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This Side of Paradise (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – April 12, 1996


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (April 12, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486289990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486289991
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fitzgerald is having a big year (see News, LJ, November 1, p. 16). Not only were three scholarly titles published to celebrate his recent centenary (LJ 9/1/96), but this, his first novel, has now entered into public domain. Publishers are quick to take advantage of the opportunity, and two other editions of This Side have already appeared (Classic Returns, LJ 4/15/96). Though the most no-frills of the bunch, this version is also by far the cheapest.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920) was an immediate, spectacular success and established his literary reputation. Perhaps the definitive novel of that "Lost Generation," it tells the story of Amory Blaine, a handsome, wealthy Princeton student who halfheartedly involves himself in literary cults, "liberal" student activities, and a series of empty flirtations with young women. When he finally does fall truly in love, however, the young woman rejects him for another.
After serving in France during the war, Blaine returns to embark on a career in advertising. Still young, but already cynical and world-weary, he exemplifies the young men and women of the '20s, described by Fitzgerald as "a generation grown up to find all gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken."


More About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the major American writers of the twentieth century -- a figure whose life and works embodied powerful myths about our national dreams and aspirations. Fitzgerald was talented and perceptive, gifted with a lyrical style and a pitch-perfect ear for language. He lived his life as a romantic, equally capable of great dedication to his craft and reckless squandering of his artistic capital. He left us one sure masterpiece, The Great Gatsby; a near-masterpiece, Tender Is the Night; and a gathering of stories and essays that together capture the essence of the American experience. His writings are insightful and stylistically brilliant; today he is admired both as a social chronicler and a remarkably gifted artist.

Customer Reviews

The whole book Amory the main character seems to be out to "find himself".
christian Benedi
I love Fitzgerald most for his way with words, and the use of both poetry and script along with prose truly showcase his brilliance.
A Social Scientist
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the best books I've read, period.
tribe1@erols.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 146 people found the following review helpful By David A. Bede on October 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
After 80 years, what can be said about Fitzgerald's first novel that hasn't already been said? The first thing that struck me on reading this was the timelessness of its subject matter, no matter how dated the setting is. The Ivy League of Fitzgerald's indifferent hero, Amory Blaine, is a thing of the past, with only the faintest reminders of its aura of American royalty remaining today. Reading about Amory's days at Princeton is a bit like looking at the ancient photographs of 19th century football teams that every university seems to have on display in some corner of the campus, with the added twist that most of those long-ago jocks were presumably the sons of bankers and senators. And yet, Fitzgerald's depiction of a whirlwind of exhilaration, alienation, eagerness for the future and a sense that it should all be more meaningful is still all too recognizable to those of us who are just a few years out of college. So like all the best fiction, the story works both on a historical and a contemporary level.
Amory isn't the most sympathetic of protagonists. Coming from a non-aristocratic but quite cushy background, he's all you would expect from a Fitzgerald hero: full of himself, indifferent to the less fortunate, somewhat lazy, and at once condescending to and inept with women. But this is a story of young adulthood in the last gasps of the pre-World War I upper-crust, and Amory is the perfect vehicle for illustrating the youth of that time and place. Although the relative lack of details provided about Amory's experience in the war is odd, it adds to his Everyman quality for the generations since his, all of which have had their own reasons for a bleak outlook at some point even if few could match the sheer trauma of 1917-18.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By John Martin on March 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels are a one trick pony in the sense that he writes about the same time period (the 1920's), the same kind of people (rich or successful Americans) and protagonists who suffer the same fate (men whose ultimate failures are the result of their own shortcomings and the influence of women). His works are also highly autobiographical. Thus to read Fitzgerald with understanding one should start at the beginning (This Side of Paradise), move to the full bloom of his talent (The Great Gatsby) and culminate at the end (Tender is the Night). It would help to read a good biography along the way. The other option is to just read Gatsby which is one of the finest American novels ever written.

This Side of Paradise is his first novel and here we see both the promise of the character, Amory Blaine, and the author. On the very first page of the novel Fitzgerald displays his talent for words in his description of Amory's mother: "All in all Beatrice O'Hara absorbed the sort of education that will be quite impossible ever again; a tutelage measured by the number of things and people one could be contemptuous of and charming about; a culture rich in all the arts and traditions barren of all ideas in the last of those days when the great gardener clipped the inferior roses to produce one perfect bud." This lengthy sentence, despite its seeming awkwardness, tells us all we need to know about Beatrice and suggests that the son will share the same qualities. Other examples of Fitzgerald's facility with words follow. On page 45 he describes Isabelle thusly: "She paused at the top of the staircase. The sensations attributed to divers on springboards, leading ladies on opening nights, and lumpy, husky young men on the day of the Big Game, crowded through her.
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Candace Scott on June 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This was one of my favorite books when I was 15 years old. I read it several times and carried it with me around the dreary halls of the oppresive, boring land called High School. Even as a kid I sensed Fitzgerald's amazing writing gift: his effortless way of painting a visual picture in the mind of the reader. He was always extremely funny, off-beat and his charactizations are usually on the mark. Though Amory Blaine's psyche wanders a trifle after the first hundred pages, it's impossible not to gravitate towards him, the things he says and the stunts he pulls.
After 25 years I picked up the book again recently. Dusting off my old copy, I re-read the pages that had so captivated me as a teenager. Time dulls many things and people change. But I still love the book and think it's a brilliant first novel. Though it's sappy in spots and it definitely lags at the end, Fitzgerald still had a beautiful ability to harness the emotions of the reader into a world now vanished. It's not his most complete or mature work by a wide margin, but it matters not. This is still a great book, especially for young people or those still a kid at heart.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By "mi22" on June 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading some of these reviews has proven to be depressing - in the sense that everyone is focusing on the youthful 'flaws' of this novel. Perhaps it is not comparable in brilliance to Gatsby - but kids-Fitzgerald was a rarest of species-he was a literary genius and Gatsby was his masterpiece! 'This Side'...may have been his first attempt out but never the less a marvelous portrait of being young in the 20th Century. It's shameful that people constantly compare this story to Gatsby, his Sistine Chapel of novels. No, this is simply a terrific story - and it truly is. Amory Blaine is an exceedinlgy likeable protagonist(something all the 'young hip'writers of today seem to forget to have), his images are portraits and his prose are just beginning to blossom. Indeed, this a youthfully 'flawed' novel by a young genius - which still equals an excellent work of fiction. - Oh, and if one reads this book and does not like Amory Blaine, that someone either forgot what it was to be young - or simply doesn't want to be reminded. Ciao.
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