The Beautiful and Damned (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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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 Classics:

All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics ...
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Overview

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:

All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593082451
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 1/15/2006
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 35,949
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 5.26 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Biography

The greatest writers often function in multifaceted ways, serving as both emblems of their age and crafters of timeless myth. F. Scott Fitzgerald surely fits this description. His work was an undeniable product of the so-called Jazz Age of the 1920s, yet it has a quality that spans time, reaching backward into gothic decadence and forward into the future of a rapidly decaying America. Through five novels, six short story collections, and one collection of autobiographical pieces, Fitzgerald chronicled a precise point in post-WWI America, yet his writing resonates just as boldly today as it did nearly a century ago.

Fitzgerald's work was chiefly driven by the disintegration of America following World War I. He believed the country to be sinking into a cynical, Godless, depraved morass. He was never reluctant to voice criticism of America's growing legions of idle rich. Recreating a heated confrontation with Ernest Hemingway in a short story called "The Rich Boy," Fitzgerald wrote, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."

The preceding quote may sum Fitzgerald's philosophy more completely than any other, yet he also hypocritically embodied much of what he claimed to loathe. Fitzgerald spent money freely, threw lavish parties, drank beyond excess, and globe-trotted with his glamorous but deeply troubled wife Zelda. Still, in novel after novel, he sought to expose the great chasm that divided the haves from the have-nots and the hollowness of wealth. In This Side of Paradise (1920) he cynically follows opulent, handsome Amory Blaine as he bounces aimlessly from Princeton to the military to an uncertain, meaningless future. In The Beautiful and the Damned (1922) Fitzgerald paints a withering portrait of a seemingly idyllic marriage between a pair of socialites that crumbles in the face of Adam Patch's empty pursuit of profit and the fading beauty of his vane wife Gloria.

The richest example of Fitzgerald's disdain for the upper class arrived three years later. The Great Gatsby is an undoubted American classic, recounting naïve Nick Carraway's involvement with a coterie of affluent Long Islanders, and his ultimate rejection of them when their casual decadence leads only to internal back-stabbing and murder. Nick is fascinated by the mysterious Jay Gatsby, who had made the fatal mistake of stepping outside of his lower class status to pursue the lovely but self-centered Daisy Buchanan.

In The Great Gatsby, all elements of Fitzgerald's skills coalesced to create a narrative that is both highly readable and subtly complex. His prose is imbued with elegant lyricism and hard-hitting realism. "It is humor, irony, ribaldry, pathos and loveliness," Edwin C. Clark wrote of the book in the New York Times upon its 1925 publication. "A curious book, a mystical, glamorous story of today. It takes a deeper cut at life than hitherto has been essayed by Mr. Fitzgerald."

Gatsby is widely considered to be Fitzgerald's masterpiece and among the very greatest of all American literature. It is the ultimate summation of his contempt for the Jazz-Age with which he is so closely associated. Gatsby is also one of the clearest and saddest reflections of his own destructive relationship with Zelda, which would so greatly influence the mass of his work.

Fitzgerald only managed to complete one more novel -- Tender is the Night -- before his untimely death in 1940. An unfinished expose of the Hollywood studio system titled The Love of the Last Tycoon would be published a year later. Still The Great Gatsby remains his quintessential novel. It has been a fixture of essential reading lists for decades and continues to remain an influential work begging to be revisited. It has been produced for the big screen three times and was the subject of a movie for television starring Toby Stephens, Mira Sorvino, and Paul Rudd as recently as 2000. Never a mere product of a bygone age, F. Scott Fitzgerald's greatest work continues to evade time.

Good To Know

In 1937, Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood to pursue a screenwriting career. He only completed a single screenplay Three Comrades during this time before being fired for his excessive drinking.

He held a very romantic view of Princeton before attending the university in 1913. However, his failure to maintain adequate grades or become the football star he dreamed to be lead to an early end to his studies in 1917.

Fitzgerald owes a his name to another famous American writer. He was named after Francis Scott Key, the composer of "The Star Spangled Banner," who also happened to be a distant relative of Fitzgerald's.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 24, 1896
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Date of Death:
      December 21, 1940

Read an Excerpt

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 200 )
Rating Distribution

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(52)

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(46)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 204 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good for a Lit Class

    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 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fitzgerald makes immorality look wonderful.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    A classic must-read

    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...

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    His Best Book

    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.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Beautiful And Damned

    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 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2010

    Beautiful yes and definitely damned.

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Annae Tsututaconda

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2003

    Fitzgerald's Portrait of a Two Tragic Lives is Almost Haunting

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Fitzgerald at his finest

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2012

    excellent

    excellent

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    Interesting

    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.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    Boring character, annoying style

    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.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Lore

    Walks in. "Which equipment shall we use, sir?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Mr. Izzy

    The Titan defeating equupment.

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    Posted July 2, 2014


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    Posted January 23, 2011

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    Posted April 25, 2010

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted December 25, 2011

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    Posted January 8, 2011

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