate as the morally bankrupt Albert McKisco or Richard Caramel, Fitzgerald wrote a humorous but poignant short story about a screenwriter whose failures had caught up with him. “Financing Finnegan,” published in January, 1938, was the only thing Fitzgerald published in that year, since most of his time was taken up by the demands of the Hollywood producers. Unlike the melancholy pieces of the previous year, however, “Financing Finnegan” took a light approach to the money problem which had been the writer's bane.
The story's protagonist was never seen in the fiction; instead, he was delineated through his agent and his letters as a writer whose early promise had never been fulfilled. In a manner reminiscent of Fitzgerald himself, Finnegan wrote frequently for advances on future stories, plays, and novels. Maintaining faith in the ability and the future of the writer, both the agent and the publisher lent him money even though they were surely never to see any return on their investments. “The truth is Finnegan's been in a slump,” said the publisher, “he's had blow after blow in the past few years, but now he's snapping out of it and I know we'll get back every cent…” Ironically, Finnegan was a talented writer, but his works were not selling and his costs were exceeding his profits. After assigning a large insurance policy to the publisher and the agent, Finnegan disappeared in the Arctic, much to the relief of his mortgagees who were able for the first time to have money for their own personal lives. Then unexpectedly, a telegram from Finnegan arrived: “Am miraculously safe here but detained by authorities please wire passage money…” The conclusion of the story had another person involved in the financial future of Finnegan, a person who was deluding himself about the writer's “comeback” just as the publisher and the agent had been doing for years.
Fitzgerald's comment about writers in this story was carefully couched in a humorous plot which he thought would be appealing to his readers, but the real disillusionment that he felt was still apparent. In a letter to Harold Ober in which he expressed his shock and disappointment at being refused any further advances on unwritten stories, Fitzgerald saw in himself the pattern which he had written into the fiction: “[T]he semi-crippled state into which I seem to get myself sometimes (almost like the hero of my story “Financing Finnegan”) fill [sic] me, the long nights, with a resentment toward the absurd present which is not fair to you or to the past.”
Not misled by the ironic twist of circumstances at the end of the story, critics like Sergio Perosa and Henry Dan Piper have seen the poignancy in Fitzgerald's picture of the writer in 1938. “[T]his humorous conclusion,” wrote Perosa, “does not lessen the seriousness of the story—a melancholy appeal for understanding and mutual sympathy among those who have made writing their profession, or their damnation. In fact, under the veil of a disenchanted divertissement, Fitzgerald was able to express two of his most personal feelings: the sad awareness of being relegated to the background or to the past, and his need to reaffirm, against every sign to the contrary, his literary capacities.” Piper echoed this opinion when he saw the relationship between the story and the situation which was occurring between Fitzgerald, Harold Ober and Max Perkins: “In a sense, 'Financing Finnegan' was Fitzgerald's rueful apology to his old friends, just as his concluding sentences were an affectionate promise of better things to come.”
Aside from the biographical interest, “Financing Finnegan” had other qualities which merited its position in the Fitzgerald canon. The technique of the “observer- narrator” which was so effective in The Great Gatsby was skillfully repeated in this short story, with the additional twist of having that narrator himself an author whose future could possibly take the same turn as Finnegan's. Instead of having the protagonist reveal his own failures, Fitzgerald had the narrator discover the truth about the author gossip, hearsay, and letters; in this way he avoided any oversentimentality which might have resulted from too close a view of Finnegan. Furthermore, a genuine feeling for the decadent writer could emerge naturally since the narrator was himself becoming emotionally and financially concerned with the life and works of a once-great talent.
Probably more significant, however, was the role “Financing Finnegan” played in foreshadowing the Pat Hobby stories which were to be Fitzgerald's primary source of literary income in 1939 and 1940. The humor which gave interest to “Financing Finnegan” was repeated in all of the Pat Hobby stories with the addition of subtle sympathy. Fitzgerald had learned that writers in Hollywood were cheap; competition was fierce, and the quality that was demanded of them was extremely low. His newly acquired respect for the industry itself was to remain with him for the rest of his years, but he always felt that viewers would rather see more sophisticated material. “I expect to dip in and out of the pictures for the rest of my natural life,” he wrote to his daughter, “but it is not very soul-satisfying because it is a business of telling stories fit for children and this is only interesting up to a point. It is the greatest of all human mediums of communication and it is a pity that the censorship had to come along and do this, but there we are.”
As Fitzgerald saw it, the writer whose talent exceeded what was expected of him was an anomaly in Hollywood; consequently, pressures to conform to the insipid writings which pleased producers and directors rapidly overshadowed any integrity which the writer may have brought to California with him, and he soon joined the ranks of dissipated drunks who were known as screenwriters. The successful writers were those whose intelligence, as Anthony Patch would have explained, was only equal to their talent; excesses of either were not tolerated in the action-dominated world of moving pictures.
One critic has suggested that Pat Hobby might have been superior to the writers with whom he was in competition, and his subsequent inability to cope with the literary vapidity which surrounded him brought about his decline and degeneracy. That idea is not universally shared, however. Sergio Perosa saw Pat Hobby as “an epitome of the mediocre in its human dimension,” yet the tendency of most critics to see Hobby as Fitzgerald's exaggerated but feared projection of what he might become would tend to negate any mediocrity” which we might have seen in the character. Fitzgerald's strong belief in his own talent would contradict any interpretation which would suggest that a character even marginally representing Fitzgerald could be portrayed as lacking in literary ability. Perosa's insistence on the objectivity of the portrait” also seems misplaced, since conscious sympathy for an alcoholic has-been with in— ferior morals would have been difficult if Fitzgerald were attempting to reserve judgment on the man.
In all, seventeen “Pat Hobby” stories were written during 1939 and 1940, all of them published in Esquire between January, 1940, and May, 1941. After the split with Harold Ober, Fitzgerald's stories were sent directly to Arnold Gingrich, editor of Esquire; Gingrich eventually published a collected edition of them in 1962. The editor's correspondence with Fitzgerald during the writing of the Pat Hobby series indicated that the author considered the stories as a complete unit, a full-length portrait, but not a novel. “He thought of it as a comedy,” said Gingrich, and the fact that he did view the stories in that way is still another example of his “double vision.” Even while laughing at the writer who had become a hack without any morals whatsoever, Fitzgerald saw the poignancy of Hobby's situation and expressed subtle sympathy for his predicament. The element of pathos in the stories was equally as strong as the element of humor.
The first Pat Hobby story to be received by Gingrich was “A Man in the Way,” which was revised and finally published as the second story in the series. The title of the story expressed the idea which was to run through all seventeen of the pieces: Pat Hobby was a man whose time had come and gone; in the new scheme of things in Hollywood, he was merely “a man in the way.” The title of the story referred ostensibly to an idea presented by a screenwriter in the story, but obviously Fitzgerald intended for it to have a double meaning by its additional association with Pat Hobby himself.
