When F. Scott Fitzgerald was encamped down south during the war a certain charming young lady visited the camp one day. She said: “I’ve kissed a thousand men and expect to kiss a thousand more before the war is over.” And F. Scott Fitzgerald married her.
That’s the best example of modernity we can cite. The old idea of kissing a man just when you were engaged to him is passe, albeit it is an awful shock to man’s vanity to find that a girl has ever kissed another man before him.
But that same advanced and modern condition is the atmosphere that envelopes all of F. Scott’s characters in his books. In his “Beautiful and Damned” he has a twenty-five year old girl who goes through the war period and then reacts to it with her soldier husband. She is modern in every way. She drinks, smokes and shoots dice but she is truly typical all the while. In his “Tales of the Jazz Age” he has drawn the same pictures but with a more humorous pen. The masterpiece of the short-stories is his “Jelly-Bean”, a story of a rather shiftless northern chap enamored of a spirited southern girl who rolls dice and drinks more to be smart than for fun. He loses her as soon as he finds her and Fitzgerald has an art of writing pathos into his humor and truth into his yarns at any cost.
His “Beautiful and Damned” is soon to be produced in the movies and he is busy looking after the details of the scenario.
He is but twenty-five years of age, strikingly well groomed and naturally clever. Everything he says has an original twist and although success came to him at such a youthful age it has not affected his conceit.
We sat next to him at an author’s luncheon one day some months ago when Sumner, head of the “Commission for the Suppression of Vice,” was present going into the matter of suppressing obscene books. It was a serious matter, one that would ruin the development of literature in America if the censors were permitted to judge what they thought should be read and what the children should see.
“Gone are the days of Nick Carter,” mumbled Fitzgerald. “There’s no afraid that some child of fifteen is going to read a line on adventure or sex that they want to censor all books. Fact is, most children of fifteen know more about it than the authors themselves, so why all the row?”
Fitzgerald writes clean books himself, filled with the blare of the times which makes him popular with the younger set and wisely frowned upon by the older ones who hate to admit that at twenty-five he is a genius with the English language and his quill pen.
Published in unlocated newspaper (1922, Cleveland).