Most scholars have overlooked F. Scott Fitzgerald’s relationship to his Irish roots and the role that his “Irishness” plays in his writing. This article explores how the “Celtic Element” in literature, popularized by writers like Matthew Arnold and W. B. Yeats in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, influenced Fitzgerald’s response to the crisis of modernity. By examining Fitzgerald’s artistic and aesthetic relationship to his Irish heritage—tied to the debate between Arnold and Yeats on the characteristics and value of Celtic Literature—and by drawing textual comparisons between the work of Yeats and Fitzgerald, this article shows how, like Yeats, Fitzgerald employs the use of tragic heroes to promote premodern characteristics as a response to the materialism he saw tainting modern American society. Examining specifically Yeats’s On Baile’s Strand in relation to Tender Is the Night and The Love of the Last Tycoon, this article argues that Fitzgerald employs the same type of “romantic nationalism” as the great Irish poet and dramatist. Both authors’ protagonists represent ancestral ideals and values that have been lost to the rise of modernity.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 60-83
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.