Introducing the character who was to star in the next seventeen stories, “A Man in the Way” described Pat as a forty-nine-year-old writer who had never written much but who was still kept around the studio in case some of his old creativity should return even briefly. Living in the past, Pat Hobby reminded every writer and producer that “he had thirty credits; he had been in the business, publicity and script-writing, for twenty years” (PH, p. 15). While trying to come up with a workable idea for a script, Hobby listened to a new writer outline a brief idea she had had; later, in desperation, Hobby presented the idea to the producer as one of his own and was promptly hired to develop it. Though the salary was paltry, Hobby was reminded that he could no longer command the money that he had received ten years earlier. Feeling no remorse for his theft from the new writer, “Pat went out with a quick step and confidence in his eyes. … He left the studio proudly through the front entrance, stopping at the liquor store for a half-pint to take back to his room” (PH, p. 19).
True to the form of Hollywood writers, Hobby lived from day to day, a hand-to-mouth existence that depended on alcohol to sustain the memories from the past.
Though Fitzgerald was by no means a Pat Hobby, there were similarities between his fictional character and his own image of himself. The feeling of being a “has-been” dominated his moods, and he was frequently dejected over the dropping prices he was being paid for his fiction. Mizener reported in the biography a conversation Fitzgerald had with Bud Schulberg in which Scott was reputed to have said, “I used to have a beautiful talent once, Baby. It used to be a wonderful feeling to know it was there…” A wire sent to Arnold Gingrich on December 22, 1939, just three months after the first Pat Hobby story had been received and before any were published, was signed “Pat Hobby Fitzgerald” (PH, p. xv), and Fitzgerald's fondness for the character was evident even with the second story about the alter ego. Calling Hobby a “scenario hack,” Scott Fitzgerald nonetheless admitted that he was “getting rather attached” to him; furthermore, he defended the quality of the pieces by stressing that they were not sketches or articles but genuine stories “only unfit for the big time because of their length” (PH, p. xi).
Scott's belief in his old talent was tenuous, however; in a letter to Max Perkins in November, 1939, he admitted ruefully, “I am by no means sure that I will ever be a popular writer again,” and by June, 1940, he was even more certain: “That I will ever be able to recover the art of the popular short story is doubtful.” Pat Hobby was not only Fitzgerald's miserable projection of his own falling reputation but also his primary source of income during 1939-1940 and his only tie with the market which had provided his living for the past twenty years.
As soon as the second Pat Hobby story was sent to Gingrich, Fitzgerald began to view them as a unit and consequently started to rearrange the order of the pieces. The first story to be published was actually the fourth one written, “Pat Hobby's Christmas Wish,” which was revealed to the readership of Esquire in January, 1940. That first public introduction to Pat Hobby characterized him as the broken-down screenwriter whose talent had faded with the passing years. Though a producer had retained Hobby at a fraction of his former salary, the evidence suggested that he should not be on the payroll at all, for his ideas were all used up and anything he wrote was rewritten by a bevy of new writers whose entire job was taken up with attempting to make sense of his scenes and to breathe new life into his worn-out old material. While somewhat likeable, Hobby was nonetheless unscrupulous; when his new secretary suggested that they might have a case for blackmail, Hobby was eager to turn against the only man who had been kind to him in his later years. The evidence for the blackmailing scheme turned out to be not an admission of murder but a guilty regret for not having urged a fellow director to slow down his hedonistic pace of living. Laughing at Pat s scheme and subsequently offering to forget the incident, the producer revealed that he knew the writer s inefficacy but that he kept him around out of remembrance of the days when Hobby was worth the two thousand a week that they had paid him. Readers consequently were not encouraged to feel antagonistic toward the unprincipled writer but instead to smile at his antics which were, after all, totally harmless.
The fact that Hobby was not a despicable character placed him in a different category from Richard Caramel or Albert McKisco, men whose talents were abused but who refused to admit their own compromises. Pat Hobby's degeneration was depicted as the natural result of changing times and the human process of aging. “A Christmas Wish” also implied that the fast-paced life of Hollywood personnel might bear some responsibility for the vapidity which had overtaken Hobby; indeed Perosa's assessment of Hobby as “a victim of external circumstances that almost compell[ed] him to be dishonest or to resort to questionable means of survival” would seem to take some of the blame off the individual and consequently allow some room for sympathy.
The pathos of the life of Hobby, who had been “reduced back to a writer” (PH, p. 8), was inextricably tied up with the life of Fitzgerald himself. While writing the Pat Hobby series, Fitzgerald was on contract in Hollywood, but he too was being paid only a fraction of his former salary, and what he was writing was being rewritten by other writers whose skills were less artistic but more in tune with the demands of the medium. In a letter to Perkins in May, 1940, Scott admitted that his writing could not be put on a contractual basis: “I just couldn't make the grade as a hack that, like everything else, requires a certain practiced excellence.” In another personal reflection, Fitzgerald attempted to place some of the blame for his dissipation on the hedonism of earlier years; he saw himself, like Pat Hobby, as having been used up by living beyond his literary and financial means for too many years: “[I]t is possible that the 5 years between my leaving the army and finishing Gatsby (1919-1924) which included 3 novels, about 50 popular stories and a play and numerous articles and movies may have taken all I had to say too early, adding that all the time we were living at top speedp in the gayest worlds we could find.”
However bankrupt Fitzgerald was financially and emotionally, he was nevertheless not without literary reserves. In spite of his falling reputation and his failure to command respectable salaries, he was still writing skillfully and thoughtfully; Pat Hobby stories flowed regularly from his pen even though generally he was able to work on them only on weekends. Gingrich published one every month beginning in January 1940, and running through May 1941, five months after Fitzgerald's death. The image of Hobby did not change throughout the stories; variety was provided by changes in the incidents and predicaments in which the character found himself.
The stories came to Gingrich rapidly, sometimes more than one at a time, but the editor held them so that only one appeared each month in Esquire. Though admittedly writing them for the ready cash, Fitzgerald became attached to the little stories, and after sending the fourth and fifth ones to Gingrich, he began demanding more money for them. Gingrich's reply to Scott's ultimatum brought the writer back to the reality of the present by destroying the seeds of egotism which were beginning to sprout again: “Realize you haven't asked for my advice but would nevertheless advise you frankly not to jeopardize old reliable instant market like this by use of strong arm methods which I am bound to resent as reflection on my six year record of complete frankness in dealing with you. In any case you have the extra $150 and next move is up to you but on bird in hand theory believe you would be better businessman to regard it as advance against another story” (PH, p. xiii). The feud between editor and author was eventually patched up, but the damage had been done; Fitzgerald had been called a “businessman,” a designation which he was bound to resent. In “Boil Some Water,” the second Hobby story written, Fitzgerald had bitterly lamented the subjugation of writers to the business world: “This was no art, as he often said—-this was an industry” (PH, p. 22). Now Gingrich had reinforced that idea by reminding Scott that he, like his own fictional creation, could be bought and sold.
