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Fitzgerald's Mentors

Edmund Wilson, H. L. Mencken, and Gerald Murphy

Ronald Berman

Publication Year: 2012

Fitzgerald’s Mentors is a fresh and compelling study of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s intellectual friendship with Edmund Wilson, H. L. Mencken, and Gerald Murphy.
Fitzgerald was shaped through his engagements with key literary and artistic figures in the 1920s. This book is about their influence— and also about the ways that Fitzgerald defended his own ideas about writing. Influence was always secondary to independence.
Fitzgerald’s education began at Princeton with Edmund Wilson. There Wilson imparted to Fitzgerald many ideas about education and literary values, among them respect for the classics and an acute awareness of literary tradition.
In New York H. L. Mencken impressed upon Fitzgerald his belief in the stifling effect of public morality on writers. Furthermore, Mencken’s The American Language changed Fitzgerald’s thinking about the power of everyday language.
After moving to France in 1924, Fitzgerald’s intellectual life took a very different turn. Gerald Murphy exposed him to the visual arts— including the work of Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, and Man Ray—and to people deeply interested in the perception of art in daily life. Equally important, Fitzgerald had many discussions about artistic values with both Gerald and Sara Murphy.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: Teaching and Learning

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pp. 1-28

F. Scott Fitz ger ald’s tutorial education began at Princeton with Edmund Wilson, continued in New York with H. L. Mencken, and began anew with Gerald Murphy in France. His friends left an archive of opinions about him: Mencken in his autobiography and reviews, Wilson in his essays and letters, Gerald (and Sara Murphy) in letters as well. Perhaps it should be said that they left a ...

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1. Edmund Wilson’s Authority

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pp. 29-46

When F. Scott Fitz ger ald ’17 entered Princeton, Edmund Wil son ’16 was already at the center of a group of writers who did lyrics for the Triangle Show, wrote humor for the Tiger and fiction for the Lit (Nassau Literary Magazine). In a sense, these were incidentals: he had already begun to rethink American literature and criticism....

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2. H. L. Mencken’s Democratic Narrative

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pp. 47-68

In the sixth chapter of The Sun Also Rises (1926) Jake Barnes and Harvey Stone agree that Mencken is “through now.” There are differing explanations for this. Mencken’s biographers assert that his departure from the literary scene was voluntary: he had left The Smart Set in 1923 for the American Mercury to devote himself to ...

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3. Gerald Murphy and the New Arts

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pp. 69-90

We tend to think of Sara and Gerald Murphy as they have been reconstructed in Tender Is the Night, although the story of their connection to F. Scott Fitz ger ald is larger and more complex. Gerald Murphy maintained a lifelong dialogue with Fitz ger ald, Hemingway, MacLeish, and other writers on the practice and meaning of writing. He influenced Fitzgerald’s visual perception of objects and...


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pp. 91-108


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pp. 109-116


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pp. 117-119

Back Cover

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pp. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9780817386382
E-ISBN-10: 0817386386
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817317614
Print-ISBN-10: 0817317619

Page Count: 127
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 773944125
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