General Plan for Tender is the Night
by F. Scott Fitzgerald


The novel should do this. Show a man who is a natural idealist, a spoiled priest, giving in for various causes to the ideas of the haute Burgeoise, and in his rise to the top of the social world losing his idealism, his talent and turning to drinkand dissipation. Background one in which the Mesure class is at their truly most brilliant & glamorous such as Murphys.


The hero born in 1891 is a man like myself brought up in a family sunk from haute burgeoisie to petit burgeoisie, yet expensively educated. He has all the gifts, and goes through Yale almost succeeding but not quite but getting a Rhodes scholarship which he caps with a degree from Hopkins, & with a legacy goes abroad to study psychology in Zurich. At the age of 26 all seems bright. Then he falls in love with one of his patients who has a curious homicidal mania toward men caused by an event of her youth. Aside from this she is the legendary promiscuous woman. He “transfers” to himself & she falls in love with him, a love he returns.

After a year of non-active service in the war he returns and marries her & is madly in love with her & entirely consecrated to completing the cure. She is an aristocrat of half American, half European parentage, young, mysterious & lovely, a new character. He has cured her by pretending to a stability & belief in the current order he does not have, being in fact a communist—liberal—idealist, a moralist in revolt. But the years of living under patronage ect. & among the burgeoise have seriously spoiled him and he takes up the marriage as a man divided in himself. During the war he has taken to drink a little & it continues as secret drinking after his marriage. The difficulty of taking care of her is more than he has imagined and he goes more and more to pieces, always keeping up a wonderful face.

At the point when he is socially the most charming and inwardly corrupt he meets a young actress on the Rivierra who falls in love with him. With considerable difficulty he contains himself out of fear of all it would entail since his formal goodness is all that is holding his disintegration together. He knows too that he does not love her as he has loved his wife. Nevertheless the effect of the repression is tothrow him toward all women during his secret drinking when he has another life of his own which his wife does not suspect, or at least he thinks she doesn’t. On one of his absences during which he is in Rome with the actress having a disappointing love affair too late he is beaten up by the police. He returns to find that instead of taking a rest cure she has committed a murder and in a revulsion of spirit he tries to conceal it and succeeds. It shows him however that the game is up and he will have to perform some violent & Byronic act to save her for he is losing his hold on her & himself.

He has known slightly for some time a very strong & magnetic man and now he deliberately brings them together. When he finds under circumstances of jealous agony that it has succeeded he departs knowing that he has cured her. He sends his neglected son into Soviet Russia to educate him and comes back to America to be a quack thus having accomplished both his burgeoise sentimental idea in the case of his wife and his ideals in the case of his son, & now being himself only a shell to which nothing matters but survival as long as possible with the old order.

(Further sketch) Approach

The Drunkard’s Holiday will be a novel of our time showing the break up of a fine personality. Unlike The Beautiful and Damned the break-up will be caused not by flabbiness but really tragic forces such as the inner conflicts of the idealist and the compromises forced upon him by circumstances.

The novel will be a little over a hundred thousand words long, composed of fourteen chapters, each 7,500 words long, five chapters each in the first and second part, four in the third—one chapter or its equivalent to be composed of retrospect.


The hero was born in 1891. He is a well-formed rather athletic and fine looking fellow. Also he is very intelligent,widely read—in fact he has all the talents, including especially great personal charm. This is all planted in the beginning. He is a superman in possibilities, that is, he appears to be at first sight from a burgeoise point of view. However he lacks that tensile strength—none of the ruggedness of Brancusi, Léger, Picasso. For his external qualities use anything of Gerald, Ernest, Ben Finny Archie Mcliesh, Charley McArthur or myself. He looks, though, like me.

The faults—the weakness such as the social-climbing, the drinking, the desperate clinging to one woman, finally the neurosis, only come out gradually.

We follow him from age 34 to age 39.


The actress was born in 1908. Her career is like Lois or Mary Hag—that is, she differs from most actresses by being a lady, simply reeking of vitality, health, sensuality. Rather gross as compared to the heroine, or rather will be gross for at present her youth covers it. …

We see her first at the very beginning of her career. She’s already made one big picture.

We follow her from age 17 to age 22.


The Friend was born in 1896. He is a wild man. He looks like Tunte and like that dark communist at the meeting. He is half Italian or French & half American. He is a type who hates all sham & pretense. (See the Lung type who was like Foss Wilson) He is one who would lead tribesmen or communists—utterly aristocratic, unbourgeoise king or nothing. He fought three years in the French foriegn legion in the war and then painted a little and then fought the Riff. He’s just back from there on his first appearance in the novel and seeking a new outlet. He has money & this French training—otherwise he would be a revolutionist. He is a fine type, useful or destructive but his mind is not quite as good as the hero’s. Touch of Percy Pyne, Denny Holden also.