In the third Hobby story written, “Teamed with Genius,” Fitzgerald incorporated another artist, one who was not degenerate and who had not been subjected to the indignities of being reduced to a writer.” Somewhat reminiscent of Abe North in his refusal to give in to the business demands of the industry, Rene Wilcox of this story “refus[ed] to play the game” (PH, p. 37) . At the end of the story, he had developed a fondness for Pat—-in spite of Pat's trying to take advantage of him—and had told the producer that he wanted to write a play about the writer instead of with him. (That idea was lamented frequently by Fitzgerald himself when he complained that no one wanted to read material by Fitzgerald, but the public was anxious to pay to read about him.) Instead of using Pat as an artist, the writer wanted to make art out of him.
Another story in which Pat Hobby became art instead of the artist was “Fun in an Artist's Studio,” the last story written in the series. Scott's bitterness over his spiraling reputation once more took the form of blaming external forces: “This was back in 1938… People still cared about art and tried to make it out of everything from old clothes to orange peel and that was how the Princess Dignanni found Pat. She wanted to make art out of him” (PH, p. 127). Though people were at that time turning from the traditional forms of art which had brought Fitzgerald to the forefront, they nonetheless at least had an interest in artistry itself. The implication was that in 1940, when the story was written, people had lost all interest in art whatsoever. The Princess' desire to make art out of a degenerate and dissipated old writer, however, was precisely what Fitzgerald himself was doing with Pat Hobby. The stories, which were the only “art” being published by Fitzgerald in those years, were created from the believed dissipation which could easily have overtaken him had he not chosen instead to use it to his advantage.
Fitzgerald's reluctance to admit culpability for the writer's adversity was also seen in the fifth Pat Hobby story, “Pat Hobby's Preview.” Immunized against the “crushing blows” of the industry, Pat derived his strength from repeated disappointments which “harsh fate” had dealt him (PH, p. 93). The unwillingness to assume full responsibility for his own misfortunes was something of which Fitzgerald himself was guilty from time to time. Richard Lehan explained Scott's attitude toward Hobby and other failures by saying that “Fitzgerald could not depict the meaning of defeat as a state of mind because this would be to admit that its causes were also a state of mind… But he could not render the aftermath of waste, the reality of failure, in any other terms but those of flight and pity.” Hobby did not run away from his disappointments, but he tended to blame forces outside himself. Fitzgerald s own proclivity toward seeking external reasons for the failure of writers was tempered, however, with his recognition of Hobby's own hand in his dissipation: his tendencies toward immorality and alcohol. Though changing public tastes and subordination to the standards of the industry were partially at fault, the writer was not entirely blameless.
“No Harm Trying,” the story which followed the argument with Gingrich, was one in which Fitzgerald represented Hobby as financially and emotionally bankrupt but somehow still clinging to a remnant of morality. “Pat was at 'the end of his resources,'” Fitzgerald wrote, “though this term is too ominous to describe a fairly usual condition in his life” (PH, p. 102). That the author was referring to more than an economic situation was obvious; we recall his letter to his daughter in 1939 in which he explained his breakdown in similar terms: “Do you know what bankruptcy exactly means? It means drawing on resources which one does not possess.” In spite of his pitiful condition, however, Hobby had some sense of virtue left. When offered a sinecure he recoiled at the prospect of receiving money without working for it, and he was faintly agitated by the word itself: He didn't recognize the word, but 'sin' disturbed him and cure brought a whole flood of unpleasant memories” (PH, p. 104). Like Adam Patch, Hobby still believed in the dignity of labor and chose to try to earn his salary. The story seemed more pathetic than previous ones—perhaps because Fitzgerald was still hurt by Gingrich's accusations — and the author did not think it was “up to the last story” (PH, p. xiv). Following an assurance that it was, Fitzgerald sent in three more Hobby stories, all of which dealt with the past and Hobby's former position in the industry or in life.
“Pat Hobby's College Days” was a reminder that the writer had been drinking heavily during the past years; whether the drinking was the result or the cause of his degeneracy was not ascertained. “Pat Hobby, Putative Father” turned on an O.Henry plot twist, but the real power of the story lay not in the plot but in the intensely personal portrait of Pat as a man caught up in the “long empty dream which constituted his average day” (PH, p. 62). Once more his words recalled Fitzgerald's letter to his daughter in which he explained his own difficulties as the failure of his dream.
Perhaps the most revealing story of these past recollections was “Two Old-Timers,” which ironically did not see publication until after Fitzgerald's death. In that short piece, Hobby confronted a has-been actor who was pretending to still be successful. Only when faced with another figure whose dissipation was as obvious as Hobby's was the writer able to admit his true condition. “He's just an old-timer like me,” said Pat (PH, p. 141).
The confrontation with a second self in “Two Old- Timers” might have provided the idea for “Mightier than the Sword,” the Hobby story which paid for Fitzgerald's Christmas turkey in 1939. Though the wire which preceded the story was signed “Pat Hobby Fitzgerald,” E. Brunswick Hudson, the “author” in “Mightier than the Sword,” has frequently been considered to be a caricaturized version of Scott. Perhaps in that way Fitzgerald was laughing at what he had been when he first came to Hollywood to try to write screenplays. If Pat Hobby was an exaggerated projection of his future, then E. Brunswick Hudson was an exaggerated version of his past.
Hudson was an “author” who decided to try writing motion pictures, but his inability to demean himself to the industry left him wondering why he ever came. “Pat Hobby, who was an old-timer, could have supplied the answer” (PH, p. 143); like many Hollywood writers (and even Scott Fitzgerald himself), Hudson apparently needed money and thought the movie industry could offer steady, easy work. The cinematic world, however, did not rank writers as highly as did the reading public, and Hudson's degradation left him disillusioned and tearful at the conclusion of the story. Pat Hobby’s sympathetic explanation revealed the great distance between established authors and Hollywood hacks: “Authors get a tough break out here… They don't want authors. They want writers—like me” (PH, p. 149).
In “Mightier than the Sword,” the confrontation between Fitzgerald's past and his future resulted in another poignant version of his double vision. He knew that the industry had no place for “authors,” yet he remained in Hollywood and allowed himself to be used as a “writer.” Unlike Pat Hobby, however, he refused to submit completely to the medium and continued to write short stories and novels on his own time. In that small way, he could remain an “author,” even if only on a part-time basis. Ironically, though, in “Mightier than the Sword,” the reader's sympathy lay with Pat Hobby, not with E. Brunswick Hudson. The egotistical artist was an anachronism, both to Hollywood and to Fitzgerald. Romantic egotism had been replaced by emotional bankruptcy; instead of having the world at his feet, the artist was now at the mercy of Big Industry. Survival, not individuality, was the operative.
