Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is considered a member of the 'Lost Generation,' a group of American literary notables who lived in Paris and other parts of Europe after World War I. He attended college but neglecting his studies and was put on academic probation. After joining the army in 1917, he fell for the love of his life, Zelda Sayer, while assigned to a military camp in Alabama.
Zelda was unwilling to marry due to Fitzgerald's meagre earnings from his work in the advertising business. Determined to win her, Fitzgerald quit his job, put aside his past rejection letters and re-wrote his debut novel, This Side of Paradise. It was published in 1920 and turned him into an overnight success. Zelda followed him up the aisle.
Though his first effort was a success, Fitzgerald was always a jobbing writer. His novels generally sold poorly and most of his literary output, and therefore income, was derived from over 150 short stories that he published in various newspapers and magazines. He earned good money from these short stories but was unable to manage his own finances and was often in debt. Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure and his place among the great writers was not secured until the late 1940s when The Great Gatsby experienced a revival and was widely classified as a remarkable piece of American literature.