THE NOTEBOOKS OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD by F. Scott Fitzgerald

THE NOTEBOOKS OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fitzgerald was very serious about these notebook entries; he had secretaries type them up and file them according to strict categories: ""Descriptions of Girls,"" ""Moments (What People Do),"" ""Observations,"" ""Rough Stuff,"" ""Scenes and Situations,"" etc. Dating from 1932, the notebooks find Fitzgerald sad, alone, losing (60 percent of these were included in the Edmund Wilson-edited The Crack-Up), but busy on major work: Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon. There's a ballet synopsis, unimpressive poetry and better light verse, the famously hilarious recipe for Turkey Hash, nursed grudges (""Ernest would always give a helping hand to a man on a ledge a little higher up""), and hundreds of sentences, paragraphs, and scenes that found their way into the novels and stories. Some are fine, Fitzgerald-fine: ""The train gave out a gurgle and a forlorn burst of false noise, and with a clicking strain of couplers pulled forward a few hundred yards."" Some are Fitzgerald-awful: ""Her mouth was made of two small intersecting cherries pointing off into a bright smile."" Blindfolded, you'd know the author of both. What these notebooks finally do is put to rest the lazy idea of Fitzgerald as golden-boy profligate, for whom everything came easy, too easy. Each entry here is a little knot of struggle to stay ahead of his craft and his life. Anxiety oozes from each page--and is promptly reinvested. Nothing ""easy"" about it. Professor Bruccoli has done his usual fastidious job of annotating and deck-swabbing.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich