THE APPRENTICE FICTION OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD by John-Ed. Kuehl

THE APPRENTICE FICTION OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fitzgerald, the Prince of the Jazz Age, folded up during the '30's in what is now legendary fashion; he died dethroned and despoiled, only to be resurrected some time later as a kind of neo-Bohemian myth: first success, then despair, the American experience quintessentially achieved. Of course it is more than American, it is really prototypal modern literary romanticism. And these rehearsal stories (also two skits), quite symbolically extending from 1909 when Scott was 13 to 1917, his 21st year, all mostly written during the Edwardian era, that sweet prelude to the dissonance of WWI, are very romantic indeed. They are also very young, and aside from antiquarian/biographical interest, and the last offering, ""The Pierian Springs,"" faintly foreshadowing The Great Gatsby, they are not worth much. That Fitzgerald was, as the editor insists, a born storyteller is unquestionable, as is his contention that we can observe here many future novelistic features: the incipient flappers; the dreamy male unsuccessfully searching for a heroic manhood, ensnared by false values, lusts, the cheers of the crowd (Scott considered football ""the most intense and dramatic spectacle since the Olympic games""); and so forth. But this is hardly enough. The narratives show promise as they say, but the effects are often superficial and considerably less than meets the eye.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1965
Publisher: Rutgers Univ. Press