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Scott Fitzgerald Paperback – October 7, 2001
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
In preparation for this work Turnbull interviewed or corresponded with literally hundreds of people. (At the Plaza Hotel in New York he found only one person who remembered Fitzgerald - a bellboy.) Turnbull was aided, and no doubt inspired, by his own recollections of Fitzgerald. They met when he was eleven, Fitzgerald was thirty-six, and Fitzgerald rented an old Victorian house on the Turnbull family estate outside Baltimore. Fitzgerald and his daughter Scottie, joined for periods by Zelda (when she was not in a sanatorium in Baltimore), lived there for about two years, during which time Fitzgerald was quite accessible to and friendly with the Turnbull family.
Fitzgerald could be a showman and a show-off, and frequently he was a boor - especially when he was drunk (a state more common for him than for most people, even more common than for most writers). But the essential Fitzgerald was a Romantic and an archetypal Irishman, a combination that perhaps made the alcoholism inevitable. He was unusually magnanimous, both with his money and his time and attention. He was devoted to Zelda, even after she slipped the traces and drifted off into her own worlds of schizophrenia. He promoted and encouraged numerous other writers. And, of course, he was a brilliant writer himself. Among the tributes from Turnbull: "No one had written more gorgeously than he of America's last fling at adolescence.Read more ›
The best I can do, to give a sense of this book, I think, is to quote a few passages, half-randomly, directly from Turnbull's prose:
In describing Fitzgerald's school headmaster: "He was almost pure albino with thin flaxen hair, white eyebrows and lashes, and pink watery eyes that jiggled behind thick lenses. His soft bulk, his round face with a button nose surmounting several rolls of chin -anyone could see that Fay liked to eat" (Turnbull 1962, 39).
In describing Fitzgerald's final years: "Now was the time of hospitals, nurses, night sweats, sedatives, and despair. Fitzgerald seemed to be slipping back into the morass of 1935-6. Half-crazed with worry and isolation, he was also blocked in his work and 'a writer not writing,' he once remarked, 'is practically a maniac within himself'" (Turnbull 1962, 298).
In describing Zelda, Fitzgerald's wife: "Zelda, too, was acting strangely. With her angry sidelong glances and barbed remarks there was something crouching and inimical in her posture.Read more ›
For someone who is just discovering the world of Fitzgerald, Wolfe, or Ernest Hemingway, they might want to read about MAXWELL PERKINS who had the extraordinary luck to be the editor for all three writers at Scribners from 1920s through the 1940s. Their stories are extraordinary. Max Perkins: Editor of Genius or The Sons of Maxwell Perkins: Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and Their Editor.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While his "Scott Fitzgerald" will be very well received by fans of that author, I found Turnbull's biography of Thomas Wolfe to be an overall more polished accomplishment. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ralph W. Garner