Women in Fitzgerald’s fiction
by Rena Sanderson

F. Scott Fitzgerald is best known as a chronicler of the 1920s and as the writer who, more than any other, identified, delineated, and popularized the female representative of that era, the flapper. Though it is an overstatement to say that Fitzgerald created the flapper, he did, with considerable assistance from his wife Zelda, offer the public an image of a modern young woman who was spoiled, sexually liberated, self-centered, fun-loving, and magnetic. In Fitzgerald’s mind, this young woman represented a new philosophy of romantic individualism, rebellion, and liberation, and his earliest writings enthusiastically present her as an embodiment of these new values. Although she is often seen now as a mere fashion of the bygone Jazz Age, the flapper should be regarded as one of the great authentic characters in American history. A virtual emblem of American modernity, she and all she stood for were envied, desired, feared, and emulated throughout much of the Western world, and it was Fitzgerald’s particular version of the flapper that “women imitated for more than four decades” (Solomon, Ain’t We Got Fun?, 22).

Fitzgerald’s early and widely publicized association with the flapper, however, has led many readers to misconstrue and to oversimplify the author’s portraits of women and of relations between the sexes. It is important to understand that, almost from the start, Fitzgerald was ambivalent toward his “creation,” fearing that the flapper embodied not freedom but moral anarchy and lack of direction. Increasingly he used her as a symbol not only of a new order, but also of social disorder and conflict. As he wrote to Edmund Wilson in May 1925, “If I had anything to do with creating the manners of the contemporary American girl I certainly made a botch of the job” (Life in Letters, 110). But the public mistakenly assumed that Fitzgerald, whose early success was tied to the flapper, necessarily endorsed her. In fact, Fitzgerald became the victim of that success. His artistic ambitions were thwarted by the public’s desire for more flapper stories, and his association with that one female type prevented readers from appreciating the full range and complexity of his interest in modern women.

In a posthumous tribute to her husband in 1941, Zelda said that he had “seized, from the nebulous necessities of an incubating civilization, the essence of a girl able to survive the new, and less forbearing, dramas… [of] that troubled and turbulent epoch between world wars” (Zelda Fitzgerald, Collected Writings, 709). In her inimitable style, Zelda identified the subtle nuances of Fitzgerald’s accomplishment, his recognition of the modern young woman as a product of the social flux and of the particular pressures on women during that “turbulent epoch.” He was, in other words, a major male author who had particular insight into female psychology and the social evolution of the American woman.

Not surprisingly, from the very start of Fitzgerald’s career, literary critics have paid special attention to his women characters and have sought to decipher his attitude toward them. While some see him as a sympathetic spokesman for modern women,1 a large majority read the author’s works as outright condemnations of women for their failure to live up to the male hero’s romantic dreams.2 Both views, however, depend on one-sided and polemical interpretations of the evidence. The truth is that Fitzgerald was ambivalent, both fascinated and disturbed by women and by the changing distribution of power between the sexes. Indeed, the often-noted split in Fitzgerald—between a romantic side and a pragmatic/judgmental side—may be regarded as both cause and effect of his ambivalence about women. Perhaps the divided self that readers have often detected needs to be recognized more positively as the expression of an androgynous creativity. Fitzgerald himself, attempting to explain his creative impulses, reportedly declared, “I don’t know why I can write stories. I don’t know what it is in me or that comes to me when I start to write. I am half feminine—at least my mind is” (quoted in Turnbull, Scott Fitzgerald, 259).

As we shall see, Fitzgerald’s exploration of “the New Woman” was inseparable from his attempts to formulate the appropriate male response. This study proposes to describe Fitzgerald’s changing views of women by examining his major works in their most revealing contexts, both cultural and personal. Before we turn to those individual works, however, it will be helpful to have a sketch of women’s history up to and during the time that Fitzgerald began mapping and even shaping the roles of both women and men. The brief remarks that follow, which are of necessity overly simple and overly general, are meant to provide such a sketch.

It is a commonplace that life in the Victorian era was divided into two spheres, the public, economic sphere run by men, and the private, domestic sphere run by women. Charged with maintaining the home as a safe haven for their husbands and children, women were expected to embody the qualities of piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness. Not surprisingly, when these “angels of the house” began to get more involved in the cultural and political life of the nation, they did so by applying the “higher morality” that men expected of them, promoting “domestic” values in a variety of reform movements, notably abolitionism, temperance, and women’s rights. The troubles of the 1890s—economic depression, labor violence, the spread of poverty, slums, and disease—brought forth an unprecedented rise in women’s public activity. In the early twentieth century, women’s organizations, with a combined membership in the millions, engaged in self-described “progressive” reforms of American life, especially in such areas as education, health, social services, the arts, race relations, family relations, and women’s roles (Riley, Inventing the American Woman, 153). In short, from the 1890s into the 1920s, there was a rise in women’s public power—a feminization of American culture.

As women entered the public sphere in the late nineteenth century, as American culture became feminized, there was a variety of male reactions. By 1900, in response to a perceived overcivilizing of the country by women, there was a popular cult of virility, whose supporters celebrated masculine primitivism, physical strength, outdoorsmanship, and such sports as boxing, football, and bicycling (Lears, No Place, 107-8).

Internationally, various male thinkers, such as Oswald Spengler, D. H. Lawrence, and Wyndham Lewis, declared that women who abandoned their traditional submissive gender roles were causing “the decline of the West” (Carey, Intellectuals and the Masses, 182-208). In America, H. L. Mencken, Harold Stearns, and Harvard psychologist Hugo Munsterberg, among others, denigrated women’s cultural activity as sentimental, overly emotional, and intellectually inferior. The nation’s social and cultural problems, it was claimed, could best be solved not by the sympathies of women amateurs but by the application of new expertise in education, natural science, technology, and social science (including psychology and psychoanalysis)—expertise in the hands of men.

These developments were inseparable from the emergence of what we now call modernity. As the economy improved, mass production of affordable goods, new technologies (automobiles, movies, telephones), unprecedented class mobility, urbanization, the rise of consumerism, advertising, and mass culture all worked to transform American values. Starting before World War I, and then accentuated by the war and by post-war prosperity, this revolutionary change “in manners and morals” downplayed the importance of self-denial and social justice and glorified “individual gratification” (Friedman, Our American Sisters, 417).3

An early manifestation of this emphasis on the self was the Gibson Girl, the most immediate historical precursor of the flapper. Created in 1896 by Charles Dana Gibson, an illustrator for Life magazine, the Gibson Girl was a beautiful young woman, tanned and fit, whose short skirt allowed her to be athletic—wholesome rather than sexual, self-fulfilling rather than dependent on male desires (Brown, Setting a Course, 30). While the Gibson Girl was shortly supplanted in the public imagination by the more sexualized flapper, who aimed at attracting men, both female types shared a refusal to play the selfless angel whether of the house or of the nation. In fact, they defined themselves by rejecting the established ideal of woman’s nurturing, maternal “nature.” Noting this shift in moral authority from the family and the community to the individual, some historians have dated the appearance of the flapper not in the 1920s but well before World War I (McGovern, “American Woman’s Pre-World War I Freedom,” 428-9).