We see him from age 28 to age 33.

actual age of






Entered Yale



Graduated Yale aged 20



Graduated Hopkins. Left for Vienna (8 mo. there)



Was in Zurich after 1 year and other work. Age 26



Degree at Zurich. Aged 26



Back in Zurich. Aged 27



Married—aged 28 after his refusing fellowship at University in neurology and pathologist to the clinic. Or does he accept?



After 5 years and 10 months of marriage is aged almost 34

Story starts



After 9 years and 10 months of marriage is aged almost 38.


Nicole’s age

Always one year younger than century.

Born July 1901 - courtship for two and one half years before that, since she was 13.

Catastrophe June 1917 Age almost 16

ClinicFebruary, 1918 Age 17

To middle October bad period

After armistice good period

He returns in April or May 1919

She discharged June 1, 1919. Almost 18

Married September 1919. Aged 18

Child born August 1920

Child born June 1922

2nd Pousse almost immediately to October  1922 and thereafter

Frenchman (or what have you in summer of 1923 after almost 4 years of marriage.

In July 1925 when the story opens she is just 24

One child almost 5 (Scotty in Juan les Pins)

One child 3 (Scotty in Pincio)

In July 1929 when the story ends she is just 28

The heroine was born in 1901. She is beautiful on the order of Marlene Dietrich or better still the Norah Gregor-Kiki Allen girl with those peculiar eyes. She is American with a streak of some foreign blood. At fifteen she was raped by her own father under peculiar circumstances—work out. She collapses, goes to the clinic and there at sixteen meets the young doctor hero who is ten years older. Only her transference to him saves her—when it is not working she reverts to homicidal mania and tries to kill men. She is an innocent, widely read but with no experience and no orientation except what he supplies her. Portrait of Zelda—that is, a part of Zelda.

We follow her from age 24 to age 29


Method of Dealing with Sickness Material

(1) Read books and decide the general type of case

(2) Prepare a clinical report covering the y ears 1916-1920

(3) Now examine the different classes of material selecting not too many things for copying.

(1) From the sort of letter under E

(2) From the sort of letter under F

(In this case using no factual stuff)

(3) From the other headings for atmosphere, accuracy and material being careful not to reveal basic ignorance of psychiatric and medical training yet not being glib. Only suggest from the most remote facts. Not like doctor’s stories.

Must avoid Faulkner attitude and not end with a novelized Kraft-Ebing—better Ophelia and her flowers.

Classification of the Material on Sickness

A.  Accounts
B. Baltimore
C. Clinics and clipping
D. Dancing and 1st Diagnoses
E. Early Prangins—to February 1931
F. From Forel (include Eleuler Consultation)
H. Hollywood
L. Late Prangins
M. My own letters and comments …

Both the content and the handwriting show that the following outline of Fart Three was written later than the main sketch and at least some of the character sketches which are printed above.

11,000 Summary of Part III (1st half)

The Divers, as a marriage are at the end of their rescourses. Medically Nicole is nearly cured but Dick has given out & is sinking toward alcoholism and discouragement. It seems as if the completion of his ruination will be the fact that cures her—almost mystically. However this is merely hinted at. Dick is still in controll of the situation and thinks of the matter practically. They must separate for both thier sakes. In wild bitterness he thinks of one tragic idea but controlls himself and manages a saner one instead.

His hold is broken, the transference is broken. He goes away. He has been used by the rich family and cast aside.

Part III is as much as possible seen through Nicole’s eyes. All Dick’s stories such as are absolutely necessary: Edwardo, father, auto catastrophe (child’s eyes perhaps), Struppen quarrel?, girls on Rivierra, must be told without putting in his reactions or feelings. From now on he is mystery man, at least to Nicole with her guessing at the mystery.

Note by A. Mizener:

These notes connected with the planning of Tender Is the Night were together among Fitzgerald’s papers. The evidence seems to suggest that all of them except the “Summary of Part IIIwere written at the same time and that this summary was made when Fitzgerald got to the writing of the last section of the book. None of this material is dated, so that it is only a guess, based on internal evidence, that the main outline of the story and the character sketches were 7nade at La Faix in 1932, when, for the last time, he started over again to write the book. The differences between this outline and the novel as Fitzgerald actually wrote itparticularly the book’s failure to follow the outline’s suggestions about Dick’s sympathy with the Soviet Unionft the changes in Fitzgerald’s attitude during this period. The “Summary of Part III,” on the other hand, fits the book fairly closely.

Published in The Far Side of Paradise (Appendix B), by A. Mizener.