F. Scott Fitzgerald
Bio: Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He would live in St. Paul and then New York until his father was fired from his job forcing the Fitzgerald’s back to Minnesota. At the age of thirteen, F. Scott Fitzgerald had his first work published in the school newspaper. After attending the Newman School, he was accepted into Princeton, where he would focus on writing for various clubs and organizations rather than his studies. He was placed on academic probation in 1917 which led to F. Scott Fitzgerald enlisting in the Army. While stationed at Camp Sheridan in Alabama in 1918, he met Zelda Sayre, his future wife. F. Scott was enamored with Zelda but she would break their first engagement due to F. Scott’s low salary and lack of success to that point.
F. Scott had been trying to become accomplished since his enlistment in the Army where he started his first attempt at a novel originally entitled The Romantic Egotist. He would submit this story to Charles Scribner’s Sons only to have it rejected for revision. By 1919, The Romantic Egotist had become This Side of Paradise and was accepted by Maxwell Perkins at Scribner’s. Before the novel was published in 1920, F. Scott began gaining attention to his various short stories which were written as a way to gain income. Once This Side of Paradise was released, F. Scott became famous overnight. Within one week, he was married to Zelda Sayre.
After This Side of Paradise, F. Scott’s numerous short stories were collected into his first short story collection, Flappers and Philosophers. He would continue writing short stories, mainly for the Saturday Evening Post, and working on his novels. Zelda gave birth to their only child, a girl named Scottie in 1921 and six months later, F. Scott’s second novel, The Beautiful and the Damned was released. This led to his second collection of short stories, Tales of the Jazz Age, and work on the play, The Vegetable. F. Scott believed The Vegetable was to be his crowning achievement which would make Zelda and he financially stable for the rest of their lives. After The Vegetable failed miserably at its tryout, F. Scott continued to write short stories to maintain his income/pay of his debts. He also increased his drinking habits to which he would be famous for. Although an alcoholic, F. Scott always wrote sober, but some days of sobriety were few and far between.
The Fitzgerald’s went to France in 1924 where three major events occurred. One, The Great Gatsby was written. Two, F. Scott met Ernest Hemingway at the Dingo Bar. Three, Zelda has an affair with a French aviator named Edouard Jozan. The Great Gatsby, although praised as a major step upward for F. Scott, did not sell as many copies as was hoped for. In 1927, the Fitzgerald’s returned to America.
It would not be until 1934 that F. Scott’s next novel would be completed and published. It was during this seven-year period that F. Scott’s alcohol consumption increased, Zelda’s erratic behavior lead to breakdowns in 1930, 1932, and 1934, and an intensive writer’s block ensued. F. Scott originally had plans to write a story tentatively titled The Boy Who Killed His Mother, but it never came to fruition. Instead the novel Tender is the Night was completed. It was after the fourth novel was published that the period known as "the crack-up" occurred. From 1935 through 1937, as Zelda was hospitalized for her breakdowns, F. Scott was heavily in debt, unable to produce stories, and was in a perpetual state of drunkenness.
In 1937, Fitzgerald obtained a job as a screenwriter at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). During his tenure, he was able to pay off most of his debts and met a woman named Sheilah Graham. Graham and F. Scott would maintain a relationship even as MGM dropped his option in 1938. From 1938 to his death, F. Scott continued to freelance screen write and write short stories. In 1939, his fifth novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon was started only to never be finished to due a fatal heart attack in Graham’s apartment on December 21, 1940.