Fitzgerald thought that “Two Old-Timers” and “Mightier than the Sword” were two of his weakest Hobby stories (PH, p. xvi), but perhaps he was subconsciously disturbed by his character's frank admission of his current status. In the next three stories, Hobby reverted to his delusions; a comparison of Pat with another Hollywood figure rendered this description: “He too was an artist, albeit a successful one.” (PH, p. 48). “A Patriotic Short,” “Pat Hobby and Orson Welles,” and “On the Trail of Pat Hobby” emphasized the past and showed Pat trying, through alcohol or reverie, to shut out the unpleasant present. When “Pat Hobby's Secret” was received by Gingrich on March 9, 1940, Fitzgerald asked that it be published earlier than the others since it was clearly better; furthermore, it would establish the character as funny and subsequently everything he would do would be humorous to readers (PH, p. xviii). The story re-emphasized Pat's current role as a “script stooge” whose “inflamed and burnt over talent had failed to produce a second growth” (PH, pp. 52-53). Indeed since Pat was used up as a writing talent, his sense of loyalty no longer remained with his profession; in a conflict between a producer and a writer, Pat sided with the producer. The shift in sympathy from the artists to the businessmen was a process which was occurring in Fitzgerald himself; in the Hobby stories it was the producers and directors, not the writers, who had humanitarian motives. While Hobby selfishly tried to avoid paying his secretary a Christmas bonus, for example, the producers, out of kindness and pity, managed to keep the useless writer on salary. Pat's chief concern was himself, but the tycoons of the industry were usually portrayed as sympathetic and generous. The stage was being set for The Last Tycoon, a novel whose protagonist was a new kind of artist, one whose art utilized the new medium and whose artistic temperament included business sense.
In the next story, “Pat Hobby Does His Bit,” Fitzgerald emphasized the difference in the status of the broken-down writer and the directors and producers who were the leaders of the industry. Though Pat recoiled at playing the actor, even for a short take, he knew that the director had himself once been an actor. In his climb to the top, he had passed Pat and the other writers whose talents were less versatile; Pat's failure to adapt to the new art form had rendered him even lower than actors, whose sense of the cinematic needs made them more valuable than a writer whose credits were all prior to 1929.
The same comparison between actors and writers occurred in the story which succeeded “Pat Hobby Does His Bit.” “Homes of the Stars” had Pat downgraded to the point at which he was willing to act as a tour guide in order to make a few dollars. His fear of being caught in an actor's home was further proof of his disgraced position; instead of being a guest there, he was an unwanted outsider, someone who was even beneath the status of a child star.
Fitzgerald's plea for money which accompanied “Pat Hobby Does His Bit” included an admission of affection for the Hobby stories, but the note which was wired with “Homes of the Stars” indicated that Fitzgerald's own status might have had something to do with his feeling about the stories. When in March of 1940 Fitzgerald was offered the opportunity to rewrite his own story “Babylon Revisited” into a motion picture, he was more than willing to temporarily drop the Hobby series for the chance to work on the script. The with their continual revisions, resumed in June with “Fun in an Artist's Studio,” the last Pat Hobby story Scott was to write. The last months before his death were spent in drawing up revisions of the stories which were scheduled for publication in the ensuing issues of Esquire. The final order of the stories was the product of Fitzgerald's endless reshuffling and revising right up almost to the moment of publication.
The periodic publication of the stories necessitated repetition in the description of the character, and Pat's actions became uniformly predictable in almost any situation in which Fitzgerald placed him. Possibly it was for those reasons that the Hobby stories were not collected in one volume until 1962; Gingrich, however, blamed the neglect on the critics' supposition that “these stories are about a hack, ergo these stories are hack work” (PH, p. xxiii). Perhaps in that respect Fitzgerald had the last laugh: in his final Hobby story he revealed that although Pat was no longer himself an artist, he was still “art.” Hardly hack work, the stories were indeed artistic, even if Scott Fitzgerald was the only one who could recognize that fact.
Frequently compared to rogue comedy, the Hobby stories portrayed a writer who, if not totally immoral, was at least less than humanitarian and sometimes even callous in his fight for survival in the world of industrialized art. Caught in the wheels of progress and unable to maintain integrity and economic comfort at the same time, Hobby attempted to conform to the corporate standards; but unlike Richard Caramel and other compromising artists, Pat was unable to achieve success with his vapidity. His loss was all the greater for his efforts: he sacrificed his ethics but still received nothing in return. Though some critics have seen Pat as totally degenerate, Sergio Perosa absolves him of responsibility for his concessions: “His story is not a parable of the defeat of the 'villain,' but it shows the precarious balance and the sad compromises to which man is exposed in his daily struggle wherever the 'Big' impose their laws and where life is dominated by the rules of economic power.”
Those “rules of economic power” had the ability to distort the traditional direction of the artist and turn him into a businessman whose cognizance of art included the recognition of the public's control over the medium. From Fitzgerald's Hollywood experiences he learned the harsh lesson that money, not talent, was power; only those artists who could combine artistic temperament with business cleverness could become real tycoons.
The last “artist” about whom Fitzgerald was to write was Monroe Stahr, the “last tycoon.” His talents were various enough to allow him success in the movie industry, but even individuals such as Stahr were doomed to rapid extinction. While he had made the transition that neither Pat Hobby nor Fitzgerald could ever make, that of uniting art and business, he was the last of the persons who held power in his hands, who answered to no one but himself. The end of the novel was to see him destroyed in the wheels of progress which dictated that corporations and organizations would control the motion picture industry in the future.
When Fitzgerald started writing The Last Tycoon in October of 1939, he was genuinely excited about the effort, which he called “a labor of love.” The double vision which provided such excellent irony in earlier novels had particular significance in this novel, as Scott was both immersed in the movie industry and at the same time on the periphery of it, writing for the screen but at the mercy of the businessmen who controlled the scripts which he produced. Always fearful of drifting into his own character of Pat Hobby, Scott knew that the real power in the motion picture business lay with the producers and directors and that the writer's only hope was to advance to the position of being able to direct his own scripts. “If I had that chance,” Scott wrote, “I would attain my real goal in coming here in the first place.” Furthermore, the status that Fitzgerald believed that he would gain by becoming a real “movie man” would be far greater than the position he saw himself in as “novelist,” a designation which emphasized the fact that he was an outsider to the industry.
