The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography Of F. Scott Fitzgerald
by Arthur Mizener

Foreword to the revised edition

Since the original publication of The Far Side of Paradise in 1951, a good deal of published and of unpublished information about Fitzgerald has accumulated. Of the published material the most striking is the story of Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham in Beloved Infidel by Miss Graham and Mr. Gerold Frank. I was familiar with this story in its main outlines when I wrote The Far Side of Paradise, but I was persuaded by friends of Miss Graham (one of them a psychiatrist) that it would be a serious mistake to discuss the matter with Miss Graham or to tell what I already knew. I therefore omitted the story. I do not even now see how I could have done otherwise, since Miss Graham’s friends may have been right about her feelings in 1951, and the very possibility that they were made it impossible for me to consult Miss Graham. Further silence on the subject has, however, been made unnecessary by the publication of Beloved Infidel, and I have therefore rewritten the last two chapters of The Far Side of Paradise for this edition in order to include the story of Miss Graham and Fitzgerald.

The most revealing account of Fitzgerald that has been published since the original publication of The Far Side of Paradise is Morley Callaghan’s story of his friendships with Fitzgerald and Hemingway during the spring and summer of 1929 in That Summer in Paris (1963). Only less valuable is Hemingway’s Moveable Feast (1964) with its beautifully written and curiously one-eyed view of Fitzgerald, a view which can, I think, be fully understood only in the light of Mr. Callaghan’s portrait of Hemingway. There have also been useful glimpses of Fitzgerald in such books as James Draw-bell’s The Sun Within Us (1963) and such articles as James Thurber’s for The Reporter in 1951; and there has been Andrew Turnbull’s subsequent biography, Scott Fitzgerald (1963), and his selection of Fitzgerald’s letters (1963).

In addition a good many people to whom I am particularly grateful have written me to correct my descriptions of episodes in Fitzgerald’s life for which I unwarily accepted Fitzgerald’s own somewhat romanticized recollections; a good example is Major Palmer’s account of Fitzgerald’s first meeting with Zelda, a less dramatic but more convincing one than Fitzgerald’s own, which I accepted in the original edition of this book and which has been repeated by other writers.

I have, then, revised this edition of The Far Side of Paradise to include all the new information of this kind, published and unpublished, that is now available to me, and I have made such changes in the book’s conception of Fitzgerald as this new knowledge suggests. For the reader’s convenience I have also introduced into the notes page references to the selection of Fitzgerald’s letters edited by Mr. Turnbull for Scribner’s, when letters I have quoted appear in that selection.

Arthur Mizener, Cornell University, September, 1964

Foreword to the first edition

This bookcould obviously not have been written without a great deal of assistance from a great many people, many more than I can hope to name here. It could, quite literally, not have been written at all had not Mrs. Frances Fitzgerald Lanahan made available to me with the greatest generosity everything she had which bore on her father’s life and work. In his case this included nearly all the most significant material—Mrs. Lanahan’s own recollections of her father, Fitzgerald’s Ledger, his Scrapbooks and Albums, his manuscripts, his files of letters, above all, perhaps, his magnificent letters to Mrs. Lanahan herself. Nor would I have attempted to write this book without the approval and the help of Mr. Edmund Wilson, who has given more time to my problems than I like to remember. I also owe a special debt to Mr. H. D. Piper, who turned over to me his large collections of notes about Fitzgerald.

I am only less indebted to those people who gave me their impressions of Fitzgerald and their permission to quote from letters, among whom were Mrs. Maxwell Perkins, Mrs. Bayard Turnbull, Mr. Ludlow Fowler, Mr. Charles W. Donahoe, Mr. and Mrs. C. O. Kalman, Mrs. Francis Butler, Mr. and Mrs. Norris Jackson, Mr. Robert Clark, Mr. Richard Washington, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hartwell, Mr. Stephen Dunning, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Murphy, Mrs. John Peale Bishop, Mrs. JohnPirie, Mrs. Maurice Flynn, Mr. Thomas Daniels, Mrs. Lois Moran Young, Doctor Benjamin Baker, Doctor Thomas Rennie, Mrs. Frances Kroll Ring, Miss Marie Shank, and Mrs. Newman Smith.

I owe a special debt to Mr. Ernest Hemingway, Mr. Budd Schulberg, and Mrs. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings for letting me use material which might well have had a professional value for them. I owe a personal debt to Professor Willard Thorp and Mr. Allen Tate who in different ways persuaded me to write this book. How much I am indebted to Mr. Charles Scribner for allowing me access to Fitzgerald’s correspondence with Maxwell Perkins and to Harold Ober, Fitzgerald’s agent, for allowing me to read Fitzgerald’s letters to him can be estimated by a glance at the notes to this book. I owe a similar debt to Judge John Biggs, who, as the Trustee of the Fitzgerald estate, made Fitzgerald’s papers available to me, and to Mr. Julian Boyd and the staff of the Princeton University Library, who gave me unasked more privileges in the library than I would ever have dared to ask for.

Mr. Malcolm Cowley and Mr. Reed Whittemore read this book from beginning to end in manuscript and saved me from a host of blunders.

I am deeply grateful to Houghton Mifflin for granting me one of their Literary Fellowships and to the Trustees of Carleton College for the generous leave which allowed me to take advantage of that Fellowship.

I am indebted to The Atlantic Monthly, Partisan Review, Furioso, and The Kenyon Review for permission to use material which has already appeared in their pages. I am also indebted to New Directions for permission to quote from The Crack-Up, to Harcourt, Brace and Company and Faber & Faber for permission to quote from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, and to Charles Scribner’s Sons for permission to quote from Fitzgerald’s books.

Probably no twentieth-century writer will ever be so well documented as Fitzgerald; his own records of his life, made to help him in his work, are minute and painstaking; he was a great preserver of the symbols of the past, from Plaza hat checks to the thousands of pages of manuscript that remain from the writing of Tender Is the Night. None of these records would have been available to me without the generosity of the people I have just been naming. It is no fault of theirs if I have often felt, as William Faulkner has said, that “they are like a chemical formula exhumed along with letters from that forgotten chest… almost indecipherable, yet meaningful, familiar in shape and sense, the name and presence of volatile and sentient forces; you bring them together in the proportions called for, but nothing happens; you re-read, tedious and intent, poring, making sure that you have forgotten nothing, made no miscalculation; you bring them together again and again nothing happens; just the words, the symbols, the shapes themselves, shadowy inscrutable and serene, against that turgid background of a … mischancing of human affairs.” “There never was,” as Fitzgerald said in his Notebooks, “a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn’t be. He’s too many people if he’s any good.”

Arthur Mizener Carleton College Northfield, Minnesota


There are three concentric areas of interest in a study of Scott Fitzgerald. At the heart of it is his work. His work was the major interest in his life, for he was a natural writer if only in the sense that from his grade-school days until the end of his life nothing was ever quite real to him until he had written about it. That work ought to be the essential interest of any book about him, not simply because it bulks larger but because it is more valuable than anything else in his life.

He always, however, wrote about himself or about people and things with which he was intimate. As a consequence his life is inextricably bound up with his work. He made a habit of jotting down notes of his experiences and feelings in the month-by-month record he kept in his Ledger. The nine stories he wrote about Basil Duke Lee, with their brilliant and minute recreation of his boyhood, are a good illustration of how he could transform these bare bones into fiction. Moreover, his life is of considerable interest in itself. He was a personality, a being of great charm and influence, despite the unforgivable things he occasionally did. “I didn’t have the two top things—great animal magnetism or money,” he once noted with perfect objectivity. “I had the two second things, tho’, good looks and intelligence. So I always got the top girl.” He lived a colorful life and, in the end, a disastrous one, which is no less moving because much of the disaster was ofhis own making. “There were four or five Zeldas and at least eight Scotts,” as James Thurber once put it, “so that their living room was forever tense with the presence of a dozen desperate personalities, even when they were alone in it. Some of these Fitzgeralds were characters out of a play or a novel, which made the lives of the multiple pair always theatrical, sometimes unreal, and often badly overacted.” This is the second area of interest for a study of him, only less absorbing than the first, and, because his imagination worked so immediately from his experience, very closely related to it.

The third area of interest is the time and place in which he lived. This area is not merely the early years of the twenties and the upper middle class in America. Fitzgerald became a figure for them almost by accident. As such he has his interest, for that time and place appear more and more as we get away from them a turning point in the history of American culture. But the person who was, in the popular, superficial sense, the “laureate of the Jazz Age” was a relatively insignificant part of Fitzgerald. He was the exceptional yet representative figure for a far deeper quality of the time and a far larger group of people than these. His time and place haunted him every minute of his life and the effect of this preoccupation is what most obviously distinguishes his work from that of the good sociological novelists like Dos Passos on the one hand and, on the other, from that of the emotional and self-regarding novelists.

