F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Composite Biography

Univ. of Minnesota. Jul. 2024. 448p. ed. by Niklas Salmose & David Rennie. ISBN 9781517915858. $29.95. LIT
This biography chronicles the life, works, and times of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940). Each chapter, arranged chronologically, is written by a different scholar and concludes with bibliographic notes. The composite format of this biography renders each chapter unique. Martina Mastandrea illustrates the fast-changing context of the United States during Fitzgerald’s youth; Ross Tangedal shows a young Fitzgerald making connections with high society in Buffalo, NY; Bryant Mangum discusses the author’s artistic apex at the height of the Jazz Age. Readers learn of Fitzgerald’s childhood in Minnesota, the personal and public influences on the author’s writing, flapper culture, the Fitzgerald couple’s trips to France, and Fitzgerald’s alcohol addiction. In addition to The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s other novels and short stories (including “Winter Dreams” and “The Popular Girl”) are contextualized. The book also includes family photographs of the Fitzgeralds and their residences. The material is scholarly, but the writing is accessible.
VERDICT This volume is both a well-researched and multifaceted look at Fitzgerald’s life, works, and world and a social history of the early 20th century. A perfect addition to humanities collections and a great resource for those teaching Fitzgerald’s works.
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