The Notebooks
of F. Scott Fitzgerald


(L) Literary

1011 Charles Brackett’s Book
It was wonderful. I couldn’t lay it down, was impelled on the contrary to hurry through it. In fact I finished it six and a half minutes while getting shaved in the Continental Hotel. It is what we call a book written at a fine pace as for the high spots there are so many that it is difficult to pick them but I could select.

1012 Nothing is any more permitted in fiction like stage convention of keeping people on stage by coincidences.

1013 Edgar Wallace—G. A. Henty

1014 Long rhythm based on Essie’s full excuse and thank you to Aquilla’s I mean.

1015 Barnaby Rudge ran in Sat Eve Post

1016 Must listen for conversation style a la Joyce

1017

Livid   ]   all misused
Demean   ]
Jejune   ]

1018 In a transition from say:
fight or action interest to love and woman interest
The transition cannot be abrupt. The man must be before or after an event to be interested in women; that is, if he is a man and not a weakwad.
Fault in transition in Musa Dag book. After battle right to Julia. Sometimes clumsy. Better an interval. You cannot tie two so different masculine emotions by the same thread.

1019 Nevertheless value of Ernest’s feeling about the pure heart when writing—in other words the comparatively pure heart, the “house in order.”

1020 Zelda’s style formed on her letters to her mother—an attempt to make visual etc.

1021 T. S. P. A Romance and a Reading List
Sun also Rises. A Romance and a Guide Book

1022 The only reason the artist’s judgment is better is because his reason, if it is really for his work, is his opinion on the various top swayings of men and ideas is less disinterested than any other people’s reason for unlike the philosophers he can at any point discountenance the whole method of his reasoning unlike the scientist he can claim being closer to nature. He reverts again and again to martyr and clown. Not apropos consider Shaw and The Bohemian Mrs. Swann and Co.

1023 Cisebeo for gigolo.

1024 Resent the attempt of the boys and girls who tried to bury me before I was dead.

1025 Books are like brothers. I am an only child. Gatsby my imaginary eldest brother, Amory my younger, Anthony my worry. Dick my comparatively good brother but all of them far from home. When I have the courage to put the old white light on the home of my heart, then—

1026 Stuf about Grande Guignol (serious).

1027 Shakespeare—whetting, frustrating, surprising and gratifying.

1028 Forebearance, good word.

1029 I can never remember the times when I wrote anything—This Side of Paradise time or Beautiful and Damned and Gatsby time for instance. Lived in story.

1030 Idea for an essay on the “Lilies that fester,” sonnet.

1031 That Willa Cather’s poem shall stand at beginning of Mediaval and that it shall be the story of Ernest.

1032 What are successful backgrounds now-a-days—think— Coquette?

1033 Shows in which you forget background, remember no help from description. Gas stations is the type.

1034 Just as Stendahl’s portrait of a Byronic man made Le Rouge et Noir so couldn’t my portrait of Ernest as Phillipe make the real modern man.

1035 But there was one consolation:
They could never use any of Mr. Hemingway’s four letter words, because that was for fourth class and fourth class has been abolished—
(The first class was allowed to cheat a little on the matter.)
But on the other hand they could never use any two letter words like NO. They had to use three letter words like YES!

1036 A character who spends all his time trying to break down a stray and careless aphorisms of great men. Give him a name and list him under characters and note aphorisms as they pop up in reading.

1037 There never was a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn’t be. He is too many people if he’s any good.

1038 Robert (“Gastric”) Forsite (Kyle Creighton)

1039 The great hitch hike to glory that’s going to make them good artisans—able to repair the car much in the manner of the cars in this jacket freize.

1040 And such condescension toward the creative life— Tolstoi caught the sense of the Napoleonic wars out in the street from the man in the street; his comments on fiction which would make any old 1864 copy of Leslie’s more humanly valuable than The Red Badge of Courage—the idealization of all that passes through his empty mind; his hatred of all people who formed the world in which he lives—a political Oscar Wilde peddling in the provinces the plums he took from our pudding; his role of Jesus cursing. You can see him going from prize fight to first night to baseball game-maybe even to women—trying to put back into movement the very things Lenin regretted that he might have destroyed—gracelessness and ugliness for its own sake. Gentlemen, proletarians—for a prize skunk I give you Mr. Forsite.

1041 D. H. Lawrence great attempt to synthesize animal and emotional—things he left out. Essential pre-Marxian. Just as I am essentially Marxian.

1042 She had written a book about optimism called Wake up and Dream which had the beautiful rusty glow of a convenient half-truth—a book that left out illness and death, war, insanity, and all measure of achievement, with titillating comfortability. She had also written a wretched novel and a subsequent volume telling her friends how to write fiction, so she was on her way to being a prophet in the great American Tradition.

