Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

With Fitzgerald as with no one else in American literature save Poe, the biography gets in the way. Never mind that E Scott Fitzgerald is the author of one exquisite short novel as perfect as anything in our literature and of another longer, more chaotic novel of tremendous emotional power. ...

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1. A Man with No People

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pp. 1-17

As a boy Scott Fitzgerald tried to persuade himself that he wasn't the son of his parents at all but the son of "a king who ruled the whole world." When his parents refused to be conjured out of existence, he repudiated their plans for him. ...

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2. Princeton 17

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pp. 18-41

No major American writer is so closely associated with his university as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Partly this is because Fitzgerald sticks in the public consciousness as a sort of perpetual undergraduate: charming, talented, and rather irresponsible. ...

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3. "I Love You, Miss X"

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pp. 42-59

A man who feared, expected, and even dreamed of rejection, Scott Fitzgerald encountered it disconcertingly often. From the Princeton plutocrats who detected the intruder in their midst to Judge Anthony Dickinson Sayre who at death's door declined to tell his son-in-law that he believed in him, ...

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4. Darling Heart

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pp. 60-77

Whatever legend may have made of it, the relationship between Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre hardly began as a romantic idyll. On the rebound from Ginevra King, Fitzgerald was playing the field. "My army experience," he commented, "consisted mostly of falling in love with a girl in each city I happened to be in." ...

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5. Genius and Glass

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pp. 78-98

Zelda's obsession with the dance could not have been predicted from a youth in which she demonstrated some artistic precociousness but not much ambition. Probably she sensed that such a drive would be out of place in the makeup of the well-bred Southern girl. ...

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6. The Glittering Things

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pp. 99-115

Love provided Fitzgerald with the emotional crises of his life and the raw material of his fiction. It was not a subject close to the mainstream of American literature. Among his rare antecedents, two very different writers stand out. ...

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7. War Between the Sexes

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pp. 116-124

The course of true love does not run smooth in Fitzgerald's fiction. In all his work he created no lovers whose emotional attachment was honest, mutual, and permanent, no unions in which partners equally shared burdens and blessings. Instead, they engage in competition. ...

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8. Running Amuck

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pp. 125-144

"As to women," Father Sigourney Webster Fay warned Fitzgerald at Princeton, "it is not a convention that holds you back as you think, but an instinct that if you once begin you will run amuck." That prospect may have amused the undergraduate, but Father Fay was right. ...

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9. Cracking Up

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pp. 145-157

When Laura Guthrie walked into Scott Fitzgerald's room at the Grove Park Inn on the morning of Friday, September 13, 1935, she found empty glasses and cigarette butts everywhere and Fitzgerald himself on the bed, with bloodshot eyes, drawn lips, skin raw from eczema, twitching leg muscles, and a distorted look about the eyes. ...

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10. Demon Drink

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pp. 158-176

Scott Fitzgerald would have flunked all the tests in the Sunday supplements. He could not quit drinking—or rather, like Mark Twain with cigars, he quit a hundred times. He could not drink without getting drunk. He did terrible things while in his cups, then tried to apologize or rationalize his behavior away the next day. ...

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11. The Worst Thing

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pp. 177-197

Scott Fitzgerald did not think highly of himself. As a child he read a nursery book about a battle between the small animals, like the fox, and the large ones, like the elephant. The book was no David-and-Goliath story: The big animals wore down the smaller ones and won. ...

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12. "a writer only"

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pp. 198-216

With a handsome contract from MGM in his pocket, Fitzgerald arrived in Hollywood in June 1937 determined to recoup his fortunes and straighten out his life. It was an unlikely place, this city of gilt and make-believe, for a man in his forties to achieve maturity, but that is what he managed to accomplish during the three and a half years left to him. ...

Notes

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pp. 217-253

Index

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pp. 254-263

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About the Author

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pp. 293-293

Scott Donaldson is one of the nation's leading literary biographers. He is the author of By Force of Will: The Life and Art of Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever: A Biography, Archibald MacLeish: An American Life (winner of the 1993 Ambassador Book Award for Biography), ...