- Fitzgerald and Hemingway
This year gave us work by familiar and highly venerated scholars of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway: Scott Donaldson, Linda Wagner-Martin, Jackson Bryer, Ruth Prigozy, Ronald Berman, James L. W. West III, Debra Moddelmog, Susan Beegel, and the late Matthew J. Bruccoli. Yet we still have much work from younger scholars, which shows the openness, reach, and potential of both Fitzgerald and Hemingway studies.
Some recent Fitzgerald scholarship has centered on the problematic adaptation of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" by David Fincher and Eric Roth, as well as The Great Gatsby. Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and the Nick Adams stories continue to receive much critical attention. Yet there is still some need to revisit Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned; Fitzgerald's less canonical stories (such as "One Trip Abroad" and "A New Leaf"); Hemingway's early journalism and Esquire articles, The Dangerous Summer, and his late stories (such as "Black Ass at the Crossroads"); and both authors' letters. Perhaps even their minor early works (Fitzgerald's The Vegetable, Hemingway's poetry) could benefit from a fresh look. Additionally, work could be done on the recent memoirs of Hemingway by those who knew him—such as Valerie Hemingway and René Villarreal—to study how they have remembered, mythologized, and framed Hemingway in the 21st century. These and other topics suggest opportunities for established and emerging Americanists to further advance the study of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and 20th-century American literature. [End Page 195] Fitzgerald and Hemingway continue to generate much critical attention; as always, selectivity will be a key element of this chapter.
i. F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Fitzgerald, we may conclude, is ubiquitous," James L. W. West III observes. "His name and writings are here to stay." In his chapter on Fitzgerald (pp. 216-34) in Richard Kopley and Barbara Cantalupo's edited collection Prospects for the Study of American Literature, West surveys trends in Fitzgerald studies from 1987 through 2007. In what functions adeptly as a gateway essay for studying Fitzgerald in the 21st century, West discusses the continuous deepening and expansion of Fitzgerald scholarship and editions (namely those from Cambridge). As his work with Fitzgerald editions has also done over the years, West's chapter quite literally raises apt questions about the direction, subjects, and dilemmas of future Fitzgerald scholarship: for example, "Why was Fitzgerald, normally so sure-handed in the short-story form, so inept in those tales [that are 'obvious failures']?" "Might it be possible for some new groupings of Fitzgerald's stories to be published in paperback?" "Are there different audiences to address, alternate works to write about, other myths to consider?" West also proposes new directions and avenues to advance knowledge of Fitzgerald, such as "a study of both Scott and Zelda as professionals—he a writer, she a dancer and writer and dramatist and painter" or of "the political developments, and social changes and popular-culture events" that pervade Fitzgerald's oeuvre. West also wonders—as surely many of us do—whether the Fitzgerald Trust "will authorize a full-dress variorum edition of Gatsby. Such a project would produce a text as close to definitive as we are likely to get"—as well as produce much more textual scholarship on the different editions and versions of The Great Gatsby. West continues his valuable contributions to Fitzgerald studies.
One sees Fitzgerald's ubiquity in Matthew J. Bruccoli and Judith Baughman's F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Marketplace: The Auction and Dealer Catalogues, 1935-2006 (So. Car.). As Bruccoli states in the preface, this book "deals with the formation and dispersal of collections" and is "tinctured by the excitement, anger, pleasure, and laughter that went with acquiring books and arguing about them." Baughman continues: "The book documents [Bruccoli's] enduring [End Page 196] passion for Fitzgerald, his vast knowledge of the book trade." The volume's many illustrations and dealer captions provide useful commentary vis-à-vis the authors' discussion of various issues pertaining to Fitzgerald collecting and marketing. By and large, this book will be most useful for scholars working with Fitzgerald "books, manuscripts, typescripts, and letters offered...