The character in The Last Tycoon who was identified as a “novelist” was George Boxley, who was presumably patterned after Aldous Huxley. Boxley detested the motion picture industry but found himself trying to be successful in it. As long as he considered himself a novelist, he was unable to produce anything that Stahr could find useful; however, when he began to view the stories through the metaphoric eyes of the camera, he became an insider, privileged to participate in the industry which he had previously scorned as less artistic than the medium of the novel. In a scene reminiscent of the confrontation between writer and author in “Mightier than the Sword,” Boxley had an artistic awakening:
Boxley spoke up suddenly.
'You have the stuffings of a turkey here,' he said.
'It's not pictures.'
They looked at him in astonishment. Stahr concealed a smile.
'So we've got a real picture man here!' exclaimed La Borwitz.
'A lot of beautiful speeches,' said Boxley boldly,
'but no situations. After all, you know, it's not going to be a novel.
Fitzgerald gave double emphasis to Boxley's transformation by having his first real movie idea be one called “Put Yourself in My Place.” Boxley's plan called for the characters to discover their own faces on unfamiliar people in unfamiliar roles; in this way, each person could confront his own decision to choose his role in life. The implication was clear: Boxley must be converted to a “writer” if he were to achieve any success in the business of movie scripts.
The price that Boxley paid for his success was his decline from “novelist” to “writer, “ much in the same way that Pat Hobby was “reduced to a writer.” Fitzgerald's derision for those who became mere movie script prostitutes was apparent in his description of writers in general, given through the eyes of the narrator Cecilia: “I grew up thinking that writer and secretary were the same, except that a writer usually smelled of cocktails and came more often to meals. They were spoken of the same way when they were not around—except for a species called playwrights, who came from the East. These were treated with respect if they did not stay long—if they did, they sank with the others into the white collar class” (LT, p. 271). Sergio Perosa explained the phenomenon of the frustrated artist in Hollywood by explaining that the place was “an equivocal milieu, where the artistic impulse [was] blighted and frustrated by an industrial organization.” Artistic individuality was not prized in writers; only the real tycoons were allowed any distinction of that type, and even they were being crushed by the cogs of organizational machinery. The intellect which had been the highest quality of admiration for Amory Blaine was relegated to a secondary position behind commercial genius; “brains” were simply not enough on which to build an empire. When writer Wylie White attempted to justify his faith in an intellectual, Stahr cut him short by renouncing the artistic perceptivity in favor of economic realism: “It takes more than brains. You writers and artists poop out and get all mixed up, and somebody has to come in and straighten you out” (LT, p. 182). Furthermore, the real genius of the cinematic world was the one who could read the artistic powers like a stock-market report, buying when they were on the rise and selling when they began to decline. “I never thought,” Stahr explained, “that I had more brains than a writer has. But I always thought that his brains belonged to me—because I knew how to use them” (LT, p. 299).
Wylie White, then, was a writer and consequently a man on the decline, a man whose intellectual powers were simply commodities to be used by the new artists of the age, those tycoons whose business sense was far more valuable than artistic or philosophic reasoning. Like Fitzgerald himself, Wylie felt “a mixture of jealousy and admiration” (LT, p. 237) for the man who had control over the movie industry; like Pat Hobby, he had run his career to a “dead end” (LT, p. 174); like all of Fitzgerald's fictional artists in his later works, Wylie drank heavily in an attempt to drown out the evidence that artists were worthless in the modern world. As the embodiment of all the things Fitzgerald felt about writers in this third and last stage of his life, Wylie White revealed the dissipation which Fitzgerald saw in himself as the result of the inability to change with the times. But perhaps the most significant aspect of the portrait of Wylie White was the respect that he felt for Stahr, who might have been the “artist” of Fitzgerald's next period had Scott continued to live farther into the forties.
Monroe Stahr was introduced in The Last Tycoon as an unusually perceptive man:
His dark eyes took me in… They were kind, aloof and, though they often reasoned with you gently, somewhat superior. It was no fault of theirs if they saw so much. He darted in and out of the role of 'one of the boys' with dexterity--but on the whole I should say he wasn't one of them. But he knew how to shut up, how to draw into the background, how to listen. From where he stood (and though he was not a tall man, it always seemed high up) he watched the multitudinous practicalities of his world like a proud young shepherd to whom night and day had never mattered. (LT, p. 180).
In his perceptivity and the emphasis on his eyes as symbols of extra vision, Stahr was like the Amory Blaine of Fitzgerald's first novel; but in other respects, he was definitely representative of a change in the image of the artist. Where Amory was over six feet tall, Stahr only seemed tall, because his power made him higher than those around him without his physique reflecting his position. Though Amory struggled with the need to “belong” to the groups of boys in This Side of Paradise, Stahr belonged only when doing so was convenient or necessary. Furthermore, Stahr knew how to listen, whereas Amory Blaine scorned the passive role of listener for the more active role of talker or writer. Gathering ideas from the expressions of others, Stahr converted them into the more powerful means of artistic communication, the motion picture, which combined both the visual and the aural. A result of his progressive genius, one critic explained, was that “Stahr [was] granted a success that Amory Blaine only dreamed of. It [was] a success combining not only creative achievement and plenty of money but the ultimate intoxication that Fitzgerald himself had never known—power.” Like Wylie White, Fitzgerald too admired the far-sighted artist of the movie business, the one who had self-restraint, leadership ability, and moral strength. “Like many brilliant men, he [Stahr] had grown up dead cold. Beginning at about twelve, probably, with the total rejection common to those of extraordinary mental powers, the 'See here: this is all wrong—a mess—all a lie—and a sham—,' he swept it all away, everything, as men of his type do; and then instead of being a son-of-a- bitch as most of them are, he looked around at the barrenness that was left and said to himself, 'This will never do.' And so he had learned tolerance, kindness, forbearance, and even affection like lessons” (LT, p. 269). Ironically, it was one of the qualities that Fitzgerald admired most in his character which was to be his “tragic flaw.” According to Henry Dan Piper, “Stahr's strength, and his weakness, [was] that he cared too much.” Certainly Fitzgerald himself was guilty of caring too much about his art and his reputation to be an effective scriptwriter; he was never able to subjugate himself to the industry which wanted something less than his best from him. “As soon as I feel I am writing to a cheap specification,” Scott wrote his wife, “my pen freezes and my talent vanishes over the hill.”
The real “heroes” of Hollywood, Scott explained to Gerald Murphy, were “the great corruptionists or the supremely indifferent”; the implication was that true con- must cultivate the ability to use people but yet feel indifferent to their personal needs. Stahr refused to forget his responsibility to the common people who worked for him, and consequently big business and Mr. Brady were forcing him out of power. Fitzgerald was to have Stahr killed in an accident before the end of the novel, before the tycoon could witness the complete disintegration of his autocratic empire, but an ironic turn of events claimed the life of Fitzgerald before the writing was complete. Just as Stahr was not to live to experience the separation of his creation from himself, so Fitzgerald himself was never to see the publication of the novel that he uncannily knew would be his last.
