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The Disenchanted (Allison & Busby Classics) by [Schulberg, Budd]
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The Disenchanted (Allison & Busby Classics) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

'[Manley Halliday ] is a three-dimensional creation who will haunt the imaginations of all who have the good fortune to be coming for the first time to this remarkable novel.' Anthony Burgess

About the Author

Budd Schulberg grew up in Hollywood, his father being one of the founders of the Hollywood film industry. His novels include the legendary What Makes Sammy Run?, On The Waterfront, The Disenchanted, The Harder They Fall, Everything That Moves, two collections of short stories and a memoir. He died in 2009.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1813 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (29 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BOE1DF2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #479,784 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"I like Budd Schulberg very much but I felt his book was grave robbing."
(Hemingway- Letter to Arthur Mizener 2.1.1951)

"First Schulberg writes... something that really balls up everything about Scott and Zelda. I never saw Scott in that stage of his life. But the way Zelda is handled makes the whole thing rather pointless. "
(Hemingway-Letter to Malcolm Cowley April 1951)

As most readers will know this novel is a heavily fictionalised version of Scott Fitzgerald's last days when working in Hollywood. By then he was struggling with the worst stage of alcoholism and a very sick man. I have always found it hard to credit that anyone could survive the excesses of the 1920's with body and soul still attached and their creative talent still extant, and I have similar doubts about the appalling circumstances that Schulberg so vividly describes. The 'Old Business' flashback chapters, interspersed within the main narrative, are particularly interesting, as are the comments on the differing social attitudes in the 30's compared with the preceding decade. Perhaps the novel is a little too long, leaving the reader playing catch-up with events, but the intensity of the style is gripping enough. There is a lot available to read about the between war years and the contribution made by Fitzgerald Hemingway and many other writers to our appreciation of those times. "The Disenchanted" is on the melodramatic side.
With the 1920's writers once more in vogue I can recommend Arthur Mizener's 1949 biography of Scott Fitzgerald "The Far Side of Paradise". Much has been written since then and in his preface to the 1957 edition Mizener admits to having failed in his portrait of Zelda. But he does capture a feeling for that now very distant age that was, of course, more fresh at the time.
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Format: Paperback
Praise to Allison and Busby for reprinting this neglected classic in Britain.

Budd Schulberg achieved fame for writing On the Waterfront. As a young man, he idolised F. Scott Fitzgerald. Imagine how he felt when, as a young writer in Hollywood in the 1930s, he was partnered with his hero to work on film scripts.

But there were problems. Some were generational (30s blue collar radicalism vs 20s hedonism). Some, the most profound, were personal: Schulberg learned the hard way that meeting your hero - especially when he's become a gonzo alcoholic and 'spiritually OD' - isn't always best. He found that he was entranced even as he was repelled. That ambivalence forms the core of this novel, and breathes life into its pages.

A record of disenchantment, it does not despise wonder, and it is fair. 'Strange', the main character muses, 'how the decade that had made a virtue of irresponsibility produced more responsible artists than any American decade before or since.' It gives Fitzgerald's stand-in his due, saving him all the best lines: ('Readers want a sharp edge but they don't want to hear the grinding of an axe.')

You read it not just for what it says about fame, integrity and survival - though it is instructive on all three counts - but because it as moving and as true as any biography.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best View of Fitzgerald Ever Written 26 May 2002
By Wendy Kaplan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Written in 1950, "The Disenchanted" is the thinly disguised story of F. Scott Fitzgerald in his alcoholic decline, when life had overtaken him to the point that his genius could no longer be expressed in the only way he knew how: his writing.
When Budd Schulberg was at Dartmouth College, he was assigned to accompany the fabled Fitzgerald while the great man made a stab at writing a screenplay for Hollywood. As Fitzgerald afficionados well know, this humiliating attempt at regaining his literary glory was a disaster for Fitzerald, and, as we see in this fictionalized account, quite an eye-opener for the impressionable young Schulberg.
What struck me most about the book was the purity of the writing, and the intensity with which the author expresses the two stories within: one about the young man's hero worship that turns to pity; the other about the disintegration of a genius. I have never again read such a moving account of the tragic relationship between Zelda and F. Scott, or the impact their relationship had on themselves and others.
Because of "The Disenchanted," which I first read as a preteen, I turned to F. Scott Fitzgerald and read everything he had ever written. I believe that my understanding of his works and his life were and are rooted in Budd Schulberg's moving and brilliant book, and if I could have thanked him in person, I would have done so, a thousand times over.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life does not take positions 21 May 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read it - and was amazed how it crept in slowly and overwhelmed me. This is the story about a writer. It is difficult to explain in a short review why this story is so fascinating, there are a lot of details involved in demonstrating author's position. The hero lives, loves, and loses his love in a most unexpected, prosaic - and that is why very life-like - fashion. Just his charming wife eventually becomes an alcoholic, a hysterical, unpleasant woman. He doesn't see the person he loves in her anymore. But he misses that person so much... This is his tragedy. But it is not the plot of the book. During the action of the book, this author, former success, but broke after Great Depression years, takes on a job writing second hand script, which he cannot even make himself to begin. He is there, among commercially oriented "artists" of Hollywood mass-production, with whom he is highly incompatible. The main plot of the book takes three or four days, but excursions into the past are numerous. During his job, the hero gets drunk (he is somewhat unbalanced one, like maybe all writers - but in constrast to his wife, "reasonably" unbalanced, like so many of us), keeps telling his story to his young collegue, and eventually dies from mixture of diabetes and frozen toes. The book is very complicated, and full of details. I do not think, the author takes any position, except one: LIFE is very complicated, full of details, full of practical irony, and it DOES NOT TAKE POSITIONS either. There is no particular plot in life, and heros turn outcasts and the other way around without any system. We people are very complicated ones, and almost noone knows his reasons for doing things - unless you believe in Freud, and even so, you can find a dozen of ways to interprete - and ingenious writers are the most complicated breed. In addition, this book is full of phrases, that can become eternal quotations. Such as (not exact quotation, just how I remember) "Never does man feel so abandoned in America, as when he goes nowhere in particular on Monday morning" I enjoyed this book a lot
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their Own Season 19 Aug. 2008
By Daniel Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, published in 1950, is the best book on Scott Fitzgerald I've ever read, and I've read the most acclaimed autobiographies. Schulberg, who is still alive at 94, by the way, as of this writing, somehow manages, with consummate skill and pathos, through the lengthy, inebriated flashbacks herein, to capture the life of Scott and Zelda at their zenith in the 1920s as no other writer (of whom I'm aware) has:

