F. Scott Fitzgerald
Birth/Death Date: 1896-1940
Born In: St. Paul, Minnesota
Fitzgerald was born into a family of descendents from two colonial American families, the Scotts and the Keys. Fitzgerald was named for his renown ancestor, the author of The Star-Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key. The Fitzgerald's were forever financially struggling, this allowed him to obtain an awareness of the possibilities of wealth and it's harsh denial. Fitzgerald's father was an unsuccessful businessman who had come to Minnesota briefly after the Civil War. Fitzgerald was inspired and pushed by his mother, the oldest daughter of an Irish immigrant whose collected fortune came from a wholesale grocer. In 1911 Fitzgerald was sent to a Roman Catholic academy in New Jersey, and in 1913 proceeded to Princeton to participate in the Triangle Club. He left school due to illness halfway through his junior year. He then secured a commission as a second lieutenant in the army. In 1918 he met the coquettish Zelda Sayre, and fell in love. In 1919 he began to work in New York City for an advertising agency while submitting stories to magazines in order to marry and support Zelda. Fitzgerald finally married Zelda in 1920.
Fitzgerald's first two novels, This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned, were great best-sellers. His masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, was never as popular as his first two novels were. The Great Gatsby allowed Fitzgerald to achieve what would elude him for the rest of his career: a comedy and satire of contemporary manners that possesses the most profound personal and social truths.
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