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a keen observer of these changes in women’s mores and behavior. Throughout many of his earliest stories—read by thousands of women—many golden girls, popular daughters, and debutantes adopt the deportment, fashions, and attitudes of the flapper and sprinkle the magic dust of their high spirits. In spreading these images, Fitzgerald helped to guide women’s modernization. In his own stated view, the significance of his early flappers was that they “were not a type—they were a generation. Free spirits evolved thru the war chaos and a final inevitable escape from restraint and inhibitions” (Bruccoli and Bryer, In His Own Time, 279). He traced the American flapper to several influences, especially the rise of a new moneyed class in the American Midwest “without background, tradition, or manners,” and the popularization of Sigmund Freud, whose ideas “at third-hand” convinced “wealthy young girls” that “they were all victims of repressed desires” and that they should “cut loose” (Bruccoli and Bryer, In His Own Time, 264-5).

While these new attitudes represented new freedom for some women, they also undermined important features of gender politics that had thrived in the nineteenth century: women’s solidarity, the cultivation of female friendship, and women’s “maternal” leadership in social reform. Throughout the prosperous twenties, various discourses of mass culture co-opted the rhetoric of feminism and resulted in a shift from activist feminism to lifestyle feminism.4 The promotion of mass-produced clothing and cosmetics through mass advertising, movies, and beauty pageants encouraged a new, ostensibly freer, female ideal. Embracing the values of individual self-creation (and female rivalry), women sought to keep up with the new fashions in dress, attitude, and behavior.

Soon, what had seemed like liberation became prescription. Women were not just free to be modern—they were expected to be modern. By 1922, in her “Eulogy on the Flapper,” Zelda was announcing the flapper’s demise: “Flapperdom has become a game; it is no longer a philosophy” (Collected Writings, 392). As “philosophy,” flapperdom stood for individual rebellion against the old pieties and restraints. As fashion, it stood for the opposite, conformity to convention. Contemporary women writers Dorothy Parker, in “The Waltz,” and Edna St. Vincent Millay, in the following sonnet lines, described the dishonesty of the roles modern women felt compelled to play:

Come, I will show you now my newest hat,

And you may watch me purse my mouth and prink!

Oh, I shall love you still, and all of that.

I never again shall tell you what I think.

I shall be sweet and crafty, soft and sly:

You will not catch me reading any more;

I shall be called a wife to pattern by…

(Millay, Collected Sonnets, 31)

To the many commentaries on this popular topic Fitzgerald added his male perspective of puzzled ambivalence. Fascinated with femininity as the product of self-fashioning—an alluring yet deceptive theatrical pose—he provided in his fiction both manuals on the construction of that pose and sermons condemning its duplicity.

Fitzgerald early came to think of women in terms of social approval and male validation. Biographers agree that Fitzgerald was embarrassed by his mother Mollie McQuillan who represented the moneyed side of the family but lacked social distinction and social grace. Rather dowdy and unkempt in appearance, she was outspoken and enjoyed a reputation as an eccentric. She spoiled her son, but he preferred his father Edward Fitzgerald (a romantic figure of impoverished gentility) and resented it that his mother overshadowed her husband.

Although Fitzgerald in his youth gained valuable mentors and friends—such as Father Sigourney Webster Fay, John Peale Bishop, and Edmund Wilson—he was haunted by his social inferiority and feared rejection. He turned to women for approval. As biographer Scott Donaldson suggests, “If he could win the heart of the girl—especially the golden girl over whom hung an aura of money, beauty, and social position—surely that meant that he had arrived, that he belonged” (Fool For Love, 43).

According to Sheilah Graham, his lover late in life, Fitzgerald prepared “lists of his ‘fixations,’ from Marie (Hersey) (1911) to S. (Graham) (193740). His total of feminine fixations from the age of fourteen: sixteen persons” (College of One, 60). Especially memorable for Fitzgerald, and the model for many popular daughters in his fiction, was the beautiful, wealthy, and popular Ginevra King, whom he courted during his college days in 1915-16. She was his first love and, as he later wrote, she dropped him “with the most supreme boredom and indifference” (Letters, 19). She “was the golden girl that Fitzgerald, like his male protagonists, could not have” (Donaldson, Fool For Love, 51).

At Princeton, an all-male university, the Triangle Club used a photo of Fitzgerald dressed as a show girl to publicize its play The Evil Eye—but we should not make too much of this fact since male undergraduates always played female roles in such performances. Nevertheless, his college writings, such as the one-act play The Debutante, do reflect his early interest in exploring the female point of view. By this time, his views of womanly and manly behavior were also at least partly informed by his reading, which included large doses of British Romantic poetry.

By the time Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre at the Montgomery Country Club in July 1918, he had joined the U.S. Army and started writing his first novel. Eighteen-year-old Zelda (born July 24, 1900, in Montgomery, Alabama) was the lovely, spoiled, and popular daughter of an established genteel Southern family headed by Judge Anthony Sayre. She had studied ballet from ages nine to seventeen and loved to swim; she was fearless, pretty, and outspoken; and she was voted “The Prettiest and The Most Attractive Girl” in her senior class (Milford, Zelda, 22).

While Zelda enjoyed perhaps one of her most carefree periods, Fitzgerald struggled to establish himself. In 1918, Scribners twice rejected his novel and later that fall rejected a second version. After being discharged from the army, Fitzgerald started working for Barron Collier Advertising Agency in New York City. Also that spring, Zelda and Scott became engaged, but in June 1919, Zelda broke off their engagement.

And then, suddenly, Fitzgerald was a great success. In fall 1919, after Scribners editor Maxwell Perkins accepted This Side of Paradise for publication, Zelda and Scott renewed their engagement; in February 1920, the Saturday Evening Post for the first time published one of his stories; in March 1920, Scribner’s published This Side of Paradise; and on April 3, 1920, Zelda and Scott were married. Thus, by the age of twenty-four, he had gained literary fame, financial success, and the woman he loved.