"Even though he was quite sure of what was ahead, a vestigial, irremovable romanticism hurried him on. His mind's eye, incurably bifocal, could never stop searching for the fairy-tale maiden who made his young manhood such a time of bewitchment, when springtime was the only season and the days revolved on a lovers' spectrum of sunlight, twilight, candlelight and dawn." (p. 127 in my copy)

Somehow, in Schulberg's short, disastrous time he spent with Fitzgerald, he came to feel a profound sympathy for the artist that time (for a time) had forgotten, so much so that he is able to cast a light on the young couple (as he transmits in the delirious flashbacks) that it's difficult to believe he was only six in 1920. None of the other reviews here comment on the effect this had on Schulberg as a man and a writer. Before he met Fitzgerald, he was a left-wing, socialist ideologue who regarded Fitzgerald and his whole generation as "decadent." He began to rethink later, to the point of "naming names" to the House Unamerican Activities Committee and to writing the award-winning screenplay for "On the Waterfront."

What has this to do with his encounter with Fitzgerald? Near the end of the book is this passage: "Was it possible - and here heresy really struck deep - for an irresponsible individualist, hopelessly confused, to write a moving, maybe even profound, revelation of social breakdown?" The answer is, of course: "Yes." Until he met Fitzgerald, this would have been, well, "heresy."

I have a few quibbles with the book, such as the slurred idiom he lends to the drunken Fitzgerald. It kept reminding me of the older brother, Jamie, in O'Neil's play "Long Day's Journey Into Night." But these qualms are minor compared with overall impression of the irresponsible, besotted, dying Fitzgerald unwilling to let time have its way with him, for

"Lovers are their own season and their own time."
3.0 out of 5 stars The author's reach exceeded his grasp 7 Mar. 2015
By artanis65 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the third book by Budd Schulberg I've read, after "The Harder They Fall" and "What Makes Sammy Run?", both of which I preferred to this one. Schulberg's strength is that he is very good at portraying worlds that are lost to us today. When you read "The Harder They Fall," you can well imagine that's what the seedier side of New York City was like in the 1940's. And, in fact, the portrayal of the roaring '20's and the struggling '30's is the best thing about "The Disenchanted." The novel is meant to be a character study of a jazz age author, obviously F. Scott Fitzgerald, both during his heyday and during the latter stages of his career after he's become a run-down alcoholic. Schulberg doesn't do character quite as well, and I found the protagonist's irresponsible wife especially annoying. The main character is unsympathetic as he's meant to be, and you want to take him by the collar and shake some sense into him. As his Fitzgerald character floats off into his reveries, Schulberg also experiments with impressionistic language which I thought was mostly unsuccessful.

Basing a novel around an unlikable character is difficult, and I don't think "The Disenchanted" wholly succeeds. I don't regret reading it and would rate it as a slightly above average novel, but it wouldn't be the first book I read by this author, and I probably won't go back to it as I have some of his other books.
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes me scarred of growing old 31 Aug. 2013
By Steve Brooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Manley Halliday is a thinly veiled fictionalization of F. Scott Fitzgerald. You can feel the torture that Fitzgerald must have felt after the Great Gatsby. After Gatsby, he was, to everyone else, past his prime. His greatest success also marked the beginning of a long decline. Through Halliday, Schuldberg presents the torture of measuring every idea, every sentence against an early pinnacle. Anything he did later would, comparatively, be a failure. So why do anything. It is paralyzing.

The popularity and fame of a great work is only partly the author's doing. Skill is required, but not sufficient on its own. Forgetting part of success is luck creates the paralyzing expectations of early success. This seems common. Most of us fail to age well.

It is hard not to draw the same conclusion as Shep, the young screen writer assigned to work with Manley on a new screenplay. Great artists are flawed. Inspiring art is part luck. The power politics are unavoidable; being your own man is rare. We hate to admit it, but most of us are whores. Victor Milgrim, the movie producer, represents the bosses whose approval we seek. They aren't great, they are powerful.

The moral of Disenchanted is how ugly surrendering is. Except for a lover and friend, no one really cares. When you are no good to them, they will ignore you. Disenchanted is also a warning of external motivation; seeking fame rather than self actualization.
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