Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and attended prep school, then Princeton University. ("I was always the poorest boy at a rich man's school," he claimed.) He was a lackluster student; when he dropped out to enlist in the army during World War I, he was on academic probation. The armistice was signed before Fitzgerald could see service, and he was discharged in 1919. He began writing THIS SIDE OF PARADISE, based on his Princeton years, when he was 21, and was 24 when it was published. The success of the novel--which was called by Edmund Wilson "one of the most illiterate books of any merit ever published"--enabled him to marry Zelda Sayre, whose family disapproved of him and his prospects. Fitzgerald gained growing celebrity as a major new voice in American fiction, and he and Zelda became the 1920s' equivalent of jet-setters, dividing their time between New York, Paris, and the Riviera--part of the circle of American expatriates that included Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and Dos Passos, writers about whom Stein coined the term "the lost generation." Fitzgerald continued to write all his life, including the obligatory stint in Hollywood, but was gradually taken over by alcoholism and the general dissolution of his life, and many of his later years were plagued by doubt, debt, and failure. He died at the absurdly young age of 44, of a heart attack.
From the Publisher
THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 novel, is heavily based on his own troubled marriage as he describes the moral, physical, and financial decline of a beautiful and gifted couple. Anthony and Gloria Patch seem made for each other, and their idyllic relationship is enhanced by their expectations of inheriting Anthony's grandfather's millions. As they live their idle dissatisfied lives, waiting for the money to come their way, Gloria's selfishness and Anthony's alcoholism gradually and irrevocably corrode their feelings for each other. Fitzgerald's second novel is a scathing critique of the moneyed class to which he aspired but that was always, tantalizingly, just out of his reach. One of his saddest, THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED is also one of his most beautifully written books.
In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended upon him.