Writer Wednesday: F. Scott Fitzgerald and This Side of Paradise


On Writer Wednesday, I write about another author and his or her book.

F. Scott Fitzgerald continues to be widely read, nearly a century after his work was published. Although many know him for The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise was his debut. Having read both, I prefer This Side of Paradise. Wit, humor, philosophy, musing, and beautiful passages marks the life of Amory as he journeys from school days to college to life beyond. It is said to be partially based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life and was written when the author was twenty-three. It also purportedly is what enticed Zelda to marry him, when he secured the funding for their marriage from the publisher who agreed to publish this work.

It is commentary on the twenties, but also on life. It is innovative in its story. One particular character who lives her life as an actress, in that she is always acting at what she really wants, is presented through a section written as a play. The rest of the story is told in narrative, but the flavor of that character is best presented through a play and so that is what emerges. Also interesting to note, since this is the centenary of the beginning of WWI, Amory and several of his college friends are in fact in WWI. Strangely (to me), the war didn’t much affect the characters. F. Scott even comments on how it did not. In F. Scott’s real life, war did in fact greatly impact him as he left Princeton to join the army in 1917. In order to ensure that his literary ambitions were protected, before shipping out, he penned The Romantic Egotist. This work was rejected by a publisher, but it is a portion of This Side of Paradise.

Which work by F. Scott Fitzgerald do you most enjoy?
Join me next Wednesday, when I discuss another classic literary debut!

My best to you all,

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