Francis Scott Fitzgerald

The Beautiful and Damned

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The Beautiful and Damned is a 1922 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in New York City, the novel's plot follows a young artist Anthony Patch and his flapper wife Gloria Gilbert who become "wrecked on the shoals of dissipation" while excessively partying at the dawn of the hedonistic Jazz Age. As Fitzgerald's second novel, the work focuses upon the swinish behavior and glittering excesses of the American social elite in the heyday of New York's café society.
Fitzgerald modeled the characters of Anthony Patch on himself and Gloria Gilbert on his newlywed spouse Zelda Fitzgerald. The novel draws circumstantially upon the early years of Fitzgeralds' tempestuous marriage following the unexpected success of the author's first novel This Side of Paradise. At the time of their wedding in 1920, Fitzgerald claimed neither he nor Zelda loved each other, and the early years of their marriage in New York City were more akin to a friendship.
Having reflected upon the criticisms of his debut novel This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald sought to improve upon the form and construction of his prose in The Beautiful and Damned and to venture into a new genre of fiction altogether. Consequently, he revised his second novel based on editorial suggestions from his friend Edmund Wilson and his editor Max Perkins. When reviewing the manuscript, Perkins commended the conspicuous evolution of Fitzgerald's literary craftsmanship.
Metropolitan Magazine serialized the manuscript in late 1921, and Charles Scribner's Sons published the book in March 1922. Scribner's prepared an initial print run of 20,000 copies. It sold well enough to warrant additional print runs reaching 50,000 copies. Despite the considerable sales, many critics typically consider the work to be among Fitzgerald's weaker novels. During the final decade of his life, Fitzgerald remarked upon the novel's lack of quality in a letter to his wife: "I wish The Beautiful and Damned had been a maturely written book because it was all true. We ruined ourselves - I have never honestly thought that we ruined each other."
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