Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, often mentioned as F. Scott Fitzgerald, was born on the 24th of September, in 1896, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Francis was a bright son of Edward Fitzgerald, an Irish man, while his mother, Mary “Molly” Mc. Quillan Fitzgerald was the daughter of a wealthy merchant. His father first ran a business but could not make a fortune. Later, he joined Proctor and Gamble, and the family shifted to the upstate New York until 1908. Then his father became jobless, and the family had to return Paul Minnesota.
As Francis’ parents were Catholic, they sent him to Catholic schools, Holy Angels Convent, and Nardin Academy, both located on the west side of Buffalo. From 1908 to 1911, he attended St. Paul Academy. There, he developed his interest in literature and produced the first detective short story for the school newspaper at the age of thirteen. At fifteen, he attended Newman School in New Jersey and graduated from there in 1913. There, he met with Father Sigourney Fay, who recognized his developing literary abilities and motivated him to make grounds in writing. To polish his artistic skills, he joined Princeton University in 1913, where he was entirely determined to enhancing his craft as a writer and made lifelong friendships with John Peale Bishop and Edmund Wilson, who became critics in the future. Also, with his literary excellence, he became a prominent figure of The Tiger Club, a dramatic society. However, he could not complete his degree from the university and joined the army in 1917 under financial pressure.
During his stay at Alabama, he met and fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the daughter of the Supreme Court judge. The couple got engaged, and Fitzgerald went to New York to earn success and marry the love of his life. Unfortunately, he could not make an instant success, which affected their relationship. However, he tried his luck for the second time and finished his novel, which he started working at Princeton. His first novel, This Side of Paradise got published in 1920, and it is in the same year he married Zelda. The couple’s daughter Frances Scott Fitzgerald was born the following year.
Francis had been alcoholic for decades, his health began to deteriorate in the 1920s, and Fitzgerald claimed to have suffered from tuberculosis and cardiac issues by the end of 1930. On the 21st of December in 1940, he suffered from another heart attack and lost his life. He could not complete his last novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon.
Some Important Facts of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald’s Life
- After the publication of The Great Gatsby, he developed a serious drinking problem, which destroyed his reputation, and his literary career also suffered a severe blow.
- He is well-known for his novel, The Great Gatsby, which became known as the reflection of “roaring twenties” after his death with at least five adaptations.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald successfully pursued two careers in life. First, he worked as an army man and later became a writer. He started writing at a young age and left positive effects on generations of audience. He published his first major work, The Side of Paradise, an autobiographical story about love and greed, at the age of twenty-four, which made him a promising young talent of his generation. After two years, in 1922, he traced the decay of a wealthy New York couple in his novel, The Beautiful and Damned. This publication cemented his status as one of the influential satirists of the 1920s. His stories were packed with the ideas of marriage, materialism, the American Dream, and human lust. One of the finest works, The Great Gatsby, was published in 1925. This book won admiration at the time of publication; also, in the 1950s, after Fitzgerald’s death, it achieved the position as one of the best American novels. In 1934, he published his fourth novel, Tender is the Night, but the book faced frosty reception due to the chronologically jumbled plot. Despite facing criticism on his last work, he started his next novel in 1939 but died before its completion. Besides novels, he wrote many short stories, including The Saturday Evening Post and The Camel’s Back.
- Best Novels: He was a great writer some of his best books include The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, The Side of Paradise and Beautiful and Damned.
- Other Works: Besides novels, he tried his hands on shorter fiction. Some of his best short stories include “The Camel’s Back, “Love in the Night”, “At Your Age”, “First Blood” and “A New Leaf.”
Francis was inspired by the fellow American authors, including Joseph Conrad and Sherwood Anderson. He laid the foundation of a new writing style. Most of his fiction depicts his personal experiences, and many stories are stories showing interpretations for their allegorical qualities. Mental illness, marital issues, alcoholism, and materialism remain prominent in every literary piece. To draw the reader’s attention, he applied various writing techniques in his texts, and to convey his message effectively, he relied on similes, syntax, diction, and rhetorical strategies. He has also involved realism and classism in most of his novels to show the obvious truths about society. To exhibit the character traits, he has used literary devices such as personifications, imagery, and metaphors.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald’s Impact on Future Literature
Although decades have passed, Francis’s writings are taken on many incarnations and have mesmerized the generations of readers. His writings and literary ideas left a significant influence on many writers. He successfully documented his ideas and experiences in his writings that even today, writers try to imitate his unique style.
- “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” (The Great Gatsby)
- “I’m not sentimental–I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know,
is that the sentimental person thinks things will last–the romantic
person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.” (The Side of Paradise)
- “Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.” (The Beautiful and Damned)
- “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.” (The Side of Paradise)