F Scott Fitzgerald is so inextricably bound to his works it is hard to separate him from his fictional characters and their life and times.
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, he published many volumes of short stories and five novels; This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful & The Damned, Tender is the Night and the unfinished, The Last Tycoon.
His turbulent and troubled marriage to Zelda Sayre, a novelist in her own right and ‘the first American flapper’, became more than influential in his writing. No more apt was the phrase ‘art imitates life’. In This Side of Paradise, the soliloquy of Amory Blaine at the conclusion of the novel is taken straight from Zelda’s journal.
Their troubled relationship mirrored the nation’s troubles: the post-war excitement of the boom followed by the Crash of ’29 and the subsequent Depression, when Zelda had the first in a series of mental breakdowns, Scott’s drinking worsened, and money woes became constant.
He will be remembered for defining the ‘Jazz’ age, with its fleeting, fuzzy images of decadence and despair. A generation grown up to find ‘all God’s dead, all wars fought, all faith is in man shaken.’