Monday, April 1, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald - This Side of Paradise

In a time when class distinction determined how you would marry . . . comes a story about a young man at one of the Ivy League schools, Princeton.


 
This Side of Paradise cover, by F.S. Fitzgerald


This Side of Paradise


Fitzgerald started writing about the adventures of Armory Blaine at Princeton at approximately the same time he enlisted, in 1917. He attended Princeton between 1913-1916. The war ended before he could embark for Europe. While at Princeton, he gained membership in one of the better clubs, and wrote articles for the campus paper.

Armory Blaine, the main character in This Side of Paradise, partipates with reckless abandon in his college years at Princeton. Poetry readings, drama productions, and drunken escapades into nearby towns kept him busy. During this time, women were becoming more bold - kissing, smoking and ignoring the rules of their Victorian mothers.



This Side of Paradise, Library book, pub. UK


For those who like poetry, Fitzgerald has included many verses. There is a great chronology of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life in the front of the book. This Side of Paradise was published on March 26, 1920. The first printing sold out. A few days later, Scott Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre in New York on April 3, 1920.

Two other titles by Fitzgerald are The Great Gatsby, and Tender is the Night.  Summary: I preferred Tender is the Night.

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Have you read any of Fitzgerald's books? Does the time period, late '1800s - early 1900s', interest you?
Please share in the comments and thanks for visiting.

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References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Scott_Fitzgerald  F. Scott Fitzgerald


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Side_of_Paradise This Side of Paradise

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64 comments:

  1. I've read The Great Gatsby a couple of times. I liked Scott's writing. He tends to be "raw" like Hemingway. More visceral, less metaphor. I really need to study more of the both of them over the summer.

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    1. I'm catching up on my classics, too, Anne. I try to read one every third book. I enjoyed Tender is the Night better than this one.

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  2. oh yes, when i was a young girl, i was a big big fan of his---did you hear about the princeton lady, in the news the last couple of day and what she was saying about finding a husband at the college :)

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    1. No, I didn't see that, Lynn. I hope it wasn't about the idea that women only go to college to find a man. . .

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  3. I've only read The Great Gatsby. But it's such a cool era to read about.

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    1. Things always seem cooler in retrospect, don't they? Fitzgerald writes about a young man's angst very well in this one.

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  4. Sorry, I haven't read any of his books.

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    2. One day, Alex, you might have time to try reading one of the Lost Generation authors.

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  5. I love that era. Love love love it. Regrettably, I've never actually read Great Gatsby. Always meant to. Some day. The new movie looks fab tho!

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    1. Yes, The Great Gatsby is a favorite with a lot of people.

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  6. yes, I have read some of his books, but not this one. Is it available? I like to read about Princeton since I lived there when I was young and crazy.

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    1. The library copy I read was from the UK, Inger. But our local library had a copy.

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  7. This is my favorite F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. It's very unconventional with its multiple forms in a single novel. It's lovely to see you profile it, D.G.

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    1. Yes, Fitzgerald was very creative in this novel. Evocative words and poetry.

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    2. Well, here I am commenting on your review. (Knocks on side of head.)

      It scares me to think of how much we are incapable of retaining sometimes ...

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  8. I've only read The Great Gatsby. Must work on the actually. Enjoy his writing very much.

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    1. Gatsby appeals to a lot of people and is a good introduction to Fitzgerald's writing.

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  9. I like reading books set in the late 1800s/early 1900s for the changes in society they usually explore, at least to some degree. There were a lot of new things happening in that era.

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    1. Victorian curiosity and the rage for invention and science, did make this an interesting time, Golden Eagle.

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  10. I like that time period depending on the setting. I don't really like the big city settings though.

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  11. I'm kind of ashamed to admit this, but here goes: I never finished Gatsby.

    It was assigned in high school, but like most assigned reading materials it was shunned in favor of my own reading choices, largely Stephen King but also some Tom Robbins my senior year (an author who, coincidentally, I learned about from my junior year English teacher).

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    1. I diverged from my classics reading in college, discovering American and European authors. I read S. King much later.

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  12. I've read the Great Gatsby. I do like that time period. I've never read This Side of Paradise. I should put it on my list.

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    1. You'll like it if you like poetry, and learning about the lifestyles of college men at the turn of the century. Women were just starting to be independent. . .

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  13. I'm ashamed to say I have yet to read any of F. Scott's books. :) I should probably start with this one.
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Read the blurbs first, this book takes place prior to Tender is the Night. You may like one time period more than the other.

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    2. Tender is the Night it is then. I shall have to look it up!
      Thanks!
      Nutschell
      www.thewritingnut.com

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    3. See my review of that one at the link above, nutschell. It's an interesting book. Zelda wrote a book about this time as well.

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  14. I have read Fitzgerald. I enjoy his work and find his life fascinating.

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    1. He did have an interesting life, partly reflected in this book. It's unfortunate he died so young.

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  15. I haven't read his work, but he's one of those artists who are so established in history that it's easy to forget I haven't. I'd like to some day. So many writers, so little time.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. That's right, so many writers, so little time. So, choose your classics carefully, some of them are fun to read.