In The Last Tycoon, Scott Fitzgerald portrayed three types of artists: the dissipated and degenerate writer (Wylie White), the disillusioned and compromising novelist (George Boxley), and the powerful and moralistic tycoon (Monroe Stahr). “That Monroe Stahr is basically an artist,” Sergio Perosa tells us, “is made clear in various places in the book and in the notes. He lives and works in Hollywood because it is an empire that he has created, not because he wants to make money, as Brady does. All his energies are directed to raising the movie industry to an artistic level, and the passion and competence with which he works qualify him for the role of leader.” Perhaps it is further irony that the last respected artist about whom Fitzgerald wrote was still affirming the same beliefs in individuality and artistic accomplishment that Amory Blaine had proposed so many years earlier in This Side of Paradise. Though the nature of both the art and the artist had changed, the basic convictions from Fitzgerald's past remained unaltered through his lifetime.
In those final months, while Fitzgerald was writing The Last Tycoon, he was strangely happy. His health was poor, his money was gone, and his reputation was waning,
he found strength and satisfaction in the work that he had always loved best, that of writing novels. The magazine fiction that had provided most of his life's income was never his best art, but he had had a remarkable ability to write what readers had been clamoring for in the Twenties. Without stopping to analyze what it was that made his short stories so popular, the writer simply rode the tide of success until it turned against him. Finally, in October of 1940, Scott realized that the changes in his reputation were not entirely the fault of the readers; he explained to Zelda that many factors, including some personal ones, had been responsible for the door's closing on that part of his past: “It's odd that my old talent for the short story vanished. It was partly that times changed, editors changed, but part of it was tied up somehow with you and me—the happy ending. Of course every third story had some other ending, but essentially I got my public with stories of young love. I must have had a powerful imagination to project it so far and so often into the past.”
The happy ending that had been the trademark of the romantic egotist was lost in the financial and emotional bankruptcy which followed those carefree days of hedonistic pursuit. The idealistic artists whom he had admired in the stories and novels of his early period became cynical failures, the projections of Scott's own disgust with his inability to maintain the purity of his art without the taint of monetary compromises.
The capacity for disillusionment, however, was not merely an innovation of Fitzgerald's middle or late years. Ironically, Scott seemed to know that the demigods he had made of artists were doomed to become real men, people with problems and disappointments like everyone else. A very early poem which was shared with his cousin Ceci in 1917 revealed an underlying idea which would eventually be manifest in his fiction, that of the removal of artists from pedestals to their rightful places on the ground. The short poem showed the young writer's exploration of his own feelings about hero worship, though the success of his first novel seemed to overshadow the awareness which he described in the poem and delay the eventual cognizance of his own delusion. While possibly not great poetry, “Clay Feet” revealed a concern which would haunt the writer for his entire life:
Still on clear mornings I can see them sometimes
Men, gods and ghosts, queens, girls and graces,
Then that light fades, noon sickens, and there come times
When I can see but pale and ravaged places
That they have left in exodus; and seeing
My whole soul falters, as an invalid
Too often cheered. Did something in their being
That was fine pass when my ideal did?
Men, gods and ghosts, damned so by my own damning,
Whether you knew or no, saw or nay,
Either were weak or failed a bit in shamming—
Yet had I known a freedom that could weigh
So much, hung round the heart, I'd sought protection
Once more in those warm dreams, lest you should fall
From that great height to this great imperfection—
So do I mourn—so do I hate you all.
In 1917, Scott Fitzgerald was searching for models, and his overt emulation of the artists whom he admired might contributed to his disillusionment. Discovering their “clay feet” might have foreshadowed his own eventual failure to live up to the high ideals which he had set for all artists and for Scott Fitzgerald in particular. While mourning their removal from the artistic pedestal, he also had to hate them for showing him that he too would eventually be the controlled instead of the controller, the writer instead of the artist, the man instead of the god.
Fitzgerald's characters were generally drawn from individuals who touched his life; consequently, many artists peopled his novels and short stories. The first ones were men of high esteem, people whose talent and intellectual capacity made them admirable and worthy heroes in the eyes of the aspiring author. When he began to see them compromising with the world and sacrificing their idealistic individualism, he attempted to explain their failures as the absence of a solid base of ethics on which to stand firmly against the bribes of the world; those artists who sold their talents to Mammon were “morally bankrupt,” without the strong and deep-seated sense of morality which he saw as the governing passion of his writing. But even Scott Fitzgerald was not able to hold out against time and the demands of living in the real world. Turning more and more to other writers and other forms of art, readers were unknowingly telling Fitzgerald that they could control the direction his artistry would take; though monetary success was not everything, it was at least somewhat necessary if the writer were to be able to continue to write. Scott's submission to the control of the inartistic public and the nonintellectual motion picture industry represented to him a surrender, an admission of his failure to be an artistic leader. Seeing himself and other writers in his predicament as literary prostitutes, Fitzgerald depicted the artist in his later works as a pitiable character, a man whose morals had kept him from giving in until it was too late to buy back his reputation. By that time the compromises he had to make were only partially effectual; the writer could continue to exist but the moment for real prosperity had been lost.
Between Amory Blaine, the romantic egotist, and Pat Hobby, the dissipated and immoral failure, the antithesis is almost perfect. Evolving from an idealistic young man who believed in the power of his art to a broken, middle-aged writer at the mercy of editors and producers, Fitzgerald himself epitomized the changes about which he wrote for over two decades; but in spite of vacillations between depression and euphoria, Fitzgerald continued to hold some degree of optimism even through the most troubled of times. One week before his death, he wrote a chatty letter to Max Perkins in which he admitted that he had “been doing a lot of ruminating as to what this whole profession is about.” What his conclusions were we will never know, but the letter included some statements which revealed a regenerative process taking place in the author. After admiring some work of Hemingway's and Wolfe's, Fitzgerald further claimed a deep respect for Kafka, whom he saw as an underrated artist. The old feeling of intense respect for writers which had characterized Amory Blaine and the young Fitzgerald was returning as Scott believed himself engaged once more in the writing of a truly artistic novel. The conclusion of his letter was perhaps both revelatory and ironic, as Fitzgerald asked Perkins: “How much will you sell the plates of This Side of Paradise for? I think it has a chance for a new life.”
Never fully abandoning his love for his first character, Fitzgerald had often admitted a partiality for This Side of Paradise over his other novels, even though he recognized its artistic weaknesses. To request a reissuing of that first novel, complete with its optimistic individuality and immature idealism, represented a stirring of meliorism in the writer, a faint but growing hope for his own revival and “new life.”
Ironically Scott was to get his wish. This Side of Paradise was reissued, as were all his novels, but the “new life” was accomplished only after the death of the author. Time and careful study have ruled in favor of the writer, and his chronicles of the jazz age have been proven to be skillful and artistic as well as temporal. For Scott Fitzgerald and his fictional artists and alter-egos, there is life after death, and that life continues on this side of Paradise.
