5 Things You Didn't Know About F. Scott Fitzgerald

By: Clare Whitaker

Best known for his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. His literary works chronicled the era of ambition, extravagance, and wealth referred to as the Jazz Age. Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda embodied the time, living a life of luxury, excess, glory and prestige, while also riddled with years of toil. F. Scott suffered with alcoholism and Zelda had mental health issues. Fitzgerald passed away at age 44, without achieving much recognition from the literary community. However, by the 1960s, he reached the pinnacle of distinguished authors in the United States and has since remained required reading for high school students across the country.

 1. He is named after Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner. Key was a distant relative of Fitzgerald's.

2. While in the U.S. Army, Fitzgerald was assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama, where he fell in love with Zelda Sayre. A southern belle and daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court Justice, it took two marriage proposals, and his first book deal, before she agreed to marry the author. 

3. Ernest Hemingway became close friends with Scott, although he frequently criticized Zelda. Hemingway thought she was absolutely “insane” and claimed that she “encouraged her husband to drink so as to distract him from his writing.”

4. Fitzgerald was hired by MGM in the late 1930s and relocated to Hollywood. Despite befriending the crème of the crop in the Hollywood circuit like Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Errol Flynn, he hated the place: “Hollywood is a dump – in the human sense of the word. A hideous town, pointed up by the insulating gardens of its rich; full of the human spirit at a new low of debasement.”

5. Between tears at Fitzgerald’s funeral, Dorothy Parker quoted the famous line from The Great Gatsby: “the poor son of a bitch,” in mournful sorrow over the early passing of her dear friend.

PS. We're curious to know, what is your favorite Fitzgerald novel?