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The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble...
The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
In 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald was twenty-five and heralded as the most promising writer of his generation, owing to the success of his first novel This Side of Paradise. Recently married to the girl of his dreams, the former Zelda Sayre, Fitzgerald built upon his sudden prosperity with The Beautiful and the Damned, a cautionary tale of reckless ambition and squandered talent set amid the glitter of Jazz Age New York.
The novel chronicles the relationship of Anthony Patch, a Harvard-educated, aspiring writer, and his beautiful young wife, Gloria. While they wait for Anthony’s grandfather to die and pass his millions on to them, the young couple enjoys an endless string of parties, traveling, and extravagance. Beginning with the pop and fizz of life itself, The Beautiful and the Damned quickly evolves into a scathing chronicle of a dying marriage and a hedonistic society in which beauty is all too fleeting.
A fierce parable about the illusory quality of dreams, the intractable nature of reality, and the ruin wrought by time, The Beautiful and the Damned eerily anticipates the dissipation and decline that would come to the Fitzgeralds themselves before the decade had run its course.
Pagan Harleman studied literature at Columbia College, then traveled extensively in the Middle East and West Africa before receiving an MFA from New York University’s graduate film program. While at NYU she made several award-winning shorts and received the Dean’s Fellowship, the Steven Tisch Fellowship, and a Director’s Craft Award.
From Pagan Harleman’s Introduction to The Beautiful and Damned
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Beautiful and Damned, his second book, when he was only twenty-five. It was published in 1922, just as the Jazz Age was beginning to hit its stride. The war was over, the economy was booming, the skyscrapers were rising, the flappers were vamping, the alcohol was flowing (despite Prohibition), the music was swinging, and the party appeared to be never-ending. America was, as Fitzgerald later said, “going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history and there was going to be plenty to tell about it” (The Crack-Up, with Other Pieces and Stories, p. 59; see “For Further Reading”). Who better to chronicle the splendor of this new age than Fitzgerald, the man who since the rip-roaring success of his first novel had been called its most notorious voice?
Although he was the poster boy for this extravagant age, with his second book Fitzgerald chose to focus not on the splendor of the era, but instead on its spoils, the ugly aftermath of the party. The Beautiful and Damned is a cautionary tale of a young, insouciant, and irresponsible couple, Anthony and Gloria Patch, and their inevitable downward spiral. In the beginning, they are carefree and happy, buoyed by their love for each other and the hope that Anthony will one day inherit his grandfather’s vast fortune. By the end, they have deteriorated to such an extent that both appear to be bitter, empty shells of their former selves. Gloria has lost her beauty and with it her confidence, and Anthony has metamorphosed into a dissolute drunk who behaves like a child. Theirs is a bleak story without any real promise of redemption.
The Beautiful and Damned is Fitzgerald’s least-known novel, yet it provides fascinating insight into his development as a writer and his evolution as a person. Stylistically, it functions as the intermediate step between the unfocused but exuberant vitality of his debut novel, This Side of Paradise, and the superb craftsmanship of his third and in many ways greatest book, The Great Gatsby. While This Side of Paradise is a discursive story with digressions aplenty and The Great Gatsby is a seamless, nearly flawless narrative, The Beautiful and Damned is somewhere in between: a fully fashioned and controlled story that nevertheless often belabors its points and exhausts its themes. Despite its defects, the book is a compelling story that allowed Fitzgerald to explore fundamental questions and themes he developed throughout his fiction: What is the purpose and the cost of maintaining dreams? What motivates failure? What causes people to fall in and out of love? And what makes a character tragic? Tragedy, of course, was a running theme in Fitzgerald’s psyche and his life.
When Fitzgerald began to write The Beautiful and Damned, his life was anything but tragic. His first novel had just been published to wide critical and popular acclaim, selling more than 75,000 copies. He was universally hailed as literary wunderkind and had become one of the highest-paid short story writers in the business. He had finally won the hand of his sweetheart, Zelda, and together they were living the high life in New York, feted everywhere as the glamour couple. At the age of twenty-four, Fitzgerald had achieved all his dreams, and the future looked infinitely bright and promising. Yet within fourteen years he would hit rock bottom and become an alcoholic living in a cheap motel, eating twenty-five-cent meals and washing his own clothes in the sink while his wife was treated for schizophrenia in a nearby sanatorium. By then, unable to write and owing tens of thousands of dollars, overwhelmed by his dire situation, Fitzgerald would crack, suffer a nervous breakdown, and, like his character Anthony Patch, become a broken man.
