F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Jazz Age”

Many years ago, I was talking to a gentleman who, like myself, took great pleasure in reading amazing authors. I mentioned that, in my opinion, F. Scott Fitzgerald never fully reached the total potential he was capable of achieving. To me, despite the brilliance of “Gatsby,” I always found something lacking in his works, a tragic flaw, a missing something that would have made so many more of his works comparable to Gatsby. Maybe, he should have practiced more self control, a little less partying and a greater dedication to his work.

The gentleman looked up at me and replied, “Most writers are lucky if they are able to write one great paragraph during their lifetimes. Fitzgerald wrote two great books, ‘Gatsby and Tender is the Night.’
Maybe more writers, should do a little more partying and not take themselves so serious.”

“The Jazz Age” was given to me as a gift quite a few years ago. I remember looking through it, but never reading the entire book. In a sense, I now wish I never picked it up again and read the entire book. It is a collection of autobiographical pieces that is poorly put together, like a disorganized diary, and it left me feeling empty and sorry for Mr Fitzgerald. It taught me nothing about “The Jazz Age” that I didn’t already know and it sadly re-enforced my notion of Fitzgerald as a tragic figure.

Yet, like always there was a touch of genius in the collection, that reminded me of “The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night.” In closing this amazingly gifted artist writes, “It was not Monte Carlo I was looking at. It was back into the mind of the young man with cardboard soles who had walked the streets of New York. I was him again-for an instant I had the good fortune to share his dreams, I who had no more dreams of my own.” (less)

 

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