The Great Gatsby
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About the Author
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was an American novelist, essayist, and short-story writer. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota to Edward and Mary Fitzgerald, he was raised in Buffalo in a middle-class Catholic family. Fitzgerald excelled in school from a young age and was known as an active and curious student, primarily of literature. In 1908 the family returned to St. Paul, where Fitzgerald published his first work of fiction, a detective story, at the age of 13. He completed his high school education at the Newman School in New Jersey before enrolling at Princeton University. In 1917, reeling from an ill-fated relationship and waning in his academic pursuits, Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton to join the Army. While stationed in Alabama, he began a relationship with Zelda Sayre, a Montgomery socialite. In 1919, he moved to New York City, where he struggled to launch his career as a writer. His first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), was a resounding success, earning Fitzgerald a sustainable income and allowing him to marry Zelda. Following the birth of his daughter Scottie in 1921, Fitzgerald published his second novel, The Beautiful and the Damned (1922), and Tales of the Jazz Age (1922), a collection of short stories. His rising reputation in New York's social and literary scenes coincided with a growing struggle with alcoholism and the deterioration of Zelda's mental health. Despite this, Fitzgerald managed to complete his masterpiece The Great Gatsby (1925), a withering portrait of corruption and decay at the heart of American society. After living for several years in France in Italy, the end of the decade marked the decline of Fitzgerald's reputation as a writer, forcing him to move to Hollywood in pursuit of work as a screenwriter. His alcoholism accelerated in these last years, leading to severe heart problems and eventually his death at the age of 44. By this time, he was virtually forgotten by the public, but critical reappraisal and his influence on such writers as Ernest Hemingway, J.D. Salinger, and Richard Yates would ensure his status as one of the greatest figures in twentieth-century American fiction.