It is not easy to get a clear view of Fitzgerald’s career and of his talent; it is not even easy—despite its pervasive influence—to define his achievement. There are a good many reasons for this blurring, but perhaps the most important of them is Fitzgerald’s curious ability to get close to the reader. He was, as a person, probably no less odd and alone than most people, but he had a talent for intimacy. In his personal relations he created a sense of unguarded impulsiveness—perfectly genuine even when it was used consciously—which was hard to resist, as many people who hated his reputation anddisapproved of his conduct and yet were won over by him have testified. He created an air of interest in those he was with, when he chose to, which is rarely provided for anyone except by himself. He did so because, with his quick imagination, he always saw what others were feeling and sympathized with them, especially if he himself had imposed on them one of his obsessions or muddled their lives with his drunken disorder or hurt them by some sharpness when they failed to respond to him as he had decided it was proper for them to.

There is a story in Morley Callaghan’s That Summer in Paris that illustrates this quality very clearly. Callaghan and his wife had sought out the Fitzgeralds in Paris and their first evening together had been far from a success. After it Callaghan wrote Fitzgerald a letter apologizing for having upset them, though it was Fitzgerald who had been rude; when Callaghan had failed to respond enthusiastically as Fitzgerald read him a passage from A Farewell to Arms, Fitzgerald had said gently, “Would this impress you, Morley?” dropped to the floor and attempted to stand on his head (he was not quite sober enough to bring it off).

When Callaghan told Hemingway this story, Hemingway said, “Well, that’s Scott.” That was true enough as far as it went, but there was more to Fitzgerald than Hemingway’s judgment allowed. He spent most of the day he got Callaghan’s letter trying to find him; when the Callaghans got back from dinner that night they found three pneumatiques from Fitzgerald, and almost immediately he and Zelda arrived at their flat. “Morley,” said Fitzgerald, “I got your note. This is terrible. All afternoon we’ve looked for you.”

Then Scott, taking me by the arm again amid all our protestations of goodwill and self-depreciation, made one of those generous remarks which few other men could have made, and which seemed to come so easily out of his heart. “You see, Morley,” he said simply, “there are too few of us.”

This pattern of tipsy inconsiderateness and deeply sympathetic, sober repentance occurs again and again in every one of Fitzgerald’s personal relations, though much of the time it is only the thoughtless behavior that gets reported in the anecdotes. Most of the anecdotes in Hemingway’s A Move-able Feast, for example, show Fitzgerald only at his worst—obsessed with hypochondriacal anxiety over “congestion of the lungs” or extravagant anxiety over “the way I was built”—but Hemingway had clearly known the rest of the pattern too. “When [Scott] was drunk,” he tells us, “he would usually come to find me and, drunk, he took almost as much pleasure interfering with my work as Zelda did interfering with his. This continued for years but, for years too, I had no more loyal friend than Scott when he was sober.”

This power of understanding and of sympathy, with the feeling of intimacy it bred, that Fitzgerald at his best brought to his personal relations carries over into his best stories and gives these stories an effect unique in twentieth-century fiction. “Almost everything I write in novels,” as he once put it quite truly himself, “goes, for better or worse, into the subconscious of the reader.” This is a confusing effect because, by itself and independently of other qualities, it is likely to affect very powerfully our response to the story. Fitzgerald’s work is full of precisely observed external detail, for which he had a formidable memory, and it is this gift of observation which has led to the superficial opinion that he was nothing but a chronicler of the social surface, particularly of the twenties. Yet, for all its concrete external detail, his work is very personal.

The events of his stories are nearly always events in which Fitzgerald has himself participated with all his emotional energy: “My own happiness… often approached such an ecstasy,” he wrote in The Crack-Up, “that I could not share it even with the person dearest to me but had to walk it away in quiet streets and lanes with only fragments of it to distilinto little lines in books….” At the same time, though his stories are full of these intense feelings, both their events and the feelings which surround them are observed with an almost historical precision; nothing is concealed, nothing ignored. “He [had],” as John Peale Bishop put it, “the rare faculty of being able to experience romantic and ingenuous emotions and half an hour later regard them with satiric detachment.” “Even the breaking of his own heart,” as Bishop added on another occasion, “was a sound to be listened to and enjoyed like the rest.” At its best, his mind apprehended things simultaneously with a participant’s vividness of feeling and an intelligent stranger’s acuteness of observation.

