The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories [NOOK Book]

Overview

The inspiration for the major motion picture starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett?plus eighteen other stories by the beloved author of The Great Gatsby

IN THE TITLE STORY, a baby born in 1860 begins life as an old man and proceeds to age backward. F. Scott Fizgerald hinted at this kind of inversion when he called his era ?a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.? Perhaps nowhere in American ...
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories

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Overview

The inspiration for the major motion picture starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett?plus eighteen other stories by the beloved author of The Great Gatsby

IN THE TITLE STORY, a baby born in 1860 begins life as an old man and proceeds to age backward. F. Scott Fizgerald hinted at this kind of inversion when he called his era ?a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.? Perhaps nowhere in American fiction has this ?Lost Generation? been more vividly preserved than in Fitzgerald's short fiction. Spanning the early twentieth-century American landscape, this original collection captures, with Fitzgerald's signature blend of enchantment and disillusionment, America during the Jazz Age.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440636738
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/26/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • File size: 524 KB

Meet the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University which he left in 1917 to join the army. Fitzgerald was said to have epitomised the Jazz Age, an age inhabited by a generation he defined as ‘grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken’. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their destructive relationship and her subsequent mental breakdowns became a major influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and The Love of the Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work): six volumes of short stories and The Crack-Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces. Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that ‘He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a “generation” … he might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.’

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

Table of Contents

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories
Introduction by Patrick O'Donnell Suggestions for Further Reading A Note on the Text Acknowledgments

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories

Flappers and Philosophers
The Offshore Pirate The Ice Palace Head and Shoulders The Cut-Glass Bowl Bernice Bobs Her Hair Benediction Dalyrimple Goes Wrong The Four Fists

Tales of the Jazz Age
My Last Flappers
The Jelly-Bean The Camel's Back May Day Porcelain and Pink
Fantasies
The Diamond as Big as the Ritz The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Tarquin of Cheapside
"O Russet Witch!"
Unclassified Masterpieces
The Lees of Happiness Mr. Icky Jemina

Appendix Explanatory Notes

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

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    Intriguing

    The story was simple yet insightful. After reading it, I went to see the movie and was pleasently surprised. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, regardless if you have already seen the movie.

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