While there is no simple explanation of how Fitzgerald’s downfall came about, there is no question that by writing The Beautiful and Damned he was expressing his fears of dissipation and, to a certain extent, prophetically anticipating and foreshadowing his own decline. Although he created several memorable heroes, in many ways Fitzgerald was his own greatest tragic figure. In keeping with the credo of his Romantic idols, like John Keats, he lived life at full speed, flinging himself into every experience with frightening energy to enlarge his powers as an artist. He married a woman who zealously asserted her own will and her thirst for life without fear, inhibition, or, at times, regard for him. Fitzgerald always had the capacity to recognize the risks inherent in his own behavior, to acknowledge that he was self-destructive, but he lacked the desire, strength, or ability to change. His resistance to change was perhaps a result of his artistic commitment. Fitzgerald’s first and foremost priority was to experience life, then to write about it. Everything else, even self-preservation, came second. While his lack of caution may in retrospect appear irresponsible, even indeed tragic, he did produce magnificent writing.
Posted July 28, 2009
Fitzgerald is a very talented writer whose works are obviously renowned for many reasons, however his descriptive writing style and ever-present symbolism honestly makes this book better for philosophical reading groups and literature courses rather than for the average person looking for a good read. Someone with a degree in English would definitely be able to appreciate this book. Overall, great symbolism and noteworthy writing style, however there's a definite lack of excitement in the story. Perhaps I shall try reading this again in a few months as some books are better and more meaningful after a second read
13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Fitzgerald, oh, Fitzgerald... this novel is why I fell in love with thee in the first place. The characters in Beautiful and Damned are aesthetically pleasant, yet inwardly grotesque; however, despite their inner sickness one can't help but love and root for them. The way Fitzgerald makes his characters out is truly fantastic. I bet he could probably make the most disgusting character likable, and this is where Fitzgerald's strength lies. He's a wonderfully gifted writer and his essence is shown in this novel beautifully. Drama fills this story, as most of Fitzgerald's stories do, and the romance within is depressing, yet entertaining. I love this book and recommend it to anyone who loves Fitzgerald.
9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 18, 2013
I am a huge fan of The Great Gatsby and, dare I say, I liked The Beautiful and Damned even more! In this book, Fitzgerald has the uncanny ability to make us hate these characters while simultaneously, somehow, caring about what happens to them. You almost feel sorry for Anthony and Gloria and their lack of humility, their vanity, their sinking from the height of youth and social strata to the depths of decadence and despair. Once begun, you won't be able to stop reading and you'll find these characters will haunt you long after the final page has been turned...
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2009
I Also Recommend:
This is Fitzgerald's best book. Best characters, best story, best writing. It is underrated, maligned and misunderstood. Romance has a dark side, and this it. Love is destructive. The question Fitzgerald ponders in this great work is whether love is destructive in and of itself, or is the love destructive because of the times (roaring 20s and the Great Depression). Hard to say. He argues both sides, that's for sure. More so than any other work of literature, The Beautiful and Damned comes closest to my own personal experience of Romance, then and now. I love Gatsby-which has jewel-like construction and has earned its place as masterpiece, but I want to provoke. B&D may be second, but second place tries harder! I love Fitzgerald's writing, but this novel has been either overlooked or maligned that I feel I must state a stronger opinion in favor of it. Then it has this great line-after Gloria and Anthony get a new car-about how the same discussions were, who should drive, and how fast should Gloria go. What man hasn't been in that situation? Also, the idea that each generation has its own definition of beauty is one that is inescapable, and not without consequence. Please Visit: timothyherrick.blogspot.com/
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 30, 2009
At first I was really interested in this story I really liked the characters but I was really disappointed when half way through it I started to get board. Though the story was good at first it never quite picked up.