Because he thus wrote about the things he had participated in without any prudence whatever (“To record one must be unwary,” he said) we too participate in them. To some readers this experience is a revelation, the opening of a door for the first time into the world of imagination. Oftener than not these are unsophisticated readers, and, as Glenway Wescott remarked of This Side of Paradise, “a book which college boys really read is a rare thing, not to be dismissed idly or in a moment of severe sophistication.” Still, as Mr. Wescott would be the first to add, the judgments of college boys are not quite final, either. It is a considerable tribute to Fitzgerald that not only college boys but all sorts of other unusual readers have provided for him that “illiterate audience” for which Eliot and Yeats have yearned, but the effect of a special and quite undiscriminating Fitzgerald cult which is also a result of their admiration has only harmed his reputation.

This sense readers have that they are participating intimately in the experiences of his stories is also what makes certain of them seriously underrate Fitzgerald. His knowledge is that naïve and disturbing kind possessed by the child in Andersen’s fairy story who was not “wise” enough not to say that the king was naked. His stories give the reader a feeling of exposure, of a revelation of the commonness and weaknessand even smallness of what we all are. To certain minds this feeling is both unpleasant and insignificant. As one of the finest living American poets, Allen Tate, once said, “It was his very romanticism which kept him from ever learning more about the American rich [who were his subject] than a little boy knows about cowboys and Indians.” But this opinion ignores the judgment in Fitzgerald’s work and exaggerates the romance in a way that is very unlike Mr. Tate. “There are always those,” as Fitzgerald himself remarked, “to whom all self-revelation is contemptible….”

This sense of participation in Fitzgerald’s stories confuses the judgment, because it offends some readers extravagantly, and because there are some who enjoy it too much. Fitzgerald’s creation of it cannot be ignored; it is a characteristic and important part of his work and it must be taken account of and evaluated. But it is a feeling that has to be controlled if we are to evaluate fairly the other aspects of his talent and achievement.

It is no help to this end that he began his career with a great popular success. This Side of Paradise connected him in many people’s minds with “the Jazz Age,” so that he was for them both the historian—“the laureate”—of the post-war generation and its exemplar. Perhaps the strongest mark of the early twenties is the widespread conviction—so much stronger than their superficial cynicism—that anyone could do anything; it was a wonderful and inspiriting conviction and encouraged all sorts of people to achievements they might never otherwise have attempted. Fitzgerald himself once remarked half jokingly, “Hugh Walpole was the man who started me writing novels. One day I picked up one of his books while riding on a train from New York to Washington. After I had read about 100 pages I thought that ‘if this fellow can get away with it as an author I can too.’… After that I dug in and wrote my first book.” This is entirely in the spirit of the times, if not literally true. Only in such an atmosphere could Fitzgerald have been mistaken for the spokesman of a conscious and cultivated attitude. Fitzgerald “really created for the public the new generation,” as Gertrude Stein said, by quite innocently being it; he was as surprised as anyone else to discover that in This Side of Paradise “he had written a ‘bible of flaming youth.’ “ (Burton Rascoe, We Were Interrupted, New York, 1947, p. 20. But Rascoe’s recollections are not always to be trusted. He also says Fitzgerald told him he and Zelda were married the day THIS SIDE OF PARADISE was published - a confusion of two different dates of which Fitzgerald was certainly incapable - and that he wrote THIS SIDE OF PARADISE with Cabell’s Jurgen propped in front of him, when Jurgen was not published till the fall of 1919, by which time THIS SIDE OF PARADISE was in Scribner’s hands (it was sent them September 3, 1919). Fitzgerald’s own copy of Jurgen is dated December 20, 1920. “Rascoe has accused him of imitating James Branch Cabell. Fitzgerald laughs at this, for, as he says, he never heard of Cabell or of any other modern novelists until after he graduated from Princeton,””Ward Greene, the Atlanta Journal, 1922, clipping in Album III).

Partly because of certain qualities very deep in his nature, partly from sheer bewilderment, Fitzgerald himself became for a short time a victim of the popular delusion that he was a spokesman—and perhaps he never altogether escaped from this role’s special appeal to him for the rest of his life.

