Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Birthday F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)!

Today would have been F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 113st birthday. Fitzgerald is widely known for his quintessentially American novels including The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise and Tender is the Night. His novels depict life in the post World War I Jazz age. Fitzgerald is also known for being among a group of Americans who remained in Paris after the war. Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein are just a few of the writers who made up this rich ex-pat social life abroad. Outside of his rich social life, there was sadness in Fitzgerald’s life that ultimately ended up in his novels. He battled alcoholism and dealt with the emerging mental illness of his wife, Zelda. He ultimately ended his days working in Hollywood as a screenwriter. While I don’t know anything about whatever screenplays he worked on, I don’t think anyone could deny the enduring beauty of his prose. In honor of Fitzgerald’s birthday, here is the concluding paragraph from The Great Gatsby that speaks both to the power of the American dream and Fitzgerald’s talent as a writer:

And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning –

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

For more information on F. Scott Fitzgerald check out the Library of Congress.

[Image via ExquisitelyBored]

No comments:

Post a Comment