Central to Fitzgerald’s writing was the modern and exciting kind of girl that Zelda herself epitomized. “Indeed,” he said in an interview in 1921, “I married the heroine of my stories. I would not be interested in any other sort of woman” (Milford, Zelda, 77). He preferred the “young woman of 1920 [who was] flirting, kissing, viewing life lightly, saying damn without a blush, playing along the danger line in an immature way—a sort of mental baby vamp” (Bruccoli and Bryer, In His Own Time, 244-5).

Zelda, as his artistic model or prototype, participated fully in various promotional strategies—photos, writings, and interviews—that established Fitzgerald as “creator” of the flapper. In the early 1920s Zelda wrote two articles on the flapper. The first of these, “Eulogy on the Flapper” (Metropolitan Magazine, June 1922), featured a realistic drawing of Zelda’s profile and a caption that stressed that Fitzgerald put Zelda in his first two novels.5 Such illustrations or photos of the couple or of Zelda alone routinely accompanied both Scott’s and Zelda’s early writings as well as interviews.

The interviews typically also stressed that Zelda’s fictional counterpart could be found in her husband’s writings. In an interview of 1923, for example, Zelda told a newspaper reporter that she preferred those of Fitzgerald’s fictional heroines that were like her: “That’s why I love Rosalind in This Side of Paradise… Rosalind was the original American flapper” (Bruccoli and Bryer, In His Own Time, 259). A framed insert with the heading “Is She His Model?” listed for the hurried reader the key characteristics of Zelda, the “living prototype… of the American flapper” (Bruccoli et al., Romantic Egoists, 112).

Fitzgerald himself described his first book, This Side of Paradise, as “a novel about flappers written for Philosophers” (Correspondence, 55). Strongly autobiographical, the novel details Amory Blaine’s quest for selfknowledge from childhood through college. His encounters with women are an important part of Amory’s initiation into adulthood. In other words, the book explores both the flapper and the male response to the flapper. As Fitzgerald said in an early preface, the protagonist “loved many women and gazed at himself in many mirrors—in fact, women and mirrors were preponderant in all the important scenes” (Preface, TSOP, 393).

The girls Amory finds most interesting—Isabelle, Rosalind, Eleanor—are “popular daughters”: they are white, wealthy, lovely, bright, athletic, confident, spoiled, outspoken, and young flirtatious debutantes. Each of the three girls introduces a particular trait that Fitzgerald explored more fully in his subsequent writings.

Isabelle Borge represents a topic of particular fascination to Fitzgerald: the popular young girl’s theatricality. A letter which Fitzgerald wrote to his fifteen-year-old sister Annabel when he was about nineteen (c. 1915) shows that the author believed that popularity was, in fact, the inevitable reward for a carefully constructed persona. The letter offers detailed tips on “The General Subject of Conversation,” “Poise: Carriage: Dancing: Expression,” and “Dress and Personality.” Especially revealing is Fitzgerald’s advice, “always affect a complete frankness but really be only as frank as you wish to be” (Correspondence, 15). Fitzgerald apparently believed that being “natural is simply a pose,” as one character asserts in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the work which Fitzgerald said “largely flavored” his first novel (Preface, TSOP, 393).

In his novel, the modern young girl’s self-dramatization defies traditional ideals of female self-effacement. While a lady stayed out of public view, the flapper puts herself in the spotlight and flaunts her outrageously modern self. She invites the public gaze and grooms herself accordingly.

Only sixteen years old, Isabelle Borge knows how to put on a show. When first introduced, she is compared to a leading lady on stage or to an athlete performing for a crowd (TSOP, 67). Amory and Isabelle both know that they are acting, and they respect each other’s right to a cultivated pose: “He waited for the mask to drop off, but at the same time he did not question her right to wear it. She, on her part, was not impressed by his studied air of blase sophistication… But she accepted his pose” (72).

Courtship patterns are also shown to have changed. Amory early becomes familiar with “that great American phenomenon, the ‘petting party’ ” (64), and he finds it “rather fascinating to feel that any popular girl he met before eight he might quite possibly kiss before twelve” (66)—a risque passage which reviewers loved to quote.

Nineteen-year-old Rosalind Connage illustrates the tendency of Fitzgerald’s females to be more practical than their starry-eyed admirers. Although she exhibits admirable traits, such as “her endless faith in the inexhaustibility of romance, her courage and fundamental honesty,” and although she loves Amory, she does not want to marry him and share his poverty (175).

As Fitzgerald had advised his sister Annabel, a girl must “learn to be worldly. Remember in all society nine girls out of ten marry for money and nine men out of ten are fools” (Correspondence, 16). His flappers, generally spoiled daughters from wealthy or once-wealthy families, expect material comforts and yet are economically dependent on male providers. Young men must prove themselves financially before they can gain a rich girl’s hand—a recurrent pattern in the fiction that may derive from Fitzgerald’s experiences with Ginevra and with Zelda. Though Fitzgerald’s early works depicted girls such as Rosalind still with some sympathy, he later “gradually de-romanticized the girl and de-emphasized the glory of the quest” (Donaldson, Fool For Love, 102-3).

Eighteen-year-old Eleanor Ramilly Savage illustrates the dangerous side of women who lack identity or purpose (such as Gloria Patch, Daisy Buchanan, and Nicole Diver in the later novels). Somewhat like Jo March of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (which Amory Blaine read twice as a youngster), Eleanor asks, “oh, why am I a girl?… here I am with the brains to do everything, yet tied to the sinking ship of future matrimony.” Although she is “hipped on Freud,” she nevertheless is expected “to marry into a dinner-coat” (TSOP, 240) and chafes against the role of uselessness. When she almost plunges off a cliff in an incident that kills her horse, Amory stops loving her: “But as Amory had loved himself in Eleanor so now what he hated was only a mirror” (242). Precisely because they think alike and share a passion for poetry and rebellion, he recognizes in her the dangerous potential of his romantic self.

In addition, the novel introduces two rather stereotypical women representing opposite extremes. Axia Marlow, a chorus girl from the Summer Garden Show, is an early example of the vulgar working-class women that appear in Fitzgerald’s fiction and indicate his sexual prudishness. The opposite of Axia is Clara, whom Amory idealizes: “She was immemorial… Amory wasn’t good enough for Clara, Clara of ripply golden hair, but then no man was” (141). Clara-lovely, strong, and devout-resembles the lady of the medieval courtly love tradition by which, some have argued, Fitzgerald “judges the relationships that develop during the decline of modern civilization” (Moreland, The Medievalist Impulse, 136). As stereotypes representing the extremes of bad and good, Axia and Clara are early indicators of Fitzgerald’s lifelong fascination with the symbolic uses of women.

