F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Laocoön
by Robert Sklar


A book is both a solitary and a communal enterprise. It is a pleasure to record the names of those who have personally or intellectually shared in making this one. With all other students of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I am indebted to the biographical researches of Arthur Mizener, Henry Dan Piper, and Andrew Turnbull; among earlier critical studies on Fitzgerald, I have been particularly aided by the work of James E. Miller, Jr., and Matthew J. Bruccoli. Alexander P. Clark, Curator of Manuscripts, greatly assisted me on several visits to the Fitzgerald collection at the Princeton University Library. I am also indebted to Mrs. Neda M. Westlake and Lyman W. Riley in using manuscript collections at the University of Pennsylvania Library, and to Richard Hart and Betty Adler for their help at the H. L. Mencken Room, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore.

Kenneth S. Lynn and Frank B. Freidel encouraged the project from an early stage and gave me valuable advice and criticism on the manuscript at many points. William W. Freehling and Sally Steinberg read portions of the manuscript, and their criticisms of style and conception have significantly helped me. Whitney Blake and Mary Ollmann of Oxford University Press made many valuable suggestions and improvements in the text. Penny Gottlieb assisted me greatly in the final work of preparing the manuscript, and Judith Reynolds in compiling the index. Mrs. Linda Marshall, Mrs. Dorothy Foster, and Mrs. Esther Rentschler typed the manuscript. A grant from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, enabled me to begin the project, and a grant from the Faculty Research Fund of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies of The University of Michigan helped me to complete it. My wife, Kathryn Kish Sklar, has given this book on every page the imprint of her exceptional editorial skill and critical judgment.

For permission to quote from the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald I am grateful to Charles Scribner's Sons and The Bodley Head, Ltd., for works published by them; New Directions for The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, copyright 1945 by New Directions, reprinted by permission of the publisher; Random House, Inc., for the preface to The Great Gatsby, Modern Library Edition, copyright 1934 by The Modern Library, Inc.; and Harold Ober Associates, Inc., for all other published and unpublished writings.

For permission to quote from copyrighted works of authors other than Fitzgerald I have to thank the following: Doubleday & Company, Inc., for The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche and A Parody Outline of American History by Donald Ogden Stewart; E. P. Dutton Co., Inc., for The Ordeal of Mark Twain by Van Wyck Brooks and Salt by Charles G. Norris; Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., for Dickens, Dali and Others by George Orwell; Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., for Seventeen by Booth Tarkington; The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press for John Keats by Walter Jackson Bate; Houghton Mifflin Company for The Far Side of Paradise by Arthur Mizener; Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., for William Faulkner by Irving Howe, The Letters of H. L. Mencken edited by Guy Forgue, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, translator H. T. Lowe-Porter, and The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler, translator Charles Francis Atkinson; J. B. Lippincott Company for Booth Tarkington, Gentleman from Indiana by James Woodress and Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place by Malcolm Lowry; The Macmillan Company for A Vision by William Butler Yeats, copyright 1938; The New Republic for “This Side of Paradise” by R.V.A.S., reprinted by permission of The New Republic, 1920, Harrison-Blaine of N.J. Inc.; the New York Post for “Flappers and Philosophers” and “The Rag-Bag of the Soul” by Edmund Wilson, Jr., reprinted by permission of the New York Post, copyright 1920 and 1922 by the New York Evening Post; The New York Times for “With College Men,” “The Beautiful and Damned” by Louise Maunsell Field, and “Scott Fitzgerald's Return to the Novel” by J. Donald Adams, copyright 1920, 1922, and 1934 by The New York Times Company, reprinted by permission; Random House, Inc., for The Papers of Christian Gauss edited by Katherine Gauss Jackson and Hiram Haydn, copyright 1957 by Random House, Inc., and The Poetry of Experience by Robert Langbaum, copyright 1957 by Robert Langbaum; Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. for Psychological Types by C. G. Jung; Charles Scribner's Sons for Of Making Many Books by Roger Burlingame, The End of a Chapter and The Celt and the World by Shane Leslie, and Editor to Author: The Letters of Maxwell E. Perkins edited by John Hall Wheelock; The Viking Press, Inc. for Beyond Culture by Lionel Trilling, copyright 1965 by Lionel Trilling, and Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious and Fantasia of the Unconscious by D. H. Lawrence, copyright 1921, 1922 by Thomas B. Seltzer, Inc., 1948, 1949 by Frieda Lawrence, 1960 by The Viking Press, Inc. Reprinted by permission of The Viking Press, Inc.

Note: a complete list of Fitzgerald's published writing may be found in Henry Dan Piper, “F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Checklist,” The Princeton University Library Chronicle, XII (Summer 1951), pp. 196-208, and a comprehensive list of criticism on Fitzgerald (through 1962) in Jackson R. Bryer, “F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Critics: A Bibliographical Record,” Bulletin of Bibliography, XXIII (January-April 1962), pp. 155-8; (May-August 1962), pp. 180-83; (September-December 1962), pp. 201-8. The practice has been followed, in quoting in the text from Fitzgerald's published and unpublished writing, of silently correcting typographical and other minor errors, which, if allowed to remain, only distract attention from primary considerations.

Next: Chapter 1

Published in F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Laocoon by Robert Sklar (New York: Oxford Up, 1967).