This Side of Paradise / The Beautiful and Damned
This Side of Paradise tells the story of Amory Blaine, the only child of wealthy parents, whose journey from adolescence to adulthood follows him from prep school through to Princeton University, where his literary talents flourish, in contrast to his academic failure. A sequence of love affairs with beautiful young women are fatally damaged by the collapse of his family’s fortune, and the novel ends with him poised to face the challenge of making his own way in the world. Composed in an unconventional narrative mode, the novel is a rich fusion of satiric and romance idioms, and found a captivated audience on its publication in1920. It made Fitzgerald rich and famous overnight.
The Beautiful and Damned is a bleaker version of the corrosive power of wealth and its privileges, one of Fitzgerald’s abiding subjects. Anthony Patch, is heir to a huge fortune, whose marriage to the beautiful and indolent Gloria is increasingly shadowed by Anthony’s fall into alcoholism. Though he wins a lawsuit to gain his inheritance of millions of dollars, it is a pyrrhic victory, for he is now a physically and morally broken man.
About 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 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.'