Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 24, 2019

Appreciating F. Scott Fitzgerald

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 12:05 pm

via Appreciating F. Scott Fitzgerald

6 Comments »

  1. Very kind of you, Louis, thank you.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — April 24, 2019 @ 3:17 pm

  2. A strange side bar to the death of F Scott Fitzgerald was that his friend Nathaniel West along with his wife Eileen McKenney were hurrying back from Mexico after hearing of Fitzgerald’s death, when they were killed in a traffic accident on Dec. 22. in El Centro Calif. Fitzgerald died Dec. 21. Furthermore, they were to fly to New York after Christmas for the opening of the play “My Sister Eileen” which was based on Eileen McKenney.

    Comment by Michael Tormey — April 24, 2019 @ 5:07 pm

  3. Absolutely right about what a dick Hemingway was, particularly in A Moveable Feast. Yeah, he helped strip down American fiction in important ways but once his style was absorbed had little of import to say. Real men don’t run away from charging wounded lions, we’re told. Meanwhile when he and his talented, gorgeous wife Martha Gellhorn were in Spain reporting on the war against fascism, she was ducking bullets at the front while he was drinking scotch and boasting about his exploits in the hotel bar.

    Just as Mark Twain satirized American greed in The Gilded Age while bankrupting himself with harebrained get-rich-quick schemes despite being among the best selling writers in the US and married to a wealthy woman, so too did Fitzgerald fall in love with the notion of great wealth. His lifestyle in France during his most prosperous years was extravagant, his admiration for the Murphys and others of great wealth vast. In his case and in Twain’s, their great insight was clouded by the ethos of The Gilded Age and the 1920s, periods when great fortunes were made and possibilities seemed limitless. Visit Twain’s house in Hartford, Connecticut sometime, an extravagant mansion, and ask yourself why he felt he needed more. Both writers wound up needing to hustle for a buck during their last years. Yet each was among the most brilliant social critics of his day. And the late work produced by each in some respects provides insight into how each processed their fall from prosperity.
    Absolutely right about what a dick Hemingway was, particularly in A Moveable Feast. Yeah, he helped strip down American fiction in important ways but once his style was absorbed had little of import to say. Real men don’t run away from charging wounded lions, we’re told. Meanwhile when he and his talented, gorgeous wife Martha Gellhorn were in Spain reporting on the war against fascism, she was ducking bullets at the front while he was drinking scotch and boasting about his exploits in the hotel bar.

    Comment by Elliot Podwill — April 25, 2019 @ 3:59 am

  4. Fitzgerald’s “fall from prosperity” was well cushioned. While mentioning secretaries whose weekly wage was $12, he himself never earned less than $1,000 a week in Hollywood. Maybe that inclined him to remain on the fence, an observer. This was in some contrast to his good friend Edmund Wilson whose 1930s reporting led him to decry capitalism and sympathize with socialism.

    In his unfinished novel, ‘The Love of the Last Tycoon’, and especially in his notes to it, Fitzgerald finally confronted politics directly. It was hard not to in Hollywood in the depths of the Depression. He notes, “In thirty-four and thirty-five the party line crept into everything except the Sears Roebuck Catalogue”. He envisaged a villainous character forcing drastic wage cuts, “a very definite manifestation of a class war reaching Hollywood.”

    At one point the hero of ‘Tycoon’, Monroe Stahr, (based on Irving Thalberg) orders up a Communist like he would a takeaway dinner. Stahr, a mogul on the lookout for new ‘trends’ wants to observe a specimen. The conversation is hilarious. The fact that Stahr, a non-drinker ends up dead drunk opposite a sober young union organizer might indicate that Fitzgerald felt tyrannical paternalism was on the way out. The writers were organizing and there was even talk of a directors‘ union.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — April 25, 2019 @ 10:56 am

  5. LIke Garcia, I’ve always thought “Tender is the Night” is superior to “The Great Gatsby”. Both reveal the soullessness within early 20th Century capitalism, the self-destructiveness that often accompanies efforts to seek social status within it. If one reads Fitzgerald this way, he was far more political in an intimate, personal way than commonly understood.

    Comment by Richard Estes — April 30, 2019 @ 11:51 pm

  6. I have added a note about F. Scott Fitzgerald at the bottom of the posting I’ve already told you about. That note is called “Sheilah and Scott, and Abe North” and is mainly about Scott’s last three years, which were spent in Hollywood.

    Specifically, it notes his romance with Sheilah Graham, his financial situation (debts, obligations and income), and also the origin of the Abe North character and his significance.

    ALSO, I have added a chronology of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life. 

    The new section is dated 2 May 2019, and appears at the tail end of:

    Appreciating F. Scott Fitzgerald
    23 April 2019
    https://manuelgarciajr.com/2019/04/24/appreciating-f-scott-fitzgerald/

    Enjoy.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — May 2, 2019 @ 6:01 pm


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