F. Scott Fitzgerald Revisited

June 11, 2008 at 1:54 am (books) ()

From time to time, a feature piece entitled Second Reading appears in the Style section of the Washington Post. In it, columnist and reviewer Jonathan Yardley discusses a literary work from the past that is in danger of being forgotten. In this past Saturday’s edition of the paper, he drew our attention to a biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald written by Andrew Turnbull in 1962. Admittedly, says Yardley, subsequent biographers have unearthed new information about Fitzgerald. But the direct quotes that Yardley provides convinced me that I need to get my hands on this book. Turnbull’s writing is simply gorgeous.

Yardley allows that his interest in F. Scott Fitzgerald borders on obsession:

“I admit to having read, and occasionally reviewed, far more of this stuff than probably is good for me. For more than half a century I have been fascinated by Fitzgerald’s story, that of a generous, decent and sublimely gifted man brought down by fatal flaws of alcoholism and self-destructiveness, and my admiration for his masterwork, ‘The Great Gatsby,’ grows more intense year by year.

Since leading a discussion on Gatsby last January, I have come to share Yardley’s sense of loss and sadness regarding F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby is a work of genius, a quintessentially American story, and so, in many ways, was the life of its author.

So by all means, read “Andrew Turnbull’s Great Fitzgerald.” Then you can set about trying to acquire the book. Naturally, it is out of print; in addition, it is not owned by our local library. It is available through interlibrary loan, though, and also from our reliable friend abebooks. com

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