- Fitzgerald and Hemingway
More than in past years, scholarship on Ernest Hemingway significantly outweighs scholarship on F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby continues to generate interest, but there is also a noticeable turn away from that masterpiece and toward other novels, stories, and collections. Articles consider the influence of editors, Hollywood directors, and even automotive culture on Fitzgerald's writing. The most prominent theme is adaptation, with articles on silent films, Hollywood blockbusters, and TV pilots based on Fitzgerald works as well as the way translation occurs as an adaptive process. The majority of this scholarship appears in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, with only a handful of articles published elsewhere. Work on Hemingway emphasizes geographical contexts, with various books and articles focusing on the writer's connections with Spain, Italy, and Africa. Biographical works deepen understanding of his life and appreciation for the interplay between his life and creative output. And scholars provide insights on Hemingway's representations of gender, sexuality, and warfare and discuss the best ways to teach these topics to high school- and university-level students.
i F. Scott Fitzgerald
With keen insight, archival rigor, and the seemingly effortless style so often associated with his work, Scott Donaldson pursues the friendship—and potential romantic involvement—of Dorothy Parker and Fitzgerald over the greater part of his writing career in "Scott and [End Page 153] Dottie" (SR 124: 40–61). Donaldson immerses readers in Fitzgerald and Parker's first interactions when Fitzgerald worked for a New York City ad agency, their mutual interest in theater, their mutual attraction, their reunion in Paris in 1926, and their experiences on the French Riviera in 1929, a crucial period that witnessed not only their deepening relationship with Gerald and Sara Murphy but also Parker's rising literary reputation and Fitzgerald's worsening condition, one year prior to Zelda's schizophrenia diagnosis. If Fitzgerald and Parker did have an affair, Donaldson surmises, "it probably happened in the spring of 1934, after Zelda's third breakdown." He briefly considers—but neither accepts nor rejects—the rationales for the affair offered by other biographers (e.g., Parker's compassion for a friend and fellow writer in despair) before moving on to describe Fitzgerald and Parker's work as leftist screenwriters in Hollywood. In An Unfinished Woman, published 35 years later, Lillian Hellman provided the only "evidence" of the tryst by recounting statements made to her by Parker during a Hollywood party. (Donaldson seriously questions Hellman's veracity.) Whether or not an affair occurred, the important fact for Donaldson is that "they definitely were friends who cared about each other and colleagues who valued each other's work." Parker's affection for Fitzgerald continued even after his death; her preparation of The Portable F. Scott Fitzgerald (1945) introduced him to new generations of readers, including Donaldson himself. Readers interested in Donaldson's discussion of the challenges literary biographies face ascertaining truth, explored recently in his The Impossible Craft (see AmLS 2015, pp. 172–74), will find this article both a thoughtful example of his own work and a testament to a literary friendship finally receiving the careful treatment it deserves.
Two essays focus on The Great Gatsby. Like Donaldson's essay, Sarah Churchwell's illuminating and thoroughly researched "'The Balzacs of America': F. Scott Fitzgerald, Burton Rascoe, and the Lost Review of The Great Gatsby" (FSFR 14: 6–30) also explores a significant relationship, in this instance Rascoe's influence on Fitzgerald's novel. Rascoe was the editor of the New York Tribune and writer of the gossip column "A Bookman's Day Book" between 1920 and 1924, the years during which Fitzgerald was composing Gatsby. Churchwell examines Rascoe's comments about the writer, his promotion of Fitzgerald's literary reputation, and their eventual falling-out, in part by recovering—and thankfully reprinting—a Gatsby book review thought lost until now. The review was discovered in the June 1925 issue of Arts and Decoration, [End Page 154] a magazine to which Rascoe contributed as literary critic. Praiseworthy of Fitzgerald's artistic intentions and maturing style and even aware of how critics like himself could often plague the "conscientious artist," Rascoe offered...