- Purchase/rental options available:
Scholars have questioned the veracity of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s table of contents in Tales of the Jazz Age, especially with respect to his writing habits and creative process. Many contemporary critics thought his assertions were true, only weakening his authority; yet recent critical approaches recognize the pose Fitzgerald assumed. I argue that the table of contents falls within a line of authorial self-fashioning exercised by several past writers, and whether frivolous or satirical, lazy or self-critical, it places Fitzgerald within a significant authorial continuum, allowing his authority to function on a variety of planes. I aim to position this piece as a crucial nexus in the trajectory of Fitzgerald’s professional writing career; by understanding the authorial means by which such a piece is created, one can trace the resulting effect it has on that text and the author’s canon. Given the editorial considerations and market demands placed upon Fitzgerald in 1922, the table of contents for Tales of the Jazz Age shows an author at a turning point. This table of contents changes the way we read the fiction, and inevitably, the way we read Fitzgerald.