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Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography Paperback – 13 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (13 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062316958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062316950
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


“Meyers’s compulsively readable, marvelously vivid biography… uncovers a wealth of new details that cumulatively bring into focus a tragic figure torn between the struggle for artistic integrity and the desire to live up to his glamorous image”. (Publishers Weekly)

“Marvelous—clear-sighted, humane and appreciative.” (Paul Theroux)

“Meyers provides us with a dizzying number of anecdotes about Fitzgerald’s dismaying behavior, profligacy, and fear of sexual intimacy and inadequacy, but it is Meyers’ compassionate interpretation of Fitzgerald’s weaknesses and appreciation for his achievements that make this an invaluable and unforgettable portrait.” (Booklist)

“[A] culmination of decades of biographical exploration....Meyers is particularly interested in those areas of Fitzgerald’s life that other biographers have not sufficiently covered.” (Toronto Star)

About the Author

Jeffrey Meyers, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has written fifty-two books, including Samuel Johnson: The Struggle, The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, Orwell: Life and Art, John Huston: Courage and Art, Remembering Iris Murdoch, and Thomas Mann's Artist-Heroes. His books have been translated into fourteen languages and seven alphabets, and published on six continents.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Pamyoola on 28 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
fabulous writer wonderful stories
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Meyers' biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald 3 Nov. 2001
By K. D Kirk - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found Jeffrey's Meyers' biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald dismaying. Not that Meyers' doesn't write well (he does), or capture the essence of Fitzgerald's dissipation, but the book seemed a deliberate hack job. It is largely a continuous stream of references to Fitzgerald's obstinacy, egotism, inferiority, outrageousness, drunkenness and worse. I don't know where anyone got the idea that Meyers' wrote with any compassion in this biography. This work only makes Fitzgerald look pathetic. Of course, in many ways he was...but I see no scholarly effort to recognize the quality and enduring value of much of his work. While they pull few punches themselves, I'd recommend Mizener's The Far Side of Paradise, and Bruccoli's Some Sort of Epic Grandeur for a more balanced perspective.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Must read biography of Fitzgerald 30 Jun. 2000
By Jenn and Dave - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've spent the last six months working my way through Scott Fitzgerald's novels and short stories. It became fairly obvious early on that a lot of what he was writing about in his fiction was autobiographical. I became interested in purchasing a biography so that I could get a feel for how much of his life he actually put into his work. I usually shy away from buying them because I find they are usually sensational or bland and almost never in between, but this book certainly runs against the norm. The many anecdotes (not all of them flattering) Meyer's includes in this biography give great insight into Fitzgerald's world and all of the inner demons that he struggled with within himself, not to mention those of his wife. Where other authors may have focused on his alcoholism, etc., Meyers never loses site of Fitzgerald, the extraordinary writer.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
What Ruined Scott 3 Dec. 2010
By Eric Maroney - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Since his death at 44 in 1940, people have speculated both why Scott Fitzgerald died so young, why he failed to live up to the massive talent he displayed in writing The Great Gatsby, and fundamentally, how it could have been different.

Reading Jeffrey Myers biography Scott Fitzgerald, it becomes apparent that it is impossible to separate all the strands that ruined Scott. He drank, and was not the kind of drinker who could function. His upbringing did little to prepare him for adulthood and its responsibilities. His marriage to Zelda was disastrous to his health and creativity and further propelled his drinking (although he did drink too much before he met her.)

But his profligate lifestyle would have been impossible without money, and he earned this not from his novels or short literary fiction, but from popular writing in magazines like the Saturday Evening Post. A story in the Post, which in the 20s had a circulation of three million, could earn him three to four thousand dollars a story. He made nearly forty-thousand dollars a year, four or five times the amount of an average American family. He felt he needed this money, to keep Zelda in luxury, and to present a picture of himself to the world as the successful artist.

But this dedication to hack writing at the expense of other work, made his art suffer and ultimately diminished him as a writer. Without those massive fees in the 1920s the Fitzgerald juggernaut would have been more difficult to keep moving at its dangerous speed. It might have even saved him.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A profound disappointment 11 Oct. 2002
By Trina T. Brown - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While a good biography should give us insight into what a person was like, Meyers apparently thinks himself qualified to tell us what Fitzgerald was thinking and feeling throughout his life, and those mind-reading attempts ring false.
Fitzgerald once said that all the characters in his novels were based on him. Meyers seems to believe the reverse - that Fitzgerald's personality can be illustrated almost entirely by the characters in his novels. Thus, Meyers provides the reader with a shallow caricature of Fitzgerald - where all his faults are enhanced and the real person underneath is passed over completely.
For a better glimpse of the person F. Scott Fitzgerald was, I strongly recommend F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Finding Fitzgerald 19 Jun. 2005
By Stuart W. Mirsky - Published on
Format: Hardcover
F. Scott Fitzgerald fares rather badly in this biography by Jeffrey Meyers. He comes across as self-absorbed, ego-driven and immature; author of not only a body of respected literary works but of his own downfall and misfortunes.

I'm not familiar enough with Fitzgerald's life to comment on the credibility of this presentation but it rings true enough, even though it does little to enhance the man's reputation. That he could write and was one of the better ones in the America of the twentieth century is beyond dispute. But his works often smack of that same immaturity and self-centeredness that drove him to fritter away his health, his talents and the money he earned from these. His stories are often marred by crass commercialization as he strove, through them, to maintain a lifestyle that was unrealistic and beyond his capacity to maintain.

Zelda, his wife and fellow traveler in the life of dissipation they had jointly adopted, went mad and Fitzgerald himself fell into alcoholism as his literary skills faltered. In the end he was insulting and bumbling his way through Hollywood, struggling to make a comeback as a screenwriter, a milieu for which he seems to have been quite unsuited, and falling more and more deeply into alcoholism. Even after having made something of a financial (if not an artistic) comeback in pre-World War II Hollywood he seemed unable to live within the means this afforded him and continued to fritter away his resources, failing to cut critical expenses (expensive private schools, parties and limousines) and put money aside for the less prosperous periods that might follow.

Meyers' writing, as he describes all this, is a bit dry and I found his frequent repetitions of the same events and quotes throughout the book somewhat tiresome. But on balance he does a decent job of documenting and describing the literary fall from grace of a writer who never seemed to have it in him to grow up in a world that demanded he do just that. One doesn't get much of a sense of the grandeur and accomplishment of Fitzgerald's work here but at least we see the man, however unpalatable that is, in the end.

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