- NAME: F. Scott Fitzgerald
- OCCUPATION: Author
- BIRTH DATE: September 24, 1896
- DEATH DATE: December 21, 1940
- EDUCATION: St. Paul Academy, Newman School, Princeton University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: St. Paul, Minnesota
- PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California
- Full Name: Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
- AKA: F. Scott Fitzgerald
- AKA: F. Scott Key Fitzgerald
Best Known For
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F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota. His first novel's success made him famous and let him marry the woman he loved, but he later descended into drinking and his wife had a mental breakdown. Following the unsuccessful Tender is the Night, Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood and became a scriptwriter. He died of a heart attack in 1940, at age 44, his final novel only half completed.
"What little I've accomplished has been by the most laborious and uphill work, and I wish now I'd never relaxed or looked back—but said at the end of The Great Gatsby: 'I've found my line—from now on this comes first.'"
"Often I think writing is a sheer paring away of oneself leaving always something thinner, barer, more meager."
"In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day."
"It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess and it was an age of satire."
"Having once found the intensity of art, nothing else that can happen in life can ever again seem as important as the creative process."
"My characters are all Scott Fitzgerald."
"I didn't know till 15 that there was anyone in the world except me, and it cost me plenty."
"I never at any one time saw [Gatsby] clear myself—for he started as one man I knew and then changed into myself—the amalgam was never complete in my mind."
"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy."
"There are no second acts in American lives."
"Riding in a taxi one afternoon between very tall buildings under a mauve and rosy sky; I began to bawl because I had everything I wanted and knew I would never be so happy again."
"I left my capacity for hoping on the little roads that led to Zelda's sanitarium."
"Isn't Hollywood a dump—in the human sense of the word. A hideous town ... full of the human spirit at a new low of debasement."
"I was in love with a whirlwind and I must spin a net big enough to catch it."
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota. His namesake (and second cousin three times removed on his father's side) was Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to the "Star-Spangled Banner." Fitzgerald's mother, Mary McQuillan, was from an Irish-Catholic family that had made a small fortune in Minnesota as wholesale grocers. His father, Edward Fitzgerald, had opened a wicker furniture business in St. Paul, and, when it failed, he took a job as a salesman for Procter & Gamble that took his family back and forth between Buffalo and Syracuse in upstate New York during the first decade of Fitzgerald's life. However, Edward Fitzgerald lost his job with Procter & Gamble in 1908, when F. Scott Fitzgerald was 12, and the family moved back to St. Paul to live off of his mother's inheritance.
Fitzgerald was a bright, handsome and ambitious boy, the pride and joy of his parents and especially his mother. He attended the St. Paul Academy, and when he was 13, he saw his first piece of writing appear in print: a detective story published in the school newspaper. In 1911, when Fitzgerald was 15 years old, his parents sent him to the Newman School, a prestigious Catholic preparatory school in New Jersey. There, he met Father Sigourney Fay, who noticed his incipient talent with the written word and encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions.
After graduating from the Newman School in 1913, Fitzgerald decided to stay in New Jersey to continue his artistic development at Princeton University. At Princeton, he firmly dedicated himself to honing his craft as a writer, writing scripts for Princeton's famous Triangle Club musicals as well as frequent articles for the Princeton Tiger humor magazine and stories for the Nassau Literary Magazine. However, Fitzgerald's writing came at the expense of his coursework. He was placed on academic probation, and, in 1917, he dropped out of school to join the U.S. Army. Afraid that he might die in World War I with his literary dreams unfulfilled, in the weeks before reporting to duty, Fitzgerald hastily wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist. Though the publisher, Charles Scribner's Sons, rejected the novel, the reviewer noted its originality and encouraged Fitzgerald to submit more work in the future.
Fitzgerald was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. It was there that he met and fell in love with a beautiful 18-year-old girl named Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge.
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