Although in the end, Amory ends up alone, he congratulates himself on his sexual choices: “Own taste the best; Isabelle, Clara, Rosalind, Eleanor, were all-American. Eleanor would pitch, probably southpaw. Rosalind was outfield, wonderful hitter, Clara first base, maybe” (TSOP, 262). Interestingly, Amory makes the women into active players in a man’s game. The girls he encounters help him to discover himself, and Fitzgerald presents them, in all their flaws, with respect and at times even enthusiasm.

The short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” (1920), however, suggests that Fitzgerald was already feeling ambivalent about his “creation.” Based, by his own account, on his letter (c. 1915) to his sister Annabel, the story itself is “virtually a handbook of advice on how to become a successful flapper” (Solomon, Ain’t We Got Fun?, 21). Through literary allusions to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Fitzgerald makes it clear that the construction of the flapper implies the dismantling of outdated ideals of femininity. Indeed, Fitzgerald “borrowed his major plot elements and themes from Little Women” and turned them “upside down in a Jazz Age revision.”6

A pair of contrasting characters, fair Marjorie Harvey and her dark cousin Bernice, represent contrasting modern and Victorian ideals of femininity. When old-fashioned, provincial Bernice allows herself to be remodeled for popularity’s sake, Marjorie provides concrete suggestions for improving Bernice’s conversation, appearance, and manners. The change is more than superficial since Bernice’s new exterior signals a change in philosophy, but for Fitzgerald this new philosophy calls all in doubt. By the end of the story, it seems that the modern young woman’s liberation amounts to little more than license to run wild.

Bernice’s reconstruction also includes a changed attitude toward women, a mark of the historic shift from female nurturance and solidarity to female self-fashioning and rivalry. Her model Marjorie (like her literary predecessor Rosalind and like Zelda) has “no female intimates—she considered girls stupid. Bernice on the contrary… had rather longed to exchange those confidences flavored with giggles and tears” (Short Stories, 29). In effect, the modernization of Bernice means that she becomes catty and nasty, a foe rather than a friend.

In capturing Fitzgerald’s concern over the flapper’s moral dissoluteness, the story anticipates the emphasis of his next novel, The Beautiful and Damned (serialized 1921-2; and published as a book in 1922). Since he wrote it during the first months of his marriage, readers may have expected privileged glimpses into the Fitzgerald household. The media encouraged that expectation. Newspapers and magazines featured photos of the happy young parents and their baby daughter Frances “Scottie” (born October 26, 1921), and interviews explored the effects of the flapper’s philosophy on family life. Indeed, Fitzgerald did draw extensively on his early married life. His fictional use of Zelda’s diary and letters prompted her to comment, in her 1922 review of the novel, that “plagiarism begins at home” (Zelda Fitzgerald, Collected Writings, 388).

Readers expecting an entertaining family romance may have been disappointed that the novel showed instead, according to the author, how the Fitzgeralds’ fictional counterparts Anthony Patch and “his beautiful young wife [Gloria] are wrecked on the shoals of dissipation” (Life in Letters, 41). As one biographer has observed, the novel repudiates “the Younger Generation thesis” that had made Fitzgerald famous: “Gloria and Anthony Patch—young, glamorous, emancipated—live selfishly and hedonistically after the mode of rebellious youth and end up desperate and degraded” (Turnbull, Scott Fitzgerald, 131).

In a 1922 interview, Fitzgerald blamed Gloria for the “damnation” described in the novel. He asserted: “Our American women are leeches. They’re an utterly useless fourth generation trading on the accomplishments of their pioneer great-grandmothers. They simply dominate the American men” (Bruccoli and Bryer, In His Own Time, 256). In subsequent years, in his private correspondence as well as in his fiction, he continued to explore those two particular flaws in modern women—their uselessness and their dominance over men. Unfortunately, his comments may have encouraged reductionist interpretations that read the novel primarily as an indictment of Gloria (read Zelda) and of women generally.7 The Beautiful and Damned is, however, certainly much more than a fictional attack on Zelda.

Gloria Gilbert is beautiful, spoiled, and modern enough to insist on a woman’s right “to kiss a man beautifully and romantically without any desire to be either his wife or his mistress” (B&D, 113). She revolts at the prospect of a colorless, humiliating marriage like her mother’s, and she rejects the woman’s traditional role of maternal self-effacement. She wants a marriage that will be a “live, lovely, glamorous performance” (147). According to one critic, Gloria is Fitzgerald’s depiction of “the young American bitch” who “rejects domesticity not out of any libertarian principle or career aspiration but out of sheer theatrical hedonism” (Tuttleton, “Combat,” 280).

More recently, critics have shown more sympathy for Gloria. She demonstrates a “moral strength” (B&D, 371) her husband does not possess and unlike him wants to find meaningful work (Fryer, Fitzgerald’s New Women, 30). When she decides to become an actress, she discovers, however, that she is by the age of twenty-nine too old to play the role of a flapper. In a suggestive mirror scene, Gloria collapses and lies sobbing at the image of her “aging” face (B&D, 404). It is a vivid reminder that the identity she has created for herself (or that has been created for her) is inadequate. In short, Fitzgerald depicts Gloria sympathetically.

While it is true that Fitzgerald “couldn’t help recognizing in the New Woman what she so often recognized in herself—boredom, insincerity, triviality, and hedonistic irresponsibility” (Tuttleton, “Combat,” 280), the weaknesses of the New Woman also reflect and magnify the weaknesses of the New Man. Anthony himself is as useless, lazy, self-indulgent, irresponsible, and hedonistic as any woman in Fitzgerald. Indeed, the novel shows that shifting definitions of womanhood posed a major challenge to men, who had to redefine their own concepts of manhood, social responsibility, and power.

Unlike Joseph Bloeckman (a self-made man of the world and an embodiment of Franklinesque success), Anthony Patch is a man divided between his romantic fantasies and a reality he regards as vulgar. His adulterous affair with Dorothy Raycroft, “a girl of a lower class,” is part of the vulgar reality he wants to deny (B&D, 323). Although Dot at nineteen already has an “unsavory reputation” and is pathetically passive and masochistic, she is depicted sympathetically as a victim of her circumstances, including her betrayal by Anthony.

There are also, however, several less sympathetic depictions of women, some from the working class (69-79) and some, including Gloria’s friends, from the rising middle class. Muriel Kane, a would-be vamp, is a travesty of everything Fitzgerald advised his sister to cultivate—from the “timely” expressions in her conversation to her excessive make-up and dress (84); and then there is Rachael Jerryl, “an exquisitely dressed Jewess,” whose adultery Gloria condemns as “utterly common” (83-4; 368).

Despite Gloria’s insistence to the contrary, Anthony asserts that she is superior to ordinary women, whom he dismisses as “breeders and bearers” (104). He needs her as his inspiration—an uncontaminated embodiment of his romantic ideals of “beauty and all illusion” (72-3). In his presentation of Gloria, we can see Fitzgerald examining how men, acting from their own needs, tend to see women symbolically, as representations of virtue or of worldly taint—examining, in other words, the essential importance of perspective.

The Beautiful and Damned may thus be regarded as an apprentice work anticipating The Great Gatsby (1925). In the later novel Fitzgerald fully explores the modern woman’s symbolic significance in an era of disintegration. Demonstrating that in the modern world “personal identity resides in the perception of others” (Prigozy, “Introduction,” The Great Gatsby, xxxiii), the book suggests that a woman has no identity except in the eyes of her beholder.

One reviewer did not think that The Great Gatsby was “a book to be read by the reader who believes the American girl to be the ideal girl of the twentieth century. We wonder if the author is as cynical as he paints his characters” (Bryer, Critical Reception, 195). And according to Fitzgerald himself, he “dragged” the book “out of the pit of [his] stomach in a time of misery.” As he reminded Zelda, when he wrote the novel in 1924 there was “no one believing in me and no one to see except you + before the end your heart betraying me and then I was really alone with no one I liked” (Correspondence, 239). In June 1924, Zelda had met French aviator Edouard Jozan at the beach on the Riviera, and though the exact nature of their relationship remains unclear, Fitzgerald entered in his ledger a “Big Crisis—13th of July” (Ledger, 178). By August he recorded that he and Zelda were “close together” (Ledger, 179), but Zelda reportedly took an overdose of sleeping pills in late summer (Milford, Zelda, III). As Fitzgerald would later recall, “That September 1924 I knew something had happened that could never be repaired” (Notebooks, 113).

Although Fitzgerald himself thought that “the book contains no important woman character” (Life in Letters, 107), his central heroine Daisy Buchanan occupies a prominent place within the American literary tradition that features females of questionable morality—from Henry James’s Daisy Miller to Willa Cather’s Marian Forrester (Life in Letters, 100-1). Like James and Cather, Fitzgerald experiments with narrative point of view and presents the female characters through a central male consciousness.

Readers familiar with Fitzgerald’s earlier fiction will immediately recognize Daisy as Fitzgerald’s golden girl and Myrtle Wilson as the lower-class sexualized woman. New in the female cast is Jordan Baker, a champion golfer with a slim, boyish body and “an erect carriage” which she shows off “like a young cadet”—an indication of her androgynous tendencies (GG, 12).

It is through the eyes of Nick Carraway that we get our first glimpse of Daisy and Jordan. Set off by an elegant decor and airy nature images, the two women impress Nick as incarnations of female loveliness associated with a suggestive mix of purity, ethereal weightlessness, adventure, and maybe even witchcraft: “They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house” (10).

From the beginning, however, Nick suspects that the two women are hiding their true selves behind cultivated public fronts. He glimpses in Daisy’s sophisticated cynicism a “basic insincerity… a trick of some sort” (17). The theatrical tendency he questions may reflect the formative influence of popular culture, especially Hollywood, on women’s roles. According to Ronald Berman, all the book’s characters except Nick act as if they had “scripts in mind” (Berman, “The Great Gatsby” and Modern Times, 113). For example, Daisy in the novel identifies a woman’s ideal identity as that of “a beautiful little fool” (GG, 17), and she seems to adopt the disguise of “agreeable female stupidity” promoted by a flood of popular movies starring dumb blondes (Berman, “The Great Gatsby” and Modern Times, 127).

Jordan’s identity, too, seems to be a product of the popular media. Nick first recognizes her face because he has seen her photo, and during their last meeting she still reminds him of “a good illustration” (GG, 141). Noting that this sports celebrity is surrounded by sensationalist rumors, Nick decides that the “bored haughty face that she turned to the world” conceals an incurable dishonesty born of her unwillingness to be at a disadvantage (47-8).

For Nick, Myrtle is simply a less successful and more blatant fraud who puts on an air of “impressive hauteur” (26) which she associates with high society—as she has come to know it through tabloids and movies. Surrounded by vulgar mass-produced decor, she is a mockery of everything she aspires to imitate. In this respect, she resembles Jay Gatsby, whose self-invention parodies Benjamin Franklin’s success story of hard work and moral selfimprovement. Nick concludes, with grim resignation, that “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply” (48).

In contrast to Nick, who perceives all three women as impostors, Gatsby idealizes Daisy. As unappreciated outsider/dreamer/host, Gatsby recalls Joseph Bloeckman and anticipates Dick Diver (and of course resembles Fitzgerald). With his “white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie,” he is the knight who idealizes Daisy according to the courtly love tradition (67), and although this worship is misplaced, “Gatsby’s ability to wonder, to dream, and to quest is presented as admirable” (Moreland, Medievalist Impulse, 143).

Nick admires Gatsby’s commitment to an “incorruptible dream” (GG, 123)—“his heroic though misguided romanticization of Daisy” (Fetterley, Resisting Reader, 95-6). Daisy’s corruption—her irresponsibility and betrayal of Gatsby—may kill Gatsby, but in the judgment of Nick her corruption only proves the superiority of Gatsby and his dream. In a deceptive, fraudulent world, Daisy still retains her value as a symbol. She represents illusion itself, the illusion of everything admirable, authentic, desirable, and unattainable.

The Great Gatsby thus defends the importance of inspirational symbols and the male tendency to see women as such symbols, perhaps especially during a time of personal, sexual, familial, and national disintegration. This book contends that we need “something commensurate” with our human “capacity for wonder” (GG, 143).

After The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s literary depiction of women reflects a difficult period in his life and career. Among the troubles that may have influenced his views of women were his disappointments in Hollywood, changes in his marriage, Zelda’s mental deterioration and institutionalization, and his increasing self-consciousness and sense of failure as an artist.