1043 When Whitman said “Oh Pioneers” he said all.

1044 Byron’s mountains warm.

1045 Didn’t Hemmingway say this in effect:
If Tom Wolfe ever learns to separate what he gets from books from what he gets from life he will be an original. All you can get from books is rhythm and technique. He’s half-grown artistically—this is truer than what Ernest said about him. But when I’ve criticized him (several times in talk) I’ve felt bad afterwards. Putting sharp weapons in the hands of his inferiors.

1046 Reporting the extreme things as if they were the average things will start you on the art of fiction.

1047 “Inviscera” instead of “Invictus.”

1048 Work out my hard luck season—my most productive seasons, etc

1049 Conrad’s secret theory examined.
He knew that things do transpire about people. Therefore he wrote the truth and transposed it to parallel to give that quality, adding confusion however to his structure. Nevertheless there is in his scheme a desire to imitate life which is in all the big shots. Have I such an idea in the composition of this book?

1050 Conrad influenced by Man Without a Country

1051 Gene Stratton-Porter. What a cheap old harpy she was. If Frank Norris had written one more chapter to the Octupus she’d have had one more novel.

1052 No English painting because of their putting everything into words.

1053

Bracket Book (See Notes) Merde
Siphilis
Couchez avec
Miscarriage
Ass (for arse)
Fag

1054 List of Zelda’s faults and virtues as a writer.

1055 Chapter in slow motion.

1056 Right to Pretty heroines

1057 Exact equivalent of escape mechanism in Little Colonel books is in escape mechanism of Greta Garbo films.

1058 Tie up with Faulkner—Lord Fauntleroy.

1059 Art invariably grows out of a period when in general the artist admires his own nation and wants to win its approval. This fact is not altered by the circumstances that his work may take the form of satire for satire is the subtle flattery of a certain minority in a nation. The greatest artists grow out of these periods as the tall head of the crop. They may seem not to be affected but they are.

1060 Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art.

1061 Tarkington: I have a horror of going into a personal debauch and coming out of it devitalized with no interest except an acute observation of the behavior of colored people, children and dogs.

1062 The queer slanting effect of the substantive, the future imperfect, a matter of intuition or ear to O’Hara, is unknown to careful writers like Bunny and John.

1063 My feelings on re-reading “Imagination and a Few Mothers” and realizing that it had probably influenced Mrs. Swann’s whole life.

1064 I thought Waldo Frank was just the pen name that a whole lot of other writers used for symposiums.

1065 When the first rate author wants an exquisite heroine or a lovely morning, he finds that all the superlatives have been worn shoddy by his inferiors. It should be a rule that bad writers must start with plain heroines and ordinary mornings, and, if they are able, work up to something better.

1066 Man reads good reviews of his book so many times that he begins finally to remodel his style on them and use their rhythms.

1067 Realistic details like Dostoiefski glasses

1068 Re Cole Porter: vide the ending of Mrs. Lowseboro
Something which does not bother even to be a paraphrase of Tchaikowski’s Chanson Triste

1069 The scandal of “English Teaching”.

1070 The Thackeray at Edward Everett Horton’s.

1071 The two basic stories of all times are Cinderella and Jack the Giant Killer—the charm of women and the courage of men. The 19th century glorified the merchant’s cowardly son. Now a reaction.

1072 Taking things hard—from Genevra to Joe Mank—: That’s stamp that goes into my books so that people can read it blind like brail.

1073 The Steinbeck scene. Out of touch with that life. The exact observation there.

1074 Bunny Wilson writing his Renan before Christ is deified.

1075

Analysis of Tender:
I Case History 151-212 (1 pps.(change moon) p.212
II Rosemary’s Angle 3-104 101 pps. P.3
III Casualties 104-148,213-224 55 pps.(-2)(120 & 121)
IV Escape 225-306 82 pps.
V The Way Home 306-408 103 pps.(-8)(332-341)

1076 To write a series of children’s books illustrated by someone like Job or Orgeille.

1758 The episodic book, (Dos P. + Romaine etc.) may be wonderful, but the fact remains that it is episodic, and and such definition implies a limitation. You are with the character until the author gets tired of him—then you leave him for a while. In the true novel, you have to stay with the character all the time, and you acquire a sort of second wind about him, a depth of realization.

1765 In a short story, you have only so much money to buy just one costume. Not the parts of many. One mistake in the shoes or tie, and you’re gone.

1783 Play—For Act II. Something happens that to audience, changes entire situation, such as significant suitcase to country, or old terror apparently buried in Act I.


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