F Scott’s last works to be re­leased

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

THE fi­nal un­pub­lished short sto­ries of F Scott Fitzger­ald, whose book The Great Gatsby pro­vided an iconic de­pic­tion of the ex­cesses of Amer­ica’s Jazz Age, will see the light in April 2017, 80 years af­ter they were writ­ten. Scrib­ner, a Si­mon & Schus­ter im­print, said it will pub­lish I’d Die for You, a col­lec­tion of sto­ries that were con­sid­ered too con­tro­ver­sial for print when he penned them in the 1930s.

Like a char­ac­ter in one of his books, Fitzger­ald had a short and tragic life, dy­ing in 1940 at the age of 44 af­ter strug­gling for years with his own al­co­holism and his wife Zelda’s men­tal ill­ness.

In his fi­nal years, he wrote sev­eral sto­ries and sub­mit­ted them to ma­jor pub­li­ca­tions, but was re­peat­edly turned down by ed­i­tors who said Fitzger­ald’s work was sim­ply too provoca­tive for the times.

“Rather than per­mit changes and san­i­tiz­ing by his con­tem­po­rary ed­i­tors,” Scrib­ner said on its web­site, “Fitzger­ald pre­ferred to let his work re­main un­pub­lished, even at a time when he was in great need of money.”

Gatsby, published in 1925, had cap­tured the loos­en­ing mores and eco­nomic ex­tremes of a time the au­thor him­self dubbed “the Jazz Age”.

“It was an age of mir­a­cles,” he wrote. “[I]t was an age of ex­cess.”

The book was praised by con­tem­po­raries like TS Eliot and Willa Cather, but its sales fell short of his ear­lier This Side of Paradise and The Beau­ti­ful and the Damned leav­ing Fitzger­ald in what he called “great de­pres­sion”.

The stock mar­ket col­lapse of 1929 and the pub­lic’s in­creas­ing turn to ra­dio and movies in­stead of books fur­ther deep­ened his de­pres­sion. He and Zelda con­stantly fought, and her men­tal health de­te­ri­o­rated.

Fitzger­ald died in 1940 af­ter his third heart at­tack, and the New York Times cited po­ten­tial never fully reached.

Only af­ter his death did the book en­joy re­vived pop­u­lar­ity.

More of his books are now sold each month than dur­ing his en­tire life­time; they are stan­dard fare in high school and uni­ver­sity lit­er­a­ture classes.

As Fitzger­ald him­self once wrote, “An au­thor ought to write for the youth of his own gen­er­a­tion, the crit­ics of the next, and the school­mas­ters of ever af­ter­ward.” Gatsby as ev­i­dence of

Photo: Shut­ter­stock

Un­pub­lished work from the late au­thor, who passed away in 1940, will be re­leased in April.

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