Taps at Reveille
by T. S. Matthews

Scott Fitzgerald is supposed to be a case of split personality: Fitzgerald A is the serious writer; Fitzgerald B brings home the necessary bacon. And Taps at Reveille, a collection of avowed pot-boilers, was written with his fingers crossed by Fitzgerald B. There seems to be a feeling abroad that it would be kinder not to take any critical notice of the goings-on of Fitzgerald B, since his better half is such a superior person and might be embarrassed. Mr. Fitzgerald himself, however, obviously doesn’t feel that way about it, for he signs his moniker to all and sundry, and even collects the offerings of his lower nature in a book. He is right: there is no real difference in kind between Taps at Reveille and Tender Is the Night; the creatures whom he has sold down the river for a good price are a little cruder, that’s all. The yearning toward maturity is even more noticeable in some of these short stories than it is in his novels. It used to seem awful to Mr. Fitzgerald that youth should have to become manhood; now it seems even more awful that it can’t. His heroes have grown older but not riper; in their middle thirties they are hurt and puzzled children, lost among their contemporary elders, and still longing to grow up.

Published in The New Republic magazine (1935). Text scanned from F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work, ed. by Alfred Kazin (Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1951).