Afternoon of an Author. Ed. Arthur Mizener. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1957.
Allen, Frederick Lewis. Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the Nineteen Twenties. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1931.
The Apprentice Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald 1909-1917. Ed. John Kuehl. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1965.
As Ever, Scott Fitz-. Ed. Matthew Bruccoli. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1972.
Baldwin, Charles C. The Men Who Make Our Novels. Rev. Ed. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1967.
The Basil and Josephine Stories. Eds. Jackson R. Bryer and John Kuehl. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973.
Berryman, John. “F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Kenyon Review, 8 (Winter 1946), 103-112.
Blake, Nelson Manfred. Novelists' America: Fiction as History, 1910-1940. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1969.
The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald. Vols. I - VI. London: The Bodley Head, 1958-1967.
Callahan, John F. The Illusions of a Nation: Myth and History in the Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1972.
Cass, Colin S. “Fitzgerald's Second Thoughts about 'May Day': A Collation and Study.” Fitzgerald-Hemingway Annual (1970), pp. 69-95.
Daniels, Thomas E. “Pat Hobby: Anti-Hero.” Fitzgerald-Hemingway Annual (1973), pp. 131-139.
Doherty, William E. “Tender Is the Night and the 'Ode to a Nightingale.'” In Explorations of Literature. Ed. Rima Drell Reck. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1966, pp. 100-114. Rpt. in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Criticism. Ed. Kenneth E. Eble. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973, pp. 112-126.
Fiedler, Leslie. “Some Notes on F. Scott Fitzgerald.” In An End to Innocence. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955, pp. 174-182.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. All the Sad Young Men. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. “An Author's Mother.” Esquire, September 1936, p. 36.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Flappers and Philosophers. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tales of the Jazz Age. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922.
F. Scott Fitzgerald; In His Own Time: A Miscellany. Eds. Matthew Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1971.
Friedrich, Otto. “REappraisals; F. Scott Fitzgerald: Money, Money, Money.” American Scholar, 29 (Summer 1960), 392-405.
Geismar, Maxwell. The Last of the Provincials: The American Novel, 1915-1925. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1949.
Gingrich, Arnold. “Editorial: Salute and Farewell to F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Esquire, March 1941. Rpt. in F. Scott Fitzgerald; In His Own Time: A Miscellany. Eds. Matthew Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1971, pp. 477-481.
Goldhurst, William. F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Contemporaries. Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1963.
Gross, Theodore L. The Heroic Ideal in American Literature. New York: The Free Press, 1971.
Gurko, Leo and Miriam Gurko. “The Essence of F. Scott Fitzgerald.” College English, 5 (April 1944), 372-376.
Higgins, John A. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Study of the Stories. New York: St. John's University Press, 1971.
Kallich, Martin. “F. Scott Fitzgerald: Money or Morals?” University of Kansas City Review, 15 (Summer 1949), 271-280.
Kazin, Alfred. On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature. New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1942.
Latham, Aaron. Crazy Sundays: F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood. New York: Viking Press, 1970.
Lehan, Richard D. F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Craft of Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1945.
The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ed. Andrew Turnbull. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.
Lucas, John. “In Praise of F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Critical Quarterly, 5 (Summer 1963), 132-147.
Margolies, Alan. “F. Scott Fitzgerald's Work in the Film Studios.” Princeton University Library Chronicle, 32 (Winter 1971), 81-110.
Margolies, Alan. “F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Wedding Night.” Fitzgerald-Hemingway Annual (1970), pp. 224-225.
Miller, James E., Jr. F. Scott Fitzgerald: His Art and His Technique. New York: New York University Press, 1967.
Mizener, Arthur. The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949.
Mizener, Arthur. The “The Maturity of Scott Fitzgerald.” Sewanee Review, 67 (Autumn 1959), 658-675. Rpt. in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Arthur Mizener. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice- Hall, Inc., 1963, pp. 157-168.
Newman, Frances. “Carnegie Library Notes.” Atlanta Constitution, February 13, 1921. Rpt. in F. Scott Fitzgerald; In His Own Time: A Miscellany. Eds. Matthew Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1971, pp. 401-403.
The Pat Hobby Stories. Ed. Arnold Gingrich. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.
Perosa, Sergio. The Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Trans. by Charles Matz and the author. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965.
Piper, Henry Dan. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965.
Savage, D. S. “The Significance of F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Arizona Quarterly, 8 (Autumn 1952), pp. 197-210. Rpt. in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Arthur Mizener. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1963, pp. 146-156.
Sklar, Robert. F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Laocoon. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.
Stern, Milton R. The Golden Moment: The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970.
Wescott, Glenway. “The Moral of F. Scott Fitzgerald.” in F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work. Ed. Alfred Kazin. New York: Collier Books, 1966, pp. 115-129.
(A Dissertation In English, Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor Of Philosophy, Approved, Accepted, August, 1978)
 The Letters of _F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963), p. 70.
 Martin Kallich, “F. Scott Fitzgerald: Money or Morals?” University of Kansas City Review, 15, No. 4 (1949), 271.
 Letters, p. 63.
 A word should be said about the texts used in the present study. Because there is not yet a complete definitive edition of Fitzgerald's works, several texts were employed; The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vols. I - VI (London: The Bodley Head, 1958-1967) was used for every thing except the following: for the juvenilia, The Apprentice Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald 1909-1917, ed. John Kuehl (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1965); for the short story “Head and Shoulders,” Flappers and Philosophers (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959); for “The Lees of Happiness,” Tales of the Jazz Age (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922); for the Basil and Josephine stories, The Basil and Josephine Stories, ed. Jackson R. Bryer and John Kuehl (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973); for the Pat Hobby Stories, The Pat Hobby Stories, ed. Arnold Gingrich (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962); and for “An Author's Mother,” the original publication was used: Esquire, September 1936, p. 36.
 Henry Dan Piper, F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), p. 37.
 The Apprentice Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, p. 70. Subsequent references to “Shadow Laurels” will be cited parenthetically and identified as SL.
 The Apprentice Fiction, p. 165. Subsequent references to “The Pierian Springs and the Last Straw” will be cited parenthetically and identified as PS.
 The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963), p. 321.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. III, p. 206. Subsequent references to This Side of Paradise will be cited parenthetically and identified as TSOP.
 Theodore L. Gross, The Heroic Ideal in American Literature (New York: The Free Press, 1971), p. 224.
 Letters, p. 373. An interesting point to notice is that in a letter to Edmund Wilson at about the same time, Fitzgerald made this same comment with the following change and addendum: “Do you realize that Shaw is 61, Wells 51, Chesterton 41, Leslie 31 and I 21? (Too bad I haven't a better man for 31. I can hear your addition to this remark.)”—Letters, p. 320.
