Fitzgerald: My Lost City: Personal Essays, 1920-1940

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 8, 2005 - Fiction - 340 pages
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Twice during the last decade of his life, in 1934 and 1936, F. Scott Fitzgerald proposed a collection of his personal essays to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Charles Scribner's Sons. Perkins was unenthusiastic on both occasions, and Fitzgerald died in 1940 without having put his best essays between hard covers. Fortunately Fitzgerald left behind a table of contents, and with this list as a guide it has been possible to publish here the collection that he envisioned, under the title My Lost City. This volume also includes several of Fitzgerald's autobiographical writings. My Lost City, like the other volumes in the Cambridge Edition, provides accurate texts based on Fitzgerald's surviving manuscripts and typescripts. Words and passages cut by magazine editors have been restored to several of the essays. A textual apparatus has been included, along with full explanatory notes identifying people, places, books, historical events, and other details.
 

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Contents

Whos Who and Why 1920
3
Princeton 1927
6
What I Think and Feel at 25 1924
16
How to Live on 36000 a Year 1924
27
How to Live on Practically Nothing a Year 1924
40
Imagination and a Few Mothers 1923
58
Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own 1924
66
How to Waste Material 1926
77
Pasting It Together 1936
145
Handle with Care 1936
150
Auction Model 1934 1934
157
Sleeping and Waking 1934
163
Authors House 1936
168
Afternoon of an Author 1936
175
An Authors Mother 1936
181
Early Success 1937
185

One Hundred False Starts 1933
82
Ring 1933
91
A Short Autobiography 1929
97
Girls Believe in Girls 1930
100
My Lost City 19351940
106
Show Mr and Mrs F to Number 1934
116
Echoes of the Jazz Age 1931
130
The CrackUp 1936
139
My Generation 1939
192
Record of variants
199
Explanatory notes
221
Illustrations
295
Show Mr and Mrs F to Number
301
Publication and earnings
339
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

F(rancis) Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896. He was educated at Princeton University and served in the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919, attaining the rank of second lieutenant. In 1920 Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre, a young woman of the upper class, and they had a daughter, Frances. Fitzgerald is regarded as one of the finest American writers of the 20th Century. His most notable work was the novel, The Great Gatsby (1925). The novel focused on the themes of the Roaring Twenties and of the loss of innocence and ethics among the nouveau riche. He also made many contributions to American literature in the form of short stories, plays, poetry, music, and letters. Ernest Hemingway, who was greatly influenced by Fitzgerald's short stories, wrote that Fitzgerald's talent was "as fine as the dust on a butterfly's wing." Yet during his lifetime Fitzgerald never had a bestselling novel and, toward the end of his life, he worked sporadically as a screenwriter at motion picture studios in Los Angeles. There he contributed to scripts for such popular films as Winter Carnival and Gone with the Wind. Fitzgerald's work is inseparable from the Roaring 20s. Berenice Bobs Her Hair and A Diamond As Big As The Ritz, are two short stories included in his collections, Tales of the Jazz Age and Flappers and Philosophers. His first novel The Beautiful and Damned was flawed but set up Fitzgerald's major themes of the fleeting nature of youthfulness and innocence, unattainable love, and middle-class aspiration for wealth and respectability, derived from his own courtship of Zelda. This Side of Paradise (1920) was Fitzgerald's first unqualified success. Tender Is the Night, a mature look at the excesses of the exuberant 20s, was published in 1934. Much of Fitzgerald's work has been adapted for film, including Tender is the Night , The Great Gatsby, and Babylon Revisited which was adapted as The Last Time I Saw Paris by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1954. The Last Tycoon, adapted by Paramount in 1976, was a work in progress when Fitzgerald died of a heart attack on December 21, 1940, in Hollywood, California. Fitzgerald is buried in the historic St. Mary's Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland.

James L. W. West III is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University.

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