Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896 and attended the St. Paul Academy as a child. In 1911 he entered the Newman School in Hackensack, NJ. Fitzgerald later attended Princeton University where writing and football were his main interests. In 1917 Scott left Princeton to join the U.S. Army and prepared to fight in the First World War. It was shortly after his mobilization that he sold his first story to the Smart Set.
Also during his days in the army he wrote his first version of This Side of Paradise and met Zelda Sayre of Montgomery, Alabama.
Not being sent abroad to serve, unable to impress Zelda due to a lack of money, and his book having been rejected he went back to Minnesota to rewrite his first novel on the advice of Max Perkins of Scribners. This time, Perkins fought for Fitzgerald's novel at Scribners and it was released March 26, 1920. A new corrected version of This Side Of Paradise is being released this January including an introduction by Dr. Patrick O'Donnell of Purdue University.
Scott and Zelda were married the third of April of that same year in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
In 1922, he published his second and longest novel The Beautiful and Damned and followed it with Tales of the Jazz Age, his second compilation of short stories.
In November of 1923, Fitzgerald's only play, The Vegetable or from President to Postman, opened in Atlantic City. It flopped and was rapidly canceled. At this point the newlyweds divided their time between New York, Paris, the Riviera and Rome where they became a part of the American circle of expatriates that included Getrude Stein, John Dos Passos, Thomas Wolfe, Ford Maddox Ford, and Scott's lifelong friend and companion Ernest Hemingway.
In mid-July 1922, Fitzgerald had written a letter to Perkins telling him of his next project. "I want to see where I stand. I want to write something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned."
On April 11, 1925, Fitzgerald's masterpiece was released: The Great Gatsby.
In 1930 Zelda had her first of numerous nervous breakdowns. Much of her time was spent at Johns Hopkins University and Scott spent much time at 1307 Park Avenue, Baltimore, writing Tender is the Night.
As was the case with much of his writing at this point, portions of Tender is the Night were written in an inebriated state, "under stimulant" as Scott had called it--primarily gin. The final book short fiction published during his lifetime, Taps at Reveille was published in March of 1935.
He moved to Hollywood in 1937 to work on movie scripts. There he began work on The Last Tycoon. He suffered a heart attack at Graham's apartment at 1443 Hayworth Avenue, Hollywood, December 21, 1940 having completed less than half of The Last Tycoon. It was published in October 1941. He was buried on a raw, cold afternoon, at Rockville Union Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland.
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