For his keen social insight, glib sophistication, and breathtaking lyricism, F. Scott Fitzgerald stands as one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century. His biographers all note the importance of his boyhood in St. Paul, where, as he put it, he lived in "a house below the average on a street above the average." Fitzgerald's ...
For his keen social insight, glib sophistication, and breathtaking lyricism, F. Scott Fitzgerald stands as one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century. His biographers all note the importance of his boyhood in St. Paul, where, as he put it, he lived in "a house below the average on a street above the average." Fitzgerald's sensitivity about wealth and position?later made evident in such classics as The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night--was bred of his St. Paul family and associations. F. Scott Fitzgerald's St. Paul is a city of winter dreams and ice palaces, lakeside parties and neighborhood hijinks. These are stories of ambition and young love, insecurity and awkwardness, where a poor boy with energy and intelligence can break into the upper classes and become a glittering success. This selection brings together the best of Fitzgerald's St. Paul stories?some virtually unknown, others classics of short fiction. Patricia Hampl's incisive introduction traces the trajectory of Fitzgerald's blazing celebrity and its connections to his life in the city that gave him his best material. Headnotes by Dave Page provide specific ties between the stories and Fitzgerald's life in St. Paul. "Fitzgerald is a presence in St. Paul, a ghost who patrols his old neighborhood and keeps talking to us. He sits on Mrs. Porterfield's porch on Summit Avenue, smoking and talking about writing, and it is always that gorgeous summer just before he finished the book, hit it big, went to New York, married the girl. This lovely book sets out our claim on him. We have no Fitzgerald museum in St. Paul, no boyhood home restored--the family lived in apartments--but this book is the only monument he needs, his own stories, with historical notes, and Patricia Hampl's graceful shining essay for absolution, and Zelda's benediction." -- Garrison Keillor "These are wonderful stories, including several of the greatest Fitzgerald ever wrote. Anyone interested in Fitzgerald or the importance of place in fiction will want to read this book. And anyone who does will find it a delight." -- Scott Donaldson, author of Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald "In one of the ironies of fate of which life is so fond, the literary world knows the biography and work of F. Scott Fitzgerald better than it knows the particulars of the city where he was born. Fitzgerald loved, hated, and was obsessed by St. Paul, and in her brilliant introduction to these stories, Patricia Hampl shows us why. These stories and this wonderfully informative introduction give St. Paul a local habitation and a name, and they place Fitzgerald's ambitions and gifts in a cultural context too often ignored or forgotten." -- Charles Baxter, author of Saul and Patsy
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