SCOTT FITZGERALD, CRITIC. I have been reading Bryant Mangum’s edition of THE BEST EARLY STORIES OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD. Fitzgerald had remarkable range very early. It’s startling to find such wisdom in a young man who went on to lead such a troubled life. From the beginning, Fitzgerald combined lyricism with analytical distance. The Biographical Note contains a brilliant sentence which summarizes Fitzgerald’s writing as well as his life: “It was as if all his fiction described a big dance to which he had taken, as he once wrote, the prettiest girl…and as if he stood at the same time outside the ballroom, a little Midwestern boy with his nose to the glass, wondering how much the tickets cost and who paid for the music.” The quotation is from Malcolm Cowley, but you will note that Cowley is quoting Scott Fitzgerald.

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