Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.
Scott and his wife Zelda were asked to star in the movie based on This Side of Paradise. This Side of Paradise was Fitzgerald's first published novel.
In 2004 the New York Times serialized the entirety of The Great Gatsby. The metro editions of the paper ran the entire novel over the course of a week.
The chief quality of Fitzgerald's talent was his ability to be both a leading participant in the high life he described, and a detached observer of it. He was not generally recognized as a gifted writer during his lifetime.
He attended Princeton University, where he wrote amateur musical comedies. He left Princeton in 1917 without a degree.
The publication of This Side of Paradise carried a special kind of urgency for Fitzgerald. The previous summer, Zelda Sayre, whom the author had spent several years courting, had broken up with him on the grounds that he couldn’t maintain the life she wanted for herself.
This Side of Paradise was published to great critical success. Zelda soon agreed to marry him and "they embarked upon a tempestuous relationship, riddled with the author’s alcoholism, Zelda’s schizophrenia diagnosis, and the couple’s general inability to cope with celebrity at such a young age."
Fitzgerald started writing for periodicals, publishing stories such as "The Diamond as Big as The Ritz." Fame and prosperity were both welcome and frightening; in The Beautiful and Damned, he describes the life he and Zelda feared, a descent into ennui and dissipation.
"The story of Jay Gatsby's desperate quest to win back his first love reverberates with themes at once characteristically American and universally human, among them the importance of honesty, the temptations of wealth, and the struggle to escape the past. Though The Great Gatsby runs to fewer than two hundred pages, there is no bigger read in American literature."
Baltimore played a major part in the lives of the Fitzgerald's. In Baltimore, Fitzgerald wrote Tender Is the Night, and Zelda finished her novel, Save Me the Waltz.
The stresses of fame and prosperity led Fitzgerald to drink excessively. His wife suffered from mental breakdowns in 1930 and 1932. She spent most of her remaining years in a sanitarium.