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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's Obits

I was reading the obituaries of F Scott Fitzgerald the other day. I had some time between classes and the college had a very old collection of miscellaneous articles. In there were the New York Times and other papers convering Fitzgeralds death. They were not kind. The NY Times and others lamented how Fitzgerald had squandered his talent. How he had written about topics that were light and frivolous and the spoiled generation of the twenties. They surmised that maybe The Great Gatsby might survive him but that was probably a long shot.

And the other papers were worse. Many of the editors hacked poor Fitz apart. Saying he had some talent but ultimately he was a drunk and he got what he deserved dying at the ripe old age of forty four. They didn't even bother summing up The Great Gatsby accurately calling it a bootlegger story and dismissing his work as a flash in the pan. The real world had real problems and Fitzgerald had essentially written about nothing

And so it went on. They were unanimous in their prediction that he was a minor player in the literary field and that Gatsby had merit but that the author and the book probably would not stand the test of time. Of course Fitzgerald was out of print and out of mind at the time. Their collective jaws would certainly hit the floor at his legacy now and The Great Gatsby's place as a corner stone of our collective literary heritage.

Of course all those editors are dead and forgotten now. The last laugh was Scotts.

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