Cover image for F. Scott Fitzgerald : a literary life
F. Scott Fitzgerald : a literary life
Hook, Andrew, 1932-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 194 pages ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3511.I9 Z664 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Often seen as a mirroring the contemporary movement of American history itself, Scott Fitzgerald's literary life was a roller-coaster ride from early success in the 1920s to apparent oblivion by the end of the 1930s. This study attempts to account for such a problematic career by focusing on Fitzgerald's struggle to sustain a perilous balancing act between his commitment to a totally involving life on the one hand, and his parallel commitment to the serious business of art on the other.

Author Notes

ANDREW HOOK retired from the Bradley Chair in English Literature at Glasgow University in 1988, having previously taught at the universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen. In session 1999-2000 he was Visiting Fellow in the English Department at Princeton University, and in 2001-2 he is Gillespie Visiting Professor in the College of Wooster, Ohio. His teaching and research interests have involved English, Scottish and American literature. In 1998 the Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies was named in his honour at the University of Glasgow.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Like the other 39 volumes in the "Literary Lives" series (all but three covering British authors), this one purports to "trace the professional, publishing and social contexts which shaped [the writer's] writing." Although concise, this volume offers some astounding facts about Fitzgerald's life: his total earnings in 1939, for instance, amounted to $21,466.67. Hook, a visiting professor at the College of Wooster, OH, has mined a broad spectrum of sources, although he leans heavily on Fitzgerald scholar Matthew Brucolli. To a reader of Fitzgeraldiana, most of the contents of this book constitute pretty familiar ground, but the thesis is fresh: according to Hook, Fitzgerald recognized early in his writing career that a novelist is caught between his "tender-minded" impulses to be a good person and his "tough-minded" impulses to be a good writer, no matter what the cost to others. Hook claims that by the 1930s Fitzgerald seemed stymied as a novelist because of his inability to choose between these two impulses. Although this book presents a reasonably convincing sketch of Fitzgerald's life, it doesn't offer much of a look into his subject's five novels. If you are looking for a wide-ranging introduction to Fitzgerald and his work, you might spend the $35 on a more detailed, novel-centered, critical study, such as Jeffrey Meyers's Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography. Charles C. Nash, Cottey Coll., Nevada, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Though Hook (Univ. of Glasgow) is hard pressed to offer Fitzgerald scholars something different given all of the biographies (most notable among them those by Arthur Mizener, Andrew Turnbull, Matthew Bruccoli, and Scott Donaldson) and the countless memoirs, the "Literary Lives" series would be grossly remiss not to include a volume on Fitzgerald. Hook focuses on "Fitzgerald's own abiding problem over the relationship between his life and his art ... of trying to reconcile the demands and needs of the one with the demands and needs of the other." After a brief chapter on Fitzgerald's early life and writing at Princeton and in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hook devotes chapters to the circumstances of each completed novel's composition, publication, and reception. The Crack-Up and the unfinished Last Tycoon also get separate chapters. Smoothly written on the whole, the chapters present Fitzgerald's aims and his preoccupations with work and especially money largely, to Hook's credit, through Fitzgerald's published correspondence and the details of his ledger, rather than the earlier biographies. For the most part Hook avoids moralistic comment on Fitzgerald's life and resists assigning blame for Fitzgerald's failure to fulfill his potential. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All collections. B. Diemert Brescia University College

Table of Contents

Becoming a Writer
Succeeding with
This Side of Paradise
The Beautiful and Damned
The Great Gatsby
Tender is the Night
The Crack-Up
The Last Tycoon