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A History of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Although now considered among the greatest American authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald was not widely respected while alive. Fitzgerald was plagued by a depressing marriage, drunkenness, and harsh critiques. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896, he actually grew up in up-state New York. In 1908, the Fitzgerald family moved back to St. Paul after Edward Fitzgerald, Francis' father, lost his job. Here, Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Acadamy, where his first story appeared in the school newspaper at the age of thirteen. From 1911-1913, Fitzgerald attended a prep. school in New Jersey and then entered Princeton. Here, he neglected his studies, and in 1917, he joined the army. Afraid he would die before writing his novel, Fritzgerald quickly wrote "The Romantic Egotist," however, the book was rejected from the publisher. While at training camp in Alabama, Fitzgerald fell in love with Zelda Sayre and becaome engaged to her. After being discharged from the army, he tried to seek his fortune in New York, but failed, and Zelda broke off the engagement. Fitzgerald returned to St. Paul, where he wrote "This Side of Paradise," which this time was published. Fitzgerald then began wrting a series of short stories for sources like the "Saturday Evening Post". After the publication of "This Side of Paradise," Fitzgerald married Zelda in New York. In 1921, Zelda became pregnant, and the couple took a trip to Europe. In October of that same year, Frances Scott Fitzgerald was born. In 1922, Fitzgerald wrote the play "The Vegetable," which flopped, and he was forced to again write short stories to pull himself out of debt. Fitzgerald was also plagued through this time with alcoholism and constant fights with his wife. Because of his uncanny lifestyle, literary critics were reluctant to praise Fitzgerald's writings. In 1924, the Fitzgeralds returned to Europe, where Zelda was found to be having an affair with a naval aviator. It was here that Fitzgerald wrote "The Great Gatsby." As the years progressed, Zelda's behavior became increasingly more eccentric, and in 1930, she suffered a mental breakdown. The couple returned to America, and from here forward, Zelda was in and out of mental hospitals for the rest of her life. Fitzgerald attempted to write several novels, but being a poor money manager, he was in constant debt. In 1937, Fitzgerald went to Hollywood, where he attempted to write screen plays. In 1940, Fitzgerald died of a heart attack, believing himself to be a complete failure. In 1948, Zelda died from a fire in the hospital she was admitted to. Since his death, Fitzgerald has been associated with the "Jazz Age." This time period was a time of art, excess and satire. He is now considered the leading writer of the Jazz Age.


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