F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University, which he left in 1917 to join the army. He was said to have epitomized the Jazz Age, which he himself defined as 'a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their traumatic marriage and her subsequent breakdowns became the leading influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work); six volumes of short stories and The Crack Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces. Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a 'generation'. . . he might have interpreted and even guided them, as in their midle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'
Readers in that sizeable group of people who think The Great Gatsby is the Great American Novel will be delighted with Robbins's subtle, brainy and immensely touching new reading. There have been audio versions of Gatsby before this-by Alexander Scourby and Christopher Reeve, to name two-but actor/director Robbins brings a fresh and bracing vision that makes the story gleam. From the jaunty irony of the title page quote ("Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!") to the poetry of Fitzgerald's ending about "the dark fields of the republic" and "boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past," Robbins conjures up a sublime portrait of a lost world. And as a bonus, the excellent audio actor Robert Sean Leonard reads a selection of Fitzgerald's letters to editors, agents and friends which focus on the writing and selling of the novel. Listeners will revel in learning random factoids, e.g., in 1924, Scott and Zelda were living in a Rome hotel that cost just over $500 a month, and he was respectfully suggesting that his agent Harold Ober ask $15,000 from Liberty magazine for the serial rights to Gatsby. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 8 Up‘An initial biographical essay and closing chronology introduce Fitzgerald, his era, and his place in American literature. "For Further Research" includes Web site sources and provides helpful primary and secondary references. Spanning more than 50 years of criticism, the 19 pithy essays, one by Fitzgerald himself, are divided into three chapters that successively focus on Gatsby's character, American culture, and literary structure. Additional quotes, boxed and placed throughout the text, provide additional support for the authors' positions. There is little overlap of other Fitzgerald or Gatsby volumes in similar series, and although comparable titles written by one author exist, this volume's multi-authored critiques afford a highly varied, even conflicting, dialogue that's necessary for stimulating classroom discussion.‘Kate Foldy, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh