The Lion’s Cage
by J. V. A. W.

I hadn’t seen Scott Fitzgerald in over a year. He sat at a table in Delmonico's, and his conversation was mostly concentrated upon somewhat excited anticipation of his wife’s arrival on the party. She was three minutes late and he wanted to dance with her. He did stop worrying long enough to tell me how pleased he was that I hadn't lost any of my faith in his writings and his gratification that I hadn't disliked “The Beautiful and Damned.”

In appearance he had not changed one whit. In fact, the sparkling blue eyes and his almost cherubic features and the thatch of curly, canary-colored hair, sliced carefully in the middle, answered fully the description of an intrinsically sweet little boy trying desperately to be naughty,” which one of his companions had given me two years ago, and the describer had not seen him since Scott's junior year in Princeton.

“A baby with rouged lips.” Neyra McMein is reported to have called him. That is not quite just, for Fitzgerald is a person to be taken seriously, whether he wishes it or not. And I can’t make out whether or no he does take himself very seriously. There is certainly no pomposity or air of dignified authority about him. I think he realizes that the role of commentator and Isaac concerning the Younger Generation (of humans, not of writers, which has somehow been thrust upon him is quite accidental. I have no idea that he started out with the slightest intention of being the authority on contemporary juvenilia, ethics and habits. I believe he merely wanted to write a good story, which would be realistic, and he used for his characters and their settings the persons and scenes most familiar to him

John Peale Bishop, who knows him well, called my attention to his flair for burlesque and satiric work, and prophesies that it is in the field or brilliant satire that Fitzgerald will eventually make vital contributions to American literature.

This appears to be a sound and striking analysis. Already Fitzgerald is near the completion of a fantastic comedy, in which satire and burlesque have a large part; and, from description, the play is going to be a knock-out. He is also contemplating a satiric movie concerning what used to be known as the flapper before that term lost much of its meaning through injudicious use by commentators bent on exploitation.

Don't let anybody lead you astray about Francis Scott Fitzgerald. One hears on many sides gossip and criticism by persons who are jealous, envious or extremely unperceptive. Meanwhile, Fitzgerald goes right ahead: his gusto and enthusiasm are undimmed and his technique is improving. Just remember he's only 25, has been unceasingly before the public for two years and has made a success which his detractors would give their eye-teen to duplicate.

And all the while he is a somewhat wistful, very sensitive, impulsive, attractive young man, not half as spoiled as it would be reasonable to believe.

Published in Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper (25 March 1922).