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Dead Tree Dreams

The Beautiful and The Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Beautiful and The Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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First published in 1922, “The Beautiful and Damned” is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel, which follows upon many of the same themes of his first novel, “This Side of Paradise.” It is the story of Anthony Patch who because of the expectation of inheriting a large fortune from his grandfather is unmotivated to work and floats through various vocations. Anthony seeks escape from his unmotivated life through socializing and an increasing alcoholism. He is in love with Gloria Gilbert, a beautiful young socialite and aspiring actress. The novel addresses a theme common to Fitzgerald’s work, that being the moral decline and directionless lethargy that had consumed the American upper class during the early part of the 20th century. Set during the Jazz Age before and after the First World War, “The Beautiful and Damned” is a brilliant and tragic character study that explores the intricacies of married life and intimacy. Believed to have been based on Fitzgerald’s own relationship with his wife Zelda, the characters of the novel are complex figures that are disproportionately consumed with their pasts unable to act as agents for their own well-being in the present.
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