For just a moment, before it was demonstrated that I was unable to play the role, I, who knew less of New York than any reporter of six months standing and less of its society than any hall-room boy in a Ritz stag line, was pushed into the position not only of spokesman for the time but of the typical product of that same moment. I, or rather it was “we” now, did not know what New York expected of us and found it rather confusing.

For three or four years they did their best to be what appeared to be expected of them, and at least until 1930 they were responding to calls for statements on “Making Monogamy Work” (1924), “What Became of Our Flappers and Sheiks” (1925), and “Who Can Fall in Love After Thirty” (1928). On this note Fitzgerald faded from the consciousness of the general public to a really remarkable extent, with the result that when he died in 1940 the obituaries made it evident that for the newspapers and their public Fitzgerald and his work represented “the Jazz Age.” As The New Yorker pointed out: “Not only were they somewhat uninformed (note to the New York Times: ‘The Beautiful and Damned’ is not a book of short stories, and it isn’t called ‘The Beautiful and the Damned,’ either) but they were also inclined to be supercilious.” In this Fitzgerald was perhaps only a victim of circumstances and the American need to think of all writersas either Great, with a very large G, or something to be condescended to with all the force of one’s own uncertainty. Since, in 1940, the twenties seemed as remote to many people as the world of Trollope, and since Fitzgerald was remembered, not even as having understood them, but as representing them he was condescended to on every hand, from The Nation to College English, with a kind of smartness and disregard for the question of genuineness which is shocking. The greatest arrogance was shown by Westbrook Pegler’s notice, with its talk of Fitzgerald’s “group or cult of juvenile crying-drunks” and of the far-off time “when Scott Fitzgerald’s few were gnawing gin in silver slabs and sniffing about the sham and tinsel of it all.” But nearly everyone appeared inclined to write about him as if his life had consisted of the years from 1920 to 1928 and the people of that period had not been real people whose lives had consequences but merely the raw materials of a period musical comedy to which, by a grotesque accident, an unhappy but extremely improving ending out of some work like The London Merchant had got affixed.

As a consequence of this widespread opinion about the twenties in general and Fitzgerald in particular, there is a tendency on the part of even informed readers to be more aware than they ought to be of how well Fitzgerald caught what Paul Rosenfeld called “the pitch and beat” of a time and place and to remember disproportionately how, in two novels and two volumes of short stories, all produced in three short years, he did this for the period immediately after the first war.

The circumstances of Fitzgerald’s own production, of course, made this distorted view of him much easier. There had always been the possibility that he might turn out, at worst, merely a popular writer or, at best, a promising writer with a few solid achievements early in his career who petered out as ignominiously as did many of the easily acclaimed geniuses of the twenties. He did not in fact do either of these things; indeed there is a serious argument to be made for the notion that the work of the last five or six years of his life is the finest he ever did. But after The Great Gatsby there was a long spell when he appeared to be petering out; and then, when Tender Is the Night came along, we were in the midst of the proletarian decade. Not many people read Tender Is the Night at the time; it sold less than 13,000 copies in its first two years. And since everyone was looking for the noble-savage kind of proletarian hero and a dialectical view of American society, the feeling about Tender Is the Night, even among those who did read it, seemed to be, as Fitzgerald said, “that my material was such as to preclude all dealing with mature persons in a mature world.” When he was driven, he would say, “But, my God! it was my material, and it was all I had to deal with.” When he was less angry he saw how everything that had conspired to make him far more popular than he deserved to be in the twenties conspired equally to make him far less popular than he deserved to be in the thirties.

In addition to this impression that Fitzgerald was petering out, which both his own weaknesses and the weaknesses of the times conspired to create, he suffered the kind of denigration which in serious critical circles is reserved for writers who produce regularly for the slick magazines. More often than not, perhaps, this denigration is deserved, and probably no writer altogether escapes the debilitating effect of commercial writing; certainly Fitzgerald did not. Most serious critics, however, do not read the slick magazines, with the result that they are likely to think the gap between them and avant-garde fiction is greater than it is and to suppose that a writer who produces for them regularly is hopelessly damned. Fitzgerald wrote enough mediocre stories—even a few downright bad ones—for the commercial magazines to give the impression of a full-sized career of commercial mediocrity.The result is a general impression that while Faulkner was a formidable romantic genius lurking in a decadent social jungle in Oxford, Mississippi, and Hemingway a serious man who got the maximum out of a fine but circumscribed talent, Fitzgerald was a gifted writer who was corrupted by The Saturday Evening Post.