Although Fitzgerald was pleased with his success following The Great Gatsby (Correspondence, 239), by early 1927 he encountered professional frustrations while working in Hollywood on a flapper screenplay, “Lipstick” (which was never produced). At this time, he also fell in love with the seventeen-year-old actress Lois Moran. He later described the affair as revenge for Zelda’s earlier involvement with Edouard Jozan (Life in Letters, 211). After the Fitzgeralds returned to Paris in 1928 and Zelda took ballet lessons from Madame Lubov Egorova, marital relations were further strained when Zelda became infatuated with her teacher (Correspondence, 248); in addition, she questioned Fitzgerald’s manhood and, according to Fitzgerald, dragged him “into her homosexual obsession” by charging that he “was a fairy” (Correspondence, 243, 241, 244). Fitzgerald, who later had several affairs with other women, continued to explore adultery in his writings, and in his next novel, Tender is the Night, he also examined the issue of homosexuality.

While Fitzgerald, drinking more heavily, struggled to complete this next novel, Zelda experienced a creative awakening. Not only was she taking ballet lessons and practicing at least eight hours a day in hopes of becoming a professional dancer, but she also resumed her writing. Between 1925 and 1934, she wrote more than a dozen articles and stories, including six stories about different types of girls for College Humor, most of which appeared in print under the joint byline “F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald” (Bruccoli, Descriptive Bibliography, 306-9).

Even when her emotional health declined and she was hospitalized, Zelda continued to write and paint. In April 1930, she had her first breakdown in Paris and was admitted to Malmaison Clinic. In early March 1932, just a few weeks after her second breakdown and admission into Phipps Clinic, she completed her novel Save Me the Waltz. Fitzgerald, who had been mostly supportive of Zelda’s writings up to that point, felt betrayed. As he saw it, Zelda, for whom he had done so much, had incorporated into her book “one whole section” of the novel on which he had worked “intermittently for four years” and which he had been unable to complete “because of the necessity of keeping Zelda in sanitariums” (Life in Letters, 209). He resented having become her “work horse,” paying to support her treatment and artistic pretensions with his “damn Post story writing” (Life in Letters, 220). Indeed, the couple’s artistic rivalry, considered a central issue in discussions of Zelda’s development, also contributed to Fitzgerald’s changing view of himself and his craft.8

Throughout the early 1930s, in the short stories, essays, and drafts leading up to his novel, Fitzgerald explored his emotional and artistic crisis as a writer and developed the literary methods that found full expression in Tender is the Night.9 As always, his views of women were central to this process.

One of his concerns was female competition. “What a Handsome Pair!” (August 1932) shows that there is nothing quite as bad as being married to a competitive and more successful wife. The artist protagonist, however, transforms his disappointments into music just as Fitzgerald transformed his competition with Zelda into this marketable story and developed artistic rivalry into a theme in Tender is the Night.10

Another recurrent concern in stories of the later 1920s, such as “Jacob’s Ladder” (August 1927) and “At Your Age” (August 1929), as well as in Tender is the Night, is the inappropriateness of a middle-aged man’s infatuation for a young girl. Although these writings may express Fitzgerald’s response to Lois Moran, they also suggest his larger need to reevaluate his situation as an aging writer with an outdated topic in a changing market.

As early as 1920, Fitzgerald had apparently felt typecast and complained, “I’ll go mad if I have to do another debutante, which is what they want” (Letters, 145). Nevertheless, encouraged by the success of the eight Basil Duke Lee stories (1928-9) which provided an autobiographical exploration of male adolescence and earned him $31,000, Fitzgerald wrote the five Josephine Perry stories that recreated Ginevra King and that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1930 and 1931.

“Emotional Bankruptcy” (August 1931), the last of the Josephine Perry stories, may be read as Fitzgerald’s self-conscious tale about his bankruptcy as a writer. The first sentence draws attention to the perspective of the “male gaze”: “There’s that nut with the spyglass again,” says Josephine. The voyeur spies on the adolescent girls of Miss Truby’s finishing school. His perverse interest in the girls is matched by the exhibitionism of the girls, who respond with “indifference” to being watched. In fact, Josephine believes that his interest is quite normal. “They’re all the same,” she suggests. “I bet almost every man would do the same thing, if he had a telescope” (Short Stories, 546). As a writer in his thirties, still creating stories about spoiled young girls, Fitzgerald may indeed have regarded his lifelong investigation of female adolescence as inappropriate voyeurism; furthermore, the story anticipates his next novel’s experimentation with narrative perspective and its fuller treatment of America’s obsession, especially in popular film, with an erotically charged girl culture.

In “Babylon Revisited” (February 1931), Fitzgerald sought to redeem the image of the young girl by making the girl younger, purer, a symbol of regained honor. But he later explained that this, like his other last Post stories, “announced pretty much the death” of his young illusions (Letters, 588).

Although Fitzgerald called Tender is the Night (1934) “a woman’s book” (Letters, 247), Judith Fetterley correctly suggests that the novel is an indictment of “the feminization of American culture.” Nevertheless, it is an oversimplification to say that the “enemy in the text is the American woman and the text does a job on her” (Fetterley, “Who Killed,” 114), for the text also “does a job” on the American man and his role in that feminization.

The book’s leading lady is Nicole Diver, who loosely resembles Zelda and is married to the psychiatrist Dick Diver. Her foil is the younger Rosemary Hoyt, a movie star and the fictional counterpart of Lois Moran. In an experimental move, Fitzgerald framed the book by presenting the perspectives of those two female characters in two separate beach scenes, one in the opening and the other in the conclusion. In the opening scene the reader shares Rosemary’s first glimpses of the “self-sufficient little group” that centers around Dick and Nicole Diver (TITN, 16). There is a momentary suggestive exchange between Rosemary and Dick. Rosemary, the naive outsider, finds Dick “kind and charming” and hears a promise in his voice “that he would take care of her… open up whole new worlds for her” (16). By the end of the book, five years later and on the same beach, after watching with growing contempt Dick’s efforts to show off to Rosemary, Nicole finally decides to leave him and the beach “where she had played planet to Dick’s sun” (289). One of the book’s central concerns, in other words, is male performance, especially as seen and judged by women.

In a brilliant move, Fitzgerald made Dick a psychoanalyst (modernity’s version of the priest) and a writer of mediocre publications. Fitzgerald, who exchanged with Zelda’s psychiatrists lengthy letters diagnosing her case, saw himself as “somewhat of an amateur expert on the subject” of mental illness (Life in Letters, 217). Indeed, Sarah Beebe Fryer praises his characterization of Nicole for its “evident grasp of the vulnerabilities of an incest victim.” Other critics, Fryer suggests, often exaggerate Nicole’s “madness” and blame her for all of Dick’s problems when her condition should be recognized as symptomatic of her trauma (Fitzgerald’s New Woman, 72). In addition, Nicole is doubly victimized since she is betrayed by two men, first her father and then Dick, who were supposed to protect her but instead, in the name of love, abuse her.