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  16. Other than Benjamin Button and Gatsby (have you seen the movie trailer?), I haven't read much of his work -- but this one sounds worthy of adding to my reading queue. I should expand my horizons beyond spec-fic, right?

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    1. No, haven't seen the movie trailer yet, Milo. But I remember seeing the Robt Redford incarnation of Gatsby. So I'd probably want to compare.

      You might like This Side of Paradise. Give it a try, it's a man's tale of college life.

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  17. This is my absolute favorite time period. I often wondered what it must have been like to be in Paris with Fitzgerald, Hemingway and all the others. It's one of the reasons why I want so badly to go to Paris. Midnight in Paris is one of my most favorite films just because of the subject. I loved all of Fitzgerald's stories.

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    1. I'll meet you at 12-midnight, Melissa, at the Cafe Flore or Maxim's. We'll hop into that limo from the past and go talk to these guys. I love Midnight in Paris, too!

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  18. Sounds like a really interesting book.

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    1. It is Kerri, because you get a peek at the customs, social expectations and ideas of a time 100 yrs in the past.

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  19. I was stunned to see Milo mention FSF wrote Benjamin Button. I adore that movie, although now that I've read up on it, I don't think I would have liked the short story version.
    I'm glad you've found an author who pleases and inspires you! :-)

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    1. It's surprising what we discover when we research the authors.

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  20. Tender is the Night is one of my favorites, as is Fitzgerald's writing. There's a rawness, almost an urgency, that appeals. I'm a big fan of this period. Paris seemed alive, pulsating with energy. And women had spirit and weren't afraid to push the envelop. It's all more organized today, but something's lacking--perhaps the spirit?

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    1. I agree, Kittie, but methods of getting your writing out there were much slower. They needed the spirit or the spirits. . .

      I think Paris will always have that undefinable essence.

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  21. I've never read any of Fitzgerald's books I'm afraid. But I think I'd enjoy reading about this time period when women were starting to "break the rules" and living life a little more boldly.

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    1. Fitzgerald and Hemingway both wrote about this time period, but Fitzgerald wrote of the emotions and the women of that time very well. I recommend Tender is the Night first, or Moveable Feast by Hemingway.

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  22. TENDER IS THE NIGHT is the best of his works to me. MOVEABLE FEAST is a great Hemingway classic, too. I would love to enter the movie, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS to rub shoulders with Fitzgerald and Heminway! :-)

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    1. Well, you can join Melissa and I, we're meeting at the Cafe Flore and waiting for that limo. I think Moveable Feast made me like Hemingway more, it showed an early vulnerable side. Anything can happen in Paris. . .

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  23. The Great Gatsby is my favorite -- especially the last page. A Moveable Feast is the only book where Hemingway seemed happy -- young, with a new baby, wife, and then things changed.

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    1. I agree with you, loverofwords, A Moveable Feast showed a different side of Hemingway. The Paris Wife gives a different view. Thanks for visiting.

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  24. I love the old-school cover art on that first edition!

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  25. Just stopping by again to thank you for your comments on my journey through life in these United States. Where are you from originanlly?

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    1. Hi Inger. I'll answer on your blog, as well. I'm enjoying reading about your life in the US, which is where I'm from.

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  26. Hi,DG,

    I love Fitzgerald... Studied him in college... Read. Gatsby, of course , and Tender is the night. Never read This Side of Paradise though. It sounds like a good read.

    Yes, I love all times in history and in particular the 1880,s to early 1900.s... I particularly love the art , architecture and furnishings of that time period!

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    1. You might like it Michael. It's a college coming of age story set in the early 1900s.

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    1. Well, MJ, I found The Last Tycoon yesterday and will be starting that soon. I keep finding these Fitzgerald books at the library when I'm not even looking.

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  28. I love Fitzgerald. And even though I've read the Great Gatsby several times and love it, I still find all the characters despicable!

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    1. Fitzgerald wrote about shallow society types, so that's not surprising Julie. It's the crowd he knew best.

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  29. I haven't read Fitzgerald, but I love that period. I've read a lot of the old Russian writers, who(m?) I absolutely love, (my fave is Chekov..love him!...and Dostoyevsky,what a tortured soul he was) and Oscar Wilde, who I adore. One day I will read Fitzgerald! I feel I must to be considered 'well read'...plus I love how you write about him and his work. Very compelling. I did see Benjimen Button and loved it..does that count? lol!

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    1. I love Oscar Wilde, too, have you read the Dorian Gray story? We paid our respects at his monument in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. (last years' W post for the A to Z)

      Any Fitzgerald writing counts, of course. Of the Russians, I've only read Ayn Rand and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

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  30. I think that must have been a fascinating time. My mother wasn't born for another 5 years. My MIL was an enfant. But life was more defined and structured. Often wonder what I'm doing in this crazy new millennium.

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    1. Yes, me too. I can imagine we'd feel very much out of place if transported back to that time.

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