Fitzgerald's magnum opus set on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald brilliantly captures both the disillusion of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. But he does more than render the essence of a particular time and place, for in chronicling Gatsby’s tragic pursuit of his dream, Fitzgerald recreates the universal conflict between illusion and reality.
#50 in ABC My Favourite Book
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University, which he left in 1917 to join the army. He was said to have epitomized the Jazz Age, which he himself defined as 'a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their traumatic marriage and her subsequent breakdowns became the leading influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work); six volumes of short stories and The Crack Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces.
Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a 'generation'. . . he might have interpreted and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'