Apropos of yesterday’s reflections on F. Scott Fitzgerald, a friend writes:
I have read Great Gatsby three times and still can’t feel why it slays people. In some funny way I think it is a guy book not a girl book. (I like Tender best.)
But Fitz’s life–that moves me! He had the guts to face his deterioration and write about it; to the end of his life he remained kind to other writers, and generous even to pricks like Hemingway; his naked admiration for their work and his appreciation for what it took from them to produce it; his never joining an ideological tong to protect his reputation, his never going left; his saying ‘life is a cheat and the conditions are those of defeat and the only thing that stands and redeems is work’ ; his love for the Murphys, for every excellent character he met; his admission of his failures; his attempt to make it work in hollywood; his note taking on thalberg; his brave open heart. I know he was an ass, but he was a wonderful endearing ass and in the end his life really did have some epic grandeur.
I just had to hold high the Stand Up for Scott Fitzgerald banner today.
I love this, and sort of agree (except about Gatsby!). The very last act of Fitzgerald’s life was edifying, and I hadn’t finished reading Matthew Bruccoli’s biography when I wrote that posting. But boy, did it take him a long, squalid, pathetic time to get there….