THE LETTERS OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD by Andrew- Ed. rnbull

THE LETTERS OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The one real quality in all of these letters and the one real quality about Scott Fitzgerald is, quite simply, youth; or more prosaically, boyishness. Wherever turn, and we turn quite a bit, both in years, place and person- the period extends roughly from the '20's to the late '30's, the places are mostly France and Hollywood, the people include Fitzgerald's wife, daughter, and many, many friends (Edmund Wilson, emingway, Max Perkins, Harold Ober)- we come right up against that sort of grace, enerosity, and groping, sometimes grueling romanticism we automatically associate with one's salad days. However, to say this is not to deny Fitzgerald's right as husband, father, man-about-town, even as an intellect; in these letters there are instances galore of embattled emotions, of a writer both publicly and privately under eclipse, of reactions at once candid and courageous. Nevertheless, reading between the lines one has the uneasy sense of a personality, though shot full with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and/or bankrupt reality, still never actually aging, still remaining a sort of Dorian Gray of experience, a beautiful refusal to turn down the footlights on the Melancholy Prince and ""grow up"". Fitzgerald, of course, did grow up. The Crack-Up, that heartbreaking record of disillusion and disintegration, proves it. But there the tone was always de profundis; here it seems saturated in that All-American dreamworld of pleasure without pain, of the good without the bad- in short, Fitzgerald's book jacket image. To that extent the Letters are remarkably revealing, stunningly symbolic and, no doubt about it, bound to be read for many a moon. Turnbull did the popular Fitzgerald biography which appeared last year.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1963
Publisher: Scribners