 Sergio Perosa, The Art of Scott Fitzgerald, trans. Charles Matz and the author (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965), pp. 24-25.
 Milton R. Stern, The Golden Moment: The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Urbana: University of Illinois press, 1970), p. 46.
 Letters, p. 462.
 Alfred Kazin, On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature (New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1942), p. 317.
 Leo Gurko and Miriam Gurko, “The Essence of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” College English, 5 (1944), 374.
 Letters, p. 456.
 Letters, p. 456.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald In His Own Time: A Miscellany, eds. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1971), p. 163.
 Miscellany, p. 163.
 Miscellany, p. 161.
 The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963), p. 458.
 John Higgins expressed the extreme view when he said of “Head and Shoulders”: “Meaningless in content, badly disproportioned in structure, it is one of his weakest stories ….”—F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Study of the Stories (New York: St. John's University Press, 1971), p. 19.
 Sergio Perosa, The Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald, trans. Charles Matz and the author (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965), p. 34.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flappers and Philosophers (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959), p. 95.
 Robert Sklar, F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Lao- coon (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 72.
 Perhaps Arthur Mizener misunderstood the ending of “Head and Shoulders” when he stated, “Life seemed to him [Fitzgerald] so much more important than literature that, like Horace Tarbox in 'Head and Shoulders,' he accepted the compromises it demanded without any real resentment” (Introduction to Flappers and Philosophers, p. 14). It seems to me that Fitzgerald intended for Horace to feel regret—maybe even resentment—when he had the character tell Laurier not to answer raps on his door.
 Letters, p. 462.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tales of the Jazz Age (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922), p. x.
 Sklar, p. 89.
 Sklar, p. 72.
 Letters, pp. 143-44.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. V, p. 144.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. V, p. 145.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. V, p. 147.
 Arthur Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949), p. 81.
 Higgins, p. 27.
 Henry Dan Piper, F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), p. 70.
 Letters, p. 145.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, p. 138.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. IV, p. 21. Subsequent references to this edition of The Beautiful and Damned will be cited parenthetically in the text and identified as TB&D.
 Letters, p. 32.
 Several stories of the Twenties and Thirties reveal the superiority of a life of work over a life of hedonism. The most obvious, perhaps, is “Gretchen's Forty Winks,” published in the Post in 1924 and reprinted in All the Sad Young Men (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926) .
 Maxwell Geismar, The Last of the Provincials: The American Novel, 1915-1925 (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1949), p. 298.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, p. 94.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald In His Own Time: A Miscellany, eds. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1971), p. 216.
 Miscellany, p. 222
 Miscellany, p. 221.
 Miscellany, p. 219.
 Letter, p. 148.
 Afternoon of an Author, ed. Arthur Mizener (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1957), p. 87.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. III, p. 278.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 308.
 Letters, pp. 163-164.
 Letters, p. 478
 Letters, p. 168
 Letters, p. 341
 Letters, p. 172
 Letters, p. 181
 Miscellany, p. 367.
 Letters, p. 198.
 Letters, p. 307.
 The Basil and Josephine stories, p. X
 The Basil and Josephine stories, p. XX
 The Basil and Josephine stories, p. 248
 Letters, p. 16.
 Higgins, p. 154.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. VI, p. 294.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. VI, p. 311.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. VI, p. 311.
 Piper, p. 264.
 Perosa, p. 99.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 361.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 362.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 363.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, p. 167.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 359.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, pp. 238-39.
 Perosa builds a fairly strong (although somewhat artificial) case for viewing Tender Is the Night's protagonist as an artist whose gradual downfall is in the pattern of other stories and novels by asserting that his “creativity” lay in the recreation of “an organism which is dependent on him”; therefore, “Dick's defeat implied a more general surrender of the idealistic and creative impulse to the organized forces of a hostile society” (p. 162).
 John Lucas, “In Praise of F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Critical Quarterly, 5 (Summer 1963), 143.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. II, p. 43. Subsequent references to this edition of Tender is the Night will be cited parenthetically in the text and identified as TITN.
 Leslie Fiedler, Some Notes on F. Scott Fitzgerald,” An End to Innocence (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955), p. 189.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, p. 141.
 Geismar, p. 332.
 Letters, p. 346.
 Letters, p. 251.
 Letters, p. 264.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, p. 252.
 The Bodlev Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. III, p. 388.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, pp. 388-89.
 The Bodley Head. Vol. III, p. 396.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 403.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 393.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 397.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 397.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 400.
 Otto Friedrich, “REappraisals; F. Scott Fitzgerald: Money, Money, Money,” American Scholar, 29 (Summer 1960), 403.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 382.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 383.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 386.
 Sergio Perosa, The Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald, trans. Charles Matz and the author (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1965), p. 142.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 376.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 379.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 377.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald, “An Author's Mother,” Esquire, September 1936, p. 36.
 As Ever, Scott Fitz-, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1972), p. 241.
 The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963), p. 542.
 Letters, p. 543.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. VI, p. 318.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. VI, p. 322.
 Letters, p. 419.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 406.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. III, p. 406.
 Letters, p. 563.
 As Ever, Scott Fitz-, p. 345.
 As Ever, Scott Fitz-, p. 457.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. VI, p. 332.
 The Bodley Head, Vol. VI, p. 337.
 As Ever, Scott Fitz-, p. 403.
 Perosa, p. 144.
 Henry Dan Piper, F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), p. 243.
 Letters, p. 48.
 Thomas E. Daniels, “Pat Hobby: Anti-Hero,” Fitzgerald-Hemingway Annual (1973), p. 131.
 Perosa, p. 148.
 This idea is expressed most clearly by Arthur Mizener in The Far Side of Paradise (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949), p. 285 and by Malcolm Cowley in his notes to The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951), p. 384.
 The Pat Hobby Stories, ed. Arnold Gingrich (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962), p. ix. Subsequent references to this collection and to Gingrich's introduction to it will be cited parenthetically and identified as PH.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, p. 281.
 Letters, p. 286.
 Letters, p. 81.
 Perosa. P. 148.
 Letters, p. 288.
 Letters, p. 306.
 Richard D. Lehan, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Craft of Fiction (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1945), p. 178.
 Letters, p. 55.
 Perosa, p, 149.
 Letters, p. 61.
 Letters, p. 124.
 Mizener, The Far Side of Paradise, p. 349.
 The Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald, Vol. I, p. 280. Subsequent references to this edition of The Last Tycoon will be cited parenthetically and identified as LT.
 Perosa, p. 166.
 Friedrich, p. 404.
 Piper, p. 273.
 Letters, p. 118.
 Letters, p. 430.
 Perosa, p. 163.
 The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963), p. 128.
 Letters, pp. 413-14.
 Letters, p. 291.
 Letters, P. 291.