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Happy birthday, F. Scott Fitzgerald!

September 24, 2012|by Carolyn Kellogg
  • The young F. Scott Fitzgerald
The young F. Scott Fitzgerald (File )

Today marks the 116th birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Happy birthday!

Fitzgerald's story was filled with highs and lows. His first novel, "This Side of Paradise," put him on the map, but the novel and two short story collections he followed it with failed to hit. When his next book, "The Great Gatsby," was published in 1925, the Los Angeles Times wrote that Fitzgerald's first novel had brought him "premature fame."

The Times reviewer Lillian C. Ford was genuinely impressed by "The Great Gatsby." She wrote:

"The story is powerful as much for what is suggested as for what is told. It leaves the reader in a mood of chastened wonder, in which fact after fact, implication after implication is pondered over, weighed and measured. And when all are linked together, the weight of the story as a revelation of life and as a work of art becomes apparent. And it is very great. Mr. Fitzgerald has certainly arrived."

Fitzgerald was born this day in 1896 in St. Paul, Minn. He was raised in upstate New York, in Syracuse and Buffalo; in Minnesota, after the family moved back there; and in New Jersey, after being thrown out of a preparatory high school. He then attended Princeton, which seemed to set him on a better path.

Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is now considered one of America's most iconic works. During his lifetime he published dozens of short stories and four novels; a fifth, "The Last Tycoon," was published posthumously. He died in Los Angeles in 1940 at age 44, unwell after years of alcohol abuse.


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