The Notebooks
of F. Scott Fitzgerald

(L) Literary


Charles Brackett’s Book

It was wonderful. I couldn’t lay it down, was impelled on the contrary to hurry through it. In fact I finished it six and a half minutes while getting shaved in the Continental Hotel. It is what we call a book written at a fine pace as for the high spots there are so many that it is difficult to pick them but I could select.


Nothing is any more permitted in fiction like stage convention of keeping people on stage by coincidences.


Edgar Wallace—G. A. Henty


Long rhythm based on Essie’s full excuse and thank you to Aquilla’s I mean.


Barnaby Rudge ran in Sat Eve Post


Must listen for conversation style a la Joyce


Livid   ]   all misused
Demean   ]
Jejune   ]


In a transition from say:
fight or action interest to love and woman interest
The transition cannot be abrupt. The man must be before or after an event to be interested in women; that is, if he is a man and not a weakwad.
Fault in transition in Musa Dag book. After battle right to Julia. Sometimes clumsy. Better an interval. You cannot tie two so different masculine emotions by the same thread.


Nevertheless value of Ernest’s feeling about the pure heart when writing—in other words the comparatively pure heart, the “house in order.”


Zelda’s style formed on her letters to her mother—an attempt to make visual etc.


T. S. P. A Romance and a Reading List
Sun also Rises. A Romance and a Guide Book


The only reason the artist’s judgment is better is because his reason, if it is really for his work, is his opinion on the various top swayings of men and ideas is less disinterested than any other people’s reason for unlike the philosophers he can at any point discountenance the whole method of his reasoning unlike the scientist he can claim being closer to nature. He reverts again and again to martyr and clown. Not apropos consider Shaw and The Bohemian Mrs. Swann and Co.


Cisebeo for gigolo.


Resent the attempt of the boys and girls who tried to bury me before I was dead.


Books are like brothers. I am an only child. Gatsby my imaginary eldest brother, Amory my younger, Anthony my worry. Dick my comparatively good brother but all of them far from home. When I have the courage to put the old white light on the home of my heart, then—


Stuf about Grande Guignol (serious).


Shakespeare—whetting, frustrating, surprising and gratifying.


Forebearance, good word.


I can never remember the times when I wrote anything—This Side of Paradise time or Beautiful and Damned and Gatsby time for instance. Lived in story.


Idea for an essay on the “Lilies that fester,” sonnet.


That Willa Cather’s poem shall stand at beginning of Mediaval and that it shall be the story of Ernest.


What are successful backgrounds now-a-days—think— Coquette?


Shows in which you forget background, remember no help from description. Gas stations is the type.


Just as Stendahl’s portrait of a Byronic man made Le Rouge et Noir so couldn’t my portrait of Ernest as Phillipe make the real modern man.


But there was one consolation:
They could never use any of Mr. Hemingway’s four letter words, because that was for fourth class and fourth class has been abolished—
(The first class was allowed to cheat a little on the matter.)
But on the other hand they could never use any two letter words like NO. They had to use three letter words like YES!


A character who spends all his time trying to break down a stray and careless aphorisms of great men. Give him a name and list him under characters and note aphorisms as they pop up in reading.


There never was a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn’t be. He is too many people if he’s any good.


Robert (“Gastric”) Forsite (Kyle Creighton)


The great hitch hike to glory that’s going to make them good artisans—able to repair the car much in the manner of the cars in this jacket freize.


And such condescension toward the creative life— Tolstoi caught the sense of the Napoleonic wars out in the street from the man in the street; his comments on fiction which would make any old 1864 copy of Leslie’s more humanly valuable than The Red Badge of Courage—the idealization of all that passes through his empty mind; his hatred of all people who formed the world in which he lives—a political Oscar Wilde peddling in the provinces the plums he took from our pudding; his role of Jesus cursing. You can see him going from prize fight to first night to baseball game-maybe even to women—trying to put back into movement the very things Lenin regretted that he might have destroyed—gracelessness and ugliness for its own sake. Gentlemen, proletarians—for a prize skunk I give you Mr. Forsite.


D. H. Lawrence great attempt to synthesize animal and emotional—things he left out. Essential pre-Marxian. Just as I am essentially Marxian.


She had written a book about optimism called Wake up and Dream which had the beautiful rusty glow of a convenient half-truth—a book that left out illness and death, war, insanity, and all measure of achievement, with titillating comfortability. She had also written a wretched novel and a subsequent volume telling her friends how to write fiction, so she was on her way to being a prophet in the great American Tradition.