This simplified view of what was in fact a very complicated situation is clearly represented by Hemingway’s story of how Fitzgerald told him that “he wrote what he thought were good stories, and which really were good stories for the Post, and then changed them for submission, knowing exactly how he must make the twists that made them salable magazine stories. I had been shocked at this and I said it was whoring.” It is possible Fitzgerald did say something like this: he was always inclined to play the role he thought his listener expected of him, and he worried himself about his magazine writing, not because he had any romantic notions about his artistic chastity, but because he resented the time that writing for magazines took from his novel writing.

But only Hemingway’s Manichean view of the writer’s world could make him believe Fitzgerald wrote his magazine stories this way; there is no evidence at all to support this conception of how he wrote them and a great deal to suggest that he wrote them exactly as he did his novels. Some of them, especially some of those written in the middle thirties, are hastily written and he was thoroughly ashamed of such stories; he often grew angry, too, over how much easier it was to sell for high prices what he knew to be bad stories than to sell what he knew to be good ones. But Hemingway’s Jekyll-and-Hyde conception of Fitzgerald’s relation to his work is a grossly oversimplified view of it (Fitzgerald often revised his magazine stories when he put them in books. A comparison of the Saturday Evening Post version of 'Babylon Revisited' (February 21, 1931) and the version in Taps at Reveille illustrates the effect of a careful revision of a story; it is exactly like the effect of his revision of Tender Is the Night between the first, magazine version and the book).

Even careful and unprejudiced readers seem to have missed the fact that all through the late twenties and the thirties, besides the half-written and aborted stories, Fitzgerald was also writing a number of very fine ones for commercial magazines. “Rich Boy” was in Red Book in 1926, “Babylon Revisited” and “Family In the Wind” were in The Saturday Evening Post in 1931 and 1932, “The Long Way Out” and “Financing Finnegan” and “The Lost Decade” were in Esquire in 1937, 1938, and 1939—the list could be extended.

Fitzgerald himself contributed to the impression that he was frittering away his talent in hack work. His standards were very high; “I want to be one of the greatest writers that ever lived, don’t you?” he said to Edmund Wilson when he was an undergraduate; and though he lost the naïveté of this, he never lost its substance. In 1933 he was quoting to a correspondent Ford Madox Ford’s remark that “Henry James was the greatest writer of his day; therefore, for me, the greatest man,” and adding: “That is all I meant [in a previous conversation] by supereority. T. S. Elliot seems to me a very great person—Mrs. Lanier seems to me a very fine character.” Against this standard he was always measuring himself and finding himself wanting. “I now get 2000 a story and they grow worse and worse and my ambition is to get where I need write no more but only novels,” he wrote John Peale Bishop in the spring of 1925, and a few years later he called himself “a first-rate writer who has never produced anything but second-rate books.” He went on repeating this conviction to the end of his life, when he wrote Max Perkins, with that terrifyingly casual past tense of his later life, “in a small way I was an original.” Whether it is true that he might have done better work even than his best or much more as good as his best had he not done so much commercial work is another question—and probably an unanswerable one; the point here is the extent to which such remarks contributed to the impression that Fitzgerald was not a serious writer at all.

In the thirties, when, as one publisher remarked, it was smart to be Marxist, to be neither Marxist nor avant-garde was bad; but to be, in addition, a commercial success in the slick magazines was worse. Fitzgerald failed the critics inthese ways and they became uncertain whether to take him as a serious writer who was sometimes popular or as a popular writer who was occasionally serious. Even today, when the tribute of imitation has been paid him by so many able writers, and when The Crack-Up and the careful comments it elicited have had their effect, it is still difficult to see Fitzgerald quite clearly as a serious writer. While Hemingway was producing “the first forty-nine stories” and Faulkner around fifty, Fitzgerald was producing one hundred and sixty—not to mention thirty-odd articles, a scattering of poems, plays, and radio work, and a three years’ supply of movie scripts. Of Fitzgerald’s one hundred and sixty stories, at least fifty are serious and successful stories, and perhaps half of these are superb. Even if we assume that Hemingway’s forty-nine and Faulkner’s fifty are all first-rate—and this is evidently a false assumption—Fitzgerald as a serious writer of short stories compares very favorably with them both. The same thing is true of his novels. All this appears to have been by no means clear.

Next chapter 1

Published as The Far Side Of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald by Arthur Mizener (Rev. ed. - New York: Vintage Books, 1965; first edition - Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951).