The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Secret Boyhood Diary

Overview

When F. Scott Fitzgerald was fourteen and living in the Crocus Hill neighborhood of St. Paul, he began keeping a short diary of his exploits among his friends, friendly rivals, and crushes. He gave the journal a title page—Thoughtbook of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald of St. Paul Minn. U.S.A.—and kept it securely locked in a box under his bed. He would later use The Thoughtbook as the basis for “The Book of Scandal” in his Basil Lee Duke stories, and brief sections were copied over the years for use by scholars and...

See more details below
Paperback
$10.67
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$12.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $7.44   
  • New (6) from $7.46   
  • Used (2) from $7.44   
Sending request ...

Overview

When F. Scott Fitzgerald was fourteen and living in the Crocus Hill neighborhood of St. Paul, he began keeping a short diary of his exploits among his friends, friendly rivals, and crushes. He gave the journal a title page—Thoughtbook of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald of St. Paul Minn. U.S.A.—and kept it securely locked in a box under his bed. He would later use The Thoughtbook as the basis for “The Book of Scandal” in his Basil Lee Duke stories, and brief sections were copied over the years for use by scholars and even published in Life magazine.

“Are you going to the Ordways’? the Herseys’? the Schultzes’?” Here, for the first time, is a complete transcription of this charming, twenty-seven-page diary highlighting Fitzgerald’s escapades among the children of some of St. Paul’s most influential families—models for the families described in The Great Gatsby. Presented in a simple format for both scholars and general readers alike, The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald includes a new introduction by Dave Page that covers the history and provenance of the diary, its place and meaning in Fitzgerald’s literary development, and its revelations about his life and writing process.

One of the earliest known works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Thoughtbook provides a unique glimpse of Fitzgerald as a young boy and his social circle as they played among the grand homes of Summit Avenue, making up games, starting secret societies, competing with rivals, and (at all times) staying up-to-date on who exactly is vying for whose attention.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Thoughtbook is a fascinating document. You can see the social analyst, the novelist of manners, just beginning to develop.

—James L. W. West III, General Editor, Cambridge Fitzgerald Edition

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
A very short, incomplete diary in which ardent devotees of the novelist might find a glimmer or two of significance. By the standards of even what the editor's introduction terms "juvenilia," this diary or memoir or notes on girls by the 14-year-old "Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald of St Paul Minn U.S.A." is barely marginalia from a boyhood that had yet to turn literary. Though the afterword argues for literary significance in the dialogue, lists and some of the characters, readers will strain to unearth a glimmer of the fiction that would later flower in the tone of the manuscript (considerably shorter than the framing essays, even after padding with period photos). The book deals almost exclusively with what concerns most 14-year-old boys: girls--where he stands with them and they with him. Missing its first seven pages, the "Thoughtbook" has plenty of rankings of who likes whom and why. Early on, the boy writes, "I was more popular with girls than I have ever been befor" [sic--spelling is not his strong suit]. A few months later, "I have two new crushes, to wit--Margaret Armstrong and Marie Hersey. I have not decided which one I like the best. The 2nd is the prettiest. The 1st is the best talker." Talk prevailed, as two weeks later he gushes, "I am just crazy about Margaret Armstrong and I have the most awful crush on her that ever was." Elsewhere, Fitzgerald writes of being third in a girl's ranking of affections but working his way toward first. Such rankings changed as often as the weather, and this "Thoughtbook" is like the weather report of budding romance. Scholars could make use of this material, but it should otherwise interest only Fitzgerald completists.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816679775
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2013
  • Series: Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage Series
  • Pages: 88
  • Sales rank: 460,791
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and spent much of his youth living in the Crocus Hill neighborhood. He went on to become one of the most famous American novelists of the twentieth century, often drawing on his youthful experiences in St. Paul in his stories and novels.

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.

Read More Show Less
    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

Contents

Introduction

Dave Page

The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Modern Transcription of the Thoughtbook

Photographs

Afterword

Dave Page

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)