When Whitman said “Oh Pioneers” he said all.


Byron’s mountains warm.


Didn’t Hemmingway say this in effect:
If Tom Wolfe ever learns to separate what he gets from books from what he gets from life he will be an original. All you can get from books is rhythm and technique. He’s half-grown artistically—this is truer than what Ernest said about him. But when I’ve criticized him (several times in talk) I’ve felt bad afterwards. Putting sharp weapons in the hands of his inferiors.


Reporting the extreme things as if they were the average things will start you on the art of fiction.


“Inviscera” instead of “Invictus.”


Work out my hard luck season—my most productive seasons, etc


Conrad’s secret theory examined.
He knew that things do transpire about people. Therefore he wrote the truth and transposed it to parallel to give that quality, adding confusion however to his structure. Nevertheless there is in his scheme a desire to imitate life which is in all the big shots. Have I such an idea in the composition of this book?


Conrad influenced by Man Without a Country


Gene Stratton-Porter. What a cheap old harpy she was. If Frank Norris had written one more chapter to the Octupus she’d have had one more novel.


No English painting because of their putting everything into words.


Bracket Book (See Notes) Merde
Couchez avec
Ass (for arse)


List of Zelda’s faults and virtues as a writer.


Chapter in slow motion.


Right to Pretty heroines


Exact equivalent of escape mechanism in Little Colonel books is in escape mechanism of Greta Garbo films.


Tie up with Faulkner—Lord Fauntleroy.


Art invariably grows out of a period when in general the artist admires his own nation and wants to win its approval. This fact is not altered by the circumstances that his work may take the form of satire for satire is the subtle flattery of a certain minority in a nation. The greatest artists grow out of these periods as the tall head of the crop. They may seem not to be affected but they are.


Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art.


Tarkington: I have a horror of going into a personal debauch and coming out of it devitalized with no interest except an acute observation of the behavior of colored people, children and dogs.


The queer slanting effect of the substantive, the future imperfect, a matter of intuition or ear to O’Hara, is unknown to careful writers like Bunny and John.


My feelings on re-reading “Imagination and a Few Mothers” and realizing that it had probably influenced Mrs. Swann’s whole life.


I thought Waldo Frank was just the pen name that a whole lot of other writers used for symposiums.


When the first rate author wants an exquisite heroine or a lovely morning, he finds that all the superlatives have been worn shoddy by his inferiors. It should be a rule that bad writers must start with plain heroines and ordinary mornings, and, if they are able, work up to something better.


Man reads good reviews of his book so many times that he begins finally to remodel his style on them and use their rhythms.


Realistic details like Dostoiefski glasses


Re Cole Porter: vide the ending of Mrs. Lowseboro
Something which does not bother even to be a paraphrase of Tchaikowski’s Chanson Triste


The scandal of “English Teaching”.


The Thackeray at Edward Everett Horton’s.


The two basic stories of all times are Cinderella and Jack the Giant Killer—the charm of women and the courage of men. The 19th century glorified the merchant’s cowardly son. Now a reaction.


Taking things hard—from Genevra to Joe Mank—: That’s stamp that goes into my books so that people can read it blind like brail.


The Steinbeck scene. Out of touch with that life. The exact observation there.


Bunny Wilson writing his Renan before Christ is deified.


Analysis of Tender:
I Case History 151-212 (1 pps.(change moon) p.212
II Rosemary’s Angle 3-104 101 pps. P.3
III Casualties 104-148,213-224 55 pps.(-2)(120 & 121)
IV Escape 225-306 82 pps.
V The Way Home 306-408 103 pps.(-8)(332-341)


To write a series of children’s books illustrated by someone like Job or Orgeille.


The episodic book, (Dos P. + Romaine etc.) may be wonderful, but the fact remains that it is episodic, and and such definition implies a limitation. You are with the character until the author gets tired of him—then you leave him for a while. In the true novel, you have to stay with the character all the time, and you acquire a sort of second wind about him, a depth of realization.


In a short story, you have only so much money to buy just one costume. Not the parts of many. One mistake in the shoes or tie, and you’re gone.


Play—For Act II. Something happens that to audience, changes entire situation, such as significant suitcase to country, or old terror apparently buried in Act I.

Next: M: Moments (What people do).

Переводы: L: Литературные заметки (разные переводчики).