As a psychiatrist, Dick assumes a fatherly role of trust; however, when he becomes Nicole’s lover and husband, he violates professional ethics, responding to his patient’s love transference not with objectivity but with “countertransference,” a transgressive move like the incest committed by Nicole’s actual father.11 As Richard Lehan notes, Dick’s “symbolic incest with Rosemary, an act which [further] leagues him with Devereux Warren, reveals Dick’s failure to become a responsible ‘father.’ ” The death of Dick’s own father just before Dick consummates his affair with Rosemary “symbolically parallels his [Dick’s] own loss of authority and self-discipline.”12 Dick’s fall signifies the failure of patriarchal leadership.

Dick writes pop-psychology for a lay audience rather than serious scientific studies for experts (and is thus an image of Fitzgerald’s own squandered talents). He has grown professionally “soft,” and by taking the easy way he teaches Nicole to do the same. Although she initially asks him to find meaningful work (TITN, 123), she instead turns to hedonism and defends her choice as therapy. She shops for pleasure and initiates an affair. Rejecting Victorian repression, she would rather be “a sane crook than a mad puritan” (293). In an ultimate display of her regression into a primitive stage of selfindulgence, she prefers the warrior Tommy Barban, the epitome of martial masculinity, to the sensitive but weak father-psychiatrist who “created” her.

Without acquitting Dick Diver of his responsibility, we need to recognize that Dick first meets Rosemary and Nicole when they are both young girls who wear deceptive masks of innocence and yet take the initiative in seducing him. Rosemary Hoyt’s film Daddy’s Girl with its theme of incestuous father/daughter relationships provides a central metaphor, as Ruth Prigozy demonstrates, for “the decline of a civilization which, after a bloody, disillusioning war, sought sanctuary in the nursery, free of the claims of adulthood—morality, rationality, responsibility for others.”13 Daddy’s Girl signals the ascendancy of a popular culture idealizing youth and hedonism and the decline of parental and other traditional authority.

Father figures are not the only ones held responsible for the young generation’s moral confusion. Although Rosemary regards her mother, Mrs. Elsie Speers, as “her best friend” who displays “a cheerful stoicism,” some of the mother’s guidance seems questionable and reflects the kind of aggressive male competition which her phallic name implies. Judging by Fitzgerald’s similar advice to his daughter Scottie in many of his letters, he probably thought it was good that Rosemary was “brought up to work—not especially to marry” and that she was, according to her mother, “economically… a boy, not a girl” (TITN, 40). But surely we are meant to question why her mother would allow her to catch pneumonia for the sake of a difficult shoot and especially why her mother would encourage her to pursue a married man (40). In fact, in the novel’s first draft, the figure corresponding to Rosemary was an angry young man, Francis Melarky, who was going to kill his mother. Fetterley argues that “matricidal intent” still exists in the final novel (Fetterley, “Who Killed,” 114), but it could also be argued that the book presents a eulogy on the extinction of true mothering as much as it eulogizes the passing of the father’s law.

Ultimately, both male failure and social disorder are blamed on unruly female power—in the form of either seductive child-women or mannish women. One of several assertive women in the book is Nicole’s sister Beth Evan “Baby” Warren who controls the family money which corrupts and emasculates Dick. Described as a frigid spinster, Baby is identified as the force behind America’s feminization. She is “the American Woman… the clean-sweeping irrational temper that had broken the moral back of a race and made a nursery out of a continent,” a person who wins her battles (TITN, 232).

Also embattled is Dick’s favorite patient, who imagines she is “sharing the fate of the women of my time who challenged men to battle” (184). A thirty-year-old American painter, she suffers, as Zelda did, from eczema, and sees herself as “a symbol of something” (185). Dick effectively restrains her threatening assertiveness by telling her that she is too “sick” and fragile to be an artist (183-5).

Early in the book, Nicole, Rosemary, and Mary North are presented as a “trio of women” who unlike “so many American women… were all happy to exist in a man’s world—they preserved their individuality through men and not by opposition to them” (53). Nevertheless, Mary North Minghetti and the lesbian Lady Caroline Sibly-Biers are eventually arrested for crossdressing and for trying to pick up girls (303). Perhaps to stress the danger of lost gender distinctions, Fitzgerald added two pages about a Chilean male homosexual in his revision of the serialized version for book publication (Bruccoli, Composition, 205). In an endorsement of contemporary popular views, promoted by sexologists such as Havelock Ellis, homosexuality is presented as an unnatural inversion.

In Tender is the Night, Fitzgerald expressed his uneasiness at the feminization of American culture and at the threat of emasculation posed by seductive girls as much as by masculine women. Like Carl Jung, D. H. Lawrence, and Oswald Spengler, whose theories he admired, Fitzgerald believed that men and women had complementary natures and feared that a loosening of binary gender distinctions simply encouraged each side to adopt the worst characteristics of the opposite sex (Gibbens, The Baby Vamp, 35). In his writings, “the breakdown of sexual identities is a sign of the breakdown of moral certainties” (Stern, “Tender is the Night”: The Broken Universe, 41). Thus, his works express his period’s fear that cultural feminization was a symptom of a larger disorder—the decline of the West.

Tender is the Night also reveals the inadequacy of some of the male responses to cultural feminization that were most prominent during Fitzgerald’s time. Neither the cult of masculinity (Tommy Barban) nor male expertise (Dick Diver) is depicted as an effective solution. Nevertheless, Fitzgerald’s novel reminds us that psychiatry, one new field of male expertise, had an instrumental role in the sweeping backlash that questioned women’s emancipation and reinscribed the “natural” differences between men and women which modern tendencies threatened to erase.

As a writer, Fitzgerald resented it that “women controlled] the fiction market” (Life in Letters, 107). Like other Modernist writers, he disdained the inferior literary products of this mass market. From “Head and Shoulders,” his first story in the Saturday Evening Post, to Tender is the Night, he consistently expressed his fear of being tricked into wasting his male genius in writing trash for popular magazines. It was a prostitution of his talent: “the Post now pay [sic] the old whore $4000. a screw” (Life in Letters, 169). His views on this point thus seem to confirm those literary theories which suggest that the aesthetics of High Modernism, embodying “male” values, took shape as a reaction to the aesthetics of mass culture, associated with “female” sentimentality and superficiality.14

Nevertheless, Fitzgerald’s continued popularity may be due precisely to the presence of both “female” and “male” tendencies in his works. His writings contained elements typically associated with female-dominated popular literature—romance, sentimentality, melodrama, sensationalism. Yet his works also displayed the marks of masculine Modernist art – experimental form, narrative complexity, irony, and unresolved ambiguity. In other words, his writings are strongly androgynous.

