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F. Scott Fitzgerald
American novelist
(1896-1940)



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An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever after.
-- Letter to Booksellers' Convention, April 1920; published in: Andrew Turnbull, ed., Selected Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1963).

The Beautiful and the Damned
-- Book title (1922)

One of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterwards savors of anti-climax.
-- Speaking to Tom Buchanan, in: The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 1

In his blue gardens, men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 3

I have been drunk for about a week now.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 3

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 4

Reach me a rose, honey, and pour me a last drop into that there crystal glass.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 4

Her voice is full of money.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 7

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 9

And as the moon rose higher he unessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailor's eyes -- a fresh, green breat of the new world... For a transitory enchanted moment man must have held hsi breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation that he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for woder.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 9

Gatsy believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter -- to-morrow we will run faster, stretch our arms further... And one fine morning... So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
-- The Great Gatsby (1925), ch. 9, final sentences

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.
-- All the Sad Young Men (1926), 'Rich Boy'. [Ernest Hemingway later replied to this observation by saying: 'Yes, they have more money'. See: Esquire, August 1936, 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro'.]

Though the Jazz Age continued, it became less and less an affair of youth. The sequel was like a children's party taken over by elders.
-- 'Echoes of the Jazz Age' (1931), in: The Crack-Up with Other Uncollected Pieces, Note-Books, and Unpublished Letters, Edmund Wilson, ed. (1945).

Tender is the Night
-- Book title (1934). The title is drawn from 'Ode to a Nightingale' by John Keats (line 35): 'Already with thee! tender is the night'.

See that little stream -- we could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a month to walk it -- a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind. And another empire walked very slowly backward a few inches a day, leaving the dead like a million bloody rags.
-- Tender is the Night (1934)

When people are taken out of their depths they lose their heads, no matter how charming a bluff they may put up.
-- Tender is the Night (1934)

Your life has been a disappointment, as mine has been too. But we haven't gone through this sweat for nothing.
-- Letter to his wife, Zelda, 6 October 1939; published in: Andrew Turnbull, ed., Selected Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1963).

One girl can be pretty -- but a dozen are only a chorus.
-- The Last Tycoon (1941)

All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
-- Letter (undated) to his daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald; published in: The Crack-Up with Other Uncollected Pieces, Note-Books, and Unpublished Letters, Edmund Wilson, ed. (1945)

About F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was an alcoholic, a spendthrift and a superstar playboy possessed of a beauty and a glamour that only a Byron could support without artistic ruination.
-- Anthony Burgess, Observer, London, 7 February 1982

The Fitzgeralds never got around to seeing the sights because, as Jazz Age celebrities, they were the sights. They wanted to have a good timeand a good time was had by all for a short time.
-- Gore Vidal on F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's trip to Europe, in: 'F. Scott Fitzgerald's Case', The Second American Revolution (1982)


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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