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Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald (REV) Paperback – August 1, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Epic indeed, this is the definitive biography of Fitzgerald, plain and simple. There's no reason to own another. (LJ 10/1/02)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"I fully expect that this will be the indispensable biography of a very great American writer...." -- James Dickey

"Impeccably researched... both comphrensive and judicious...Bruccoli brings Fitzgerald vividily alive." -- Newsweek

"Indispensable and definitive." -- The Times Literary Supplement

"Indispensable and definitive." -- The Times Literary Supplement

"It is difficult to imagine any work on Fitzgerald and his literary product that will supplant this one." -- The New Yorker

"It is difficult to imagine any work on Fitzgerald and his literary product that will supplant this one."- -- The New Yorker

"This masterpiece contains exactly what we need to know about this dazzling figure." -- Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 696 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press; Revised edition (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570034559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570034558
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've admired Fitzgerald all my life and regard his work as singularly underrated as time goes on. He was a brilliant and witty writer who could turn a phrase as well as any American author of the 20th century. This biography is the best I've ever read on Fitzgerald. It's particularly strong in the depiction of his gaudy, booze-soaked life with Zelda, especially when they were ex-pats living in France. Bruccoli really draws the reader in with deft descriptions of their marital rows, woes, break-ups and innumerable reconcilations. I was happy to see that their daughter, Scottie, was also illuminated so brilliantly.
The material on Sheila Graham, Scott's lover in Hollywood, was also intriguing. Graham's own book about Scott is a great read, but the author brings out elements to the story which Graham omitted. I was genuinely sad when Scott dies and the narrative concludes. The debauchery, booze and high times of the Flapper era are all here. This is a highly recommended, beautifully tribute to one of the great writers of the past 100 years.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an absolute diehard fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, both his life and his literature. So, I knew when I purchased this book I was bound to scrutinize its every nook and cranny. Well, my scrutiny proved to be a wasted effort. Without question, Matthew Bruccoli is the number one Fitzgerald scholar in the country, and after reading this biography, it is impossible to question why.
Bruccoli covers every aspect of Fitzgerald's life and includes several bits of correspondence to really give readers a look inside Fitzgerald's thinking. --Perhaps my favorite thing about the book is that it does not sentimentalize the author (which I myself have a habit of doing). Fitzgerald is spelled out here in all his glory, yet, we also get to see his unflattering side...paranoia, arrogance, unharnessed alcoholism, and downright neurosis.
F Scott Fitzgerald was a brilliant man whose life became legend. It is my humble opinion that Bruccoli has written the most thorough and best possible biography. Simply put, the read is fascinating. It might be 600 pages, but you will fly through it. It is "never dry" (like Fitzgerald :)) and always entertaining. For Fitzgerald fanatics like myself, this book is a must, but I am convinced that anyone who takes to "human interest" stories would find themselves engulfed in its pages.
Also recommended: "The Romantic Egoists"...a scrapbook collection put together concerning the lives of the Fitzgeralds. It is packed with pictures and is a wonderful companion to the biography. It was also published by Bruccoli.
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Format: Hardcover
From the preeminent Fitzgerald scholar Matthew Bruccoli, this book's remarkable thoroghness and honesty is refreshing. Bruccoli gives the oft misunderstood Fitzgerald a human, albeit, reverent study, exploring beyond the overemphasized alcoholism into the realms of insecurity and sensitivity that had an indelible effect on Fitzgerald's work. The book reads well, without the burden of overly scholarly analysis, making it suitable reading either for doctoral study or simply for a summer beach day.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book and read it before reading any of the works of F. Scott Fitgerald.

The book opens with an interesting literary hook as we follow the last few hours in the life of Fitzgerald on December 21, 1940. He is an unemployed screen writer living in Hollywood at the apartment of his companion Sheilah Graham. On the previous day, he had symptoms of a heart problem. That morning on the 21st, he was working on "The Last Tycoon." He was sitting in a chair, stood up, grasped the mantlepiece, collapsed, and died at age 44.

That book is one of seemingly dozens of short stories on F. Scott, Zelda his wife, and others. The book is not a seamless story but is a chronoligcal collection of short - almost disconnected - stories about his life and works.

It is an excellent reference book to consult as you read the works of Fitzgerald. I found the book on its own too dry with too many facts and it gives no idea of what the writing was like. It was not until I read "This Side of Paradise" did I understand what all the fuss was about with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it was at that point the present biography came to life. For example, I quote a passage from Chapter 2 of Book I, as Amory sits on the steps of his dorm at Princeton after his first day on campus:

"Now, far down the shadowy line of University Place a white-clad phalanx broke the gloom, and marching figures, white-shirted, white-trousered, swung rhythmically up the street, with linked arms and heads thrown back:

"Going back-going back,
Going-back-to-Nas-sau-Hall,
Going back-going back-
To the-Best-Old-Place-of-All.
Going back-going back,
From all-this-earth-ly-ball,
We'll-clear-the-track-as-we-go-back-
Going-back-to-Nas-sau-Hall!
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent biography, full of a great wealth of detail. In truth, Fitzgerald is a pretty easy biographical subject, because his fiction was so closely based on his own life and experiences and because he wrote so many letters and kept such detailed notebooks and ledgers accounting for his own life. He also had relationships with many people (Zelda, other writers, etc.) who left behind many accounts of him. Still, Bruccoli does an extremely thorough job and the book is very well-written.

I would give it five stars except for an extremely irritating tendency Bruccoli has to be dismissive of almost all of Fitzgerald's short stories. Bruccoli is way too arrogant about pronouncing dozens of the stories F. Scott wrote as being "minor," or "disappointing," or even "embarrassing," while reserving his praise for a select few, such as "May Day" and "The Rich Boy." Personally, having read every one of FSF's currently collected short stories (well over 100 in all), I don't rate "May Day" or "The Rich Boy" very highly, but I love lots and lots of the "commercial" ones Bruccoli dismisses. I think he should leave the assessment of which stories are good up to the reader. Bruccoli's literary analysis -- of Fitzgerald's novels -- is outstanding, but the short stories should not be so dismissed (even if Scott himself at times dismissed them and hated having to write them to earn money).
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