Tuesday 11 September 2018

Book Review: The Collected Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Modern Classics)

Title: The Collected Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald
Wordsworth Editions

Publication Date: 2011 (2008)
Modern Classics
Bought Copy


Few American novelists of the twentieth century have stayed as modern as F. Scott Fitzgerald. He gave a name to his age, 'the Jazz Age', but his reputation has outlived it.

Gathered here are the five novels he wrote in his relatively short career, together with a number of the many short stories he wrote between 1922 and his death in 1940. 'This Side of Paradise' catapulted him to fame, its exposé of the manners and morals of a post-war generation becoming a cause célèbre. 'The Beautiful and Damned', a semi-autobiographical moral parable of a doomed marriage, affirmed Fitzgerald's status as the spokesman for the generation of the 1920s. His third novel, 'The Great Gatsby', remains for many readers the definitive American novel of the twentieth century, its eponymous hero a complex fictional portrayal of a romantic imagination at the mercy of a corrupt reality. 'Tender is the Night' is an American 'Vanity Fair' set on the French Riviera in the 1920s. Fitzgerald was working on 'The Last Tycoon' at his death in 1940, and many critics rank his account of Hollywood at the height of the studio system, even in its unfinished state, as comparable to the achievement of 'The Great Gatsby'.

I have been reading this collection over several months, and I loved it. I had already read The Great Gatsby, but the other stories were new to me. Of the novels, I think Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon were my favourites; however, I enjoyed them all. The short stories were also excellent. Overall, this is a delightful collection and a must for any library shelf.

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