Although it is a classic I just did not care for it much.
5 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2010
Fitgerald can rip your guts out. The protagonists are not hateful,;their values though are.They are beautiful and they will decay themseves in indolence,irrelevance,privilege and selfishness, booze simply comes along for the ride,greasing the skids into decline and damnation of the spirit and the body and in Anthony's case,a seriously beautiful mind.
I kept wanting to open a window,blow in clean fresh live air and light,life and some kind ofcleansing anger.This book is written y a amaster,it hurts,it is hard,and in it's way,it is beautiful,even if it hurts.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2009
I Also Recommend:
The reviewer, "Lost", made a point which opinionates the academic opinion as well. Critically, this book is one of Fitzgerald's shortcomings. Academically, Gloria is underdeveloped as a charachter, but I disagree with that opinion.
There are` some very serious philosophical musings in the book's beginning but he does slogh off a bit towards the end. The introduction of Gloria in paragraph format is so eloquent and promising that one might expound an entire novel from that theme where Fitzgerald left off. It may be that the author's own self effacement got in the way of objectively writing the book because he spent the entire book belittleing himslef and his way of life. A noble effort indeed.
The title says it all. This is a lament. Beauty, Wealth, and Pedegriee being the source of Damnation in and of themslves alone... the stuff of ages.
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 3, 2003
This book is remarkable in detail and characterization. I love the drama in this book and, at times, Fitzgerald almost makes it poetic. He not only writes a wonderful, fascinating and tragic story, but also incorporates interesting views of life and history. It's a magnificent illustration of the early 1920's era. Anthony and Gloria Patch are intriguing characters whose selfish ambitions and faults weaves intense emotions throughout the book. Even at times when their lives are despicable or depressing, you love them anyway.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2012
F Scott Fitzgerald does a masterful job at portraying the decadence and jaded attitudes of the era. Through Gloria and Anthony Patch, he highlights the discontent and fallow energies of the monied at the turn of the century. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Fitzgerald's style.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2012
Posted February 27, 2012
A beautifully written book, as can be expected from Fitzgerald. The story was not as onsuming or interedtig as hoped, but thought-provoking nonetheless.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 1, 2011
I gave it a fair chance, a hundred pages, before deciding this was not a book for me. The good part, main character Anthony is convincingly and well made. The problems? As a person, I find Anthony so superficial, as intended, that I not only feel no connection to him, but extraordinarily rarely for me, I find him so thoroughly unlikeable that I haven't the smallest desire to find out what happens to him. Which brings me to another complaint. I'm not an action fanatic, but in a hundred pages almost nothing happens beyond finding out Anthony's heritage and lifestyle. The promised female interest has just appeared and at first glance, seems to have no greater depth than Anthony. Final complaint, the writing is so flowery and verbose that it gets in the way. It reads like Fitzgerald must have been paid by the word, with metaphors, similes, and adjectives so pervasive to be annoying to this reader (at random, I picked one of his over-the-top sentences and counted it at 48 words!). If you've read my previous reviews, you'll know that ripping a book is not my style. In fact, I have suspected myself of being too indulgent to written weaknesses. Nonetheless, this is a classic author? A book well reviewed? Hard to fathom. I quit and find no compulsion to return to Fitzgerald.
2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 2, 2014
Posted September 7, 2014
For the real couple the flawed character that becomes alcoholic added to bi polar and depressive did not make for a happy ending fact or fiction he does manage to pare down and be a little more hemingway but hemingway did not have a hapoy ending either (drink and the devil have done for the rest from treasure island) remember few author's books are really good maybe one out if twenty check out the complete collections in nook
0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2014
I had hope for this but the story became the same over and over. Mostly about the couple who married young wasting money partying continually. The wife stuck on her beauty and the husband becoming nothing but an alcholic. I really expected more for the ending but seemed to me Fritzgerald himself tired of it as it was just too quickly done. I'm only sorry to have wasted my time.
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Posted July 2, 2014
Posted July 2, 2014
Posted December 29, 2010
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Posted December 11, 2008
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Posted December 13, 2010
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