Friday, August 30, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Beautiful and Damned, A Review

What was it like to live in the Jazz Age, in particular 1913-1920? Fitzgerald wrote a story about a young couple that answers that question.

The Beautiful and Damned, F.S. Fitzgerald, PD*-WC

The Beautiful and Damned

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned was published in 1922, soon after This Side of Paradise. Capitalizing on the momentum of his novel about college life, he followed with a book on the social mores and lives of the same social strata. Anthony Patch, grandson of a wealthy and aging tycoon, lives a life of leisure and parties during the Jazz Age.

At the beginning of the story, Anthony is 25 years old. He lives on a grand scale with his allowance, while he courts and marries Gloria, his desired Beauty. He promises her a life of ease, when he receives his inheritance. Anthony, Gloria, and their friends are the elite young adults of New York Café Society.

In Europe, war is brewing. Anthony and Gloria seem unable to function without a supporting cast of friends around them every weekend. Left alone, they have very little to say to each other. Each has their moments of infidelity. Yet, they keep returning to the other. Alcohol is a constant factor.

The first part of the novel takes place prior to Prohibition. War interferes, but Anthony is never deployed. Thirty looms on the horizon, but Anthony is still waiting for his inheritance. What happens next and how he copes forms the rest of the novel. Recommended.


Interesting Notes:

The first edition covers of The Beautiful and Damned are illustrated with characters drawn to resemble F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda.

The Beautiful and Damned was serialized in Metropolitan Magazine in 1921 prior to it being published by Scribner's in 1922. This is the second novel by Fitzgerald.

'Bilphism', a term which was concerned with the 'reincarnation of the human soul' was created by Fitzgerald and used in this novel. It was expressed as a belief and was called 'the science of all religions'.


Other novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby, This Side of ParadiseThe Last Tycoon (second favorite), and Tender is the Night (my favorite). Please check the other Fitzgerald reviews if you would like to know more.


Have you read The Beautiful and Damned by Fitzgerald? Any favorites by the author? Did you know this story was serialized prior to its being published? Please share in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!


References: The Beautiful and Damned, wiki F. Scott Fitzgerald, wiki

*Photo cover of The Beautiful and Damned. (PD-WC)

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.