Great writers, such as William Shakespeare, often are recognized for their androgynous complexity and richness. As Carolyn G. Heilbrun explains, androgyny suggests “a full range of experience open to individuals who may, as women, be aggressive, as men, tender… without regard to propriety or custom” (Heilbrun, Toward a Recognition, x-xi). It was Fitzgerald’s American young girl with her “boyish” characteristics that helped to dismantle established concepts of male and female nature. True, the same Fitzgerald who introduced to the world this spunky young woman in defiance of old codes of morality (and created several delightfully sensitive and unconventional men) mourned the loss of those old codes, the passing of the father’s law and the consequent drifting of a feminized, emasculated world. He adhered to old values and did not acknowledge his own androgynous tendencies. Nevertheless, those very tendencies may have been the driving force that sustained his fascination with women, inspired his characterization of exceptional men and women, and allows his work to transcend its own historical contingency. As Ben Jonson said of Shakespeare, and as might be said of all great writers, Fitzgerald was the “Soul of the age” and yet “not of an age, but for all time.”15


Quotations in this chapter are from the 1995 edition of The Beautiful and Damned, the 1998 edition of The Great Gatsby, the 1995 edition of Tender is the Night, the 1995 Scribner edition of This Side of Paradise, and the Preface to the 1995 Cambridge University Press edition of This Side of Paradise. See Bibliography for details.

1 See Sarah Beebe Fryer, Fitzgerald’s New Women: Harbingers of Change and Mary A. McCay, “Fitzgerald’s Women: Beyond Winter Dreams,” 310-24.

2 See David Fedo, “Women in the Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald”; James W Tuttleton, “ ‘Combat in the Erogenous Zone’: Women in the American Novel Between the Two World Wars”; Judith Fetterley, The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction.

3 See also T. J. Jackson Lears, “From Salvation to Self-Realization: Advertising and the Therapeutic Roots of the Consumer Culture, 1880-1930.”

4 See Rayna Rapp and Ellen Ross, “The 1920s Feminism, Consumerism, and Political Backlash in the United States,” 52-61.

5 The essay is reprinted without the illustration in Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings, 391-3.

6 See Susan Beegel, “ ‘Bernice Bobs Her Hair’: Fitzgerald’s Elegy for Little Women,” in New Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Neglected Stories, ed. Jackson R. Bryer, 58.

7 See Tuttleton, “ ‘Combat in the Erogenous Zone’ ”; Fedo, “Women in the Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald.”

8 See Alice Hall Petry’s “Women’s Work: The Case of Zelda Fitzgerald,” and Anna Valdine Clemens, “Zelda Fitzgerald: An Unromantic Revision.”

9 See Ruth Prigozy, “Fitzgerald’s Short Stories and the Depression: An Artistic Crisis,” in The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Approaches in Criticism, ed. Jackson R. Bryer, 111-26.

10 See James L. W. West III, “ ‘What A Handsome Pair!’ and the Institution of Marriage,” in New Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Neglected Stories, ed. Jackson R. Bryer, 219-31.

11 See Jeffrey Berman, “Tender is the Night: Fitzgerald’s A Psychology for Psychiatrists,” in The Talking Cure: Literary Representations of Psychoanalysis, 60-86.

12 Richard Lehan, “Tender is the Night,” in “Tender is the Night”: Essays in Criticism, ed. Marvin J. LaHood, 68.

13 Ruth Prigozy, “From Griffith’s Girls to Daddy’s Girl: The Masks of Innocence in Tender is the Night,” 190.

14 For further discussion of these theories, see Andreas Huyssen, “Mass Culture as Woman: Modernism’s Other,” in After the Great Divide, 44-62; Marianne DeKoven, Rich and Strange: Gender, History, Modernism; Elaine Showalter, “The Other Lost Generation,” in Sister’s Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women’s Writing, 104-26; Suzanne Clark, Sentimental Modernism: Women Writers and the Revolution of the Word; Deborah F. Jacobs, “Feminist Criti-cism/Cultural Stuides/Modernist Texts: A Manifesto for the ’90s”; David Minter, “The Fear of Feminization and the Logic of Modest Ambition,” in A Cultural History of the American Novel: Henry James to William Faulkner, 117-24; Rita Felski, The Gendering of Modernity; Guy Reynolds, Willa Cather in Context: Progress, Race, Empire; Frances Kerr, “Feeling ‘Half Feminine’: Modernism and the Politics of Emotion in The Great Gatsby”; Michael Nowlin, “ ‘The World’s Rarest Work’: Modernism and Masculinity in Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.”

15 From Ben Jonson, “To the Memory of My Beloved, The Author, Mr. William Shakespeare, And What He Hath Left Us”, in Poems, ed. Ian Donaldson, 308, line 17; 309, line 43.


AA Afternoon of An Author

ATSYM All the Sad Young Men

B&D The Beautiful and Damned

B&J The Basil and Josephine Stories

F&P Flappers and Philosophers

GG The Great Gatsby

LT The Last Tycoon

LOTLT Love of the Last Tycoon

PH The Pat Hobby Stories

TJA Tales of the Jazz Age

TITN Tender is the Night

TSOP This Side of Paradise

Apprentice Fiction The Apprentice Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald (ed. Kuehl)

As Ever, Scott Fitz As Ever, Scott Fitz: Letters Between F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Literary Agent, Harold Ober 1919-1940 (ed. Bruccoli and McCabe Atkinson)

Bits Bits of Paradise

Correspondence The Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald (ed. Bruccoli and Duggan)

Crack-Up The Crack-Up (ed. Wilson)

Dear Scott/Dear Max Dear Scott/Dear Max: The Fitzgerald-Perkins Correspondence (ed. Kuehl and Bryer)

Ledger F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Ledger (ed. Bruccoli)

Letters The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald (ed. Turnbull)

Life in Letters  F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters (ed. Bruccoli)

Notebooks The Notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald (ed. Bruccoli)

Price The Price Was High: The Last Uncollected Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (ed. Bruccoli)

Short Stories The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A New Collection (ed. Bruccoli)

Stories The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald


Rena Sanderson is Associate Professor of English at Boise State University, Idaho. She edited Blowing the Bridge: Essays on Hemingway and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1992), and she has published several studies of Hemingway including “Hemingway and Gender History,” a chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Ernest Hemingway.

Published in The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald edited by Ruth Prigozy (Cambridge University Press 2002).