Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1846-1940) attended Princeton and started writing while he was still a student. He joined the Army but he didn’t fight in the war; while he was abroad he met Zelda Sayre: he deeply fell in love with her, and asked her to marry him. She first refused to marry him because he was not rich enough, then she accepted the proposal after his great success with “This side of paradise”. Fitzgerald had to work hard in order to maintain their high standard of living and to pay clinics after Zelda had had a nervous breakdown and had become insane.
Fitzgerald’s most famous work is “The Great Gatsby”, which portrays the mentality, the snobbishness and materialism of the “Roaring Twenties” or “Jazz Age”; it is a shallow society, made up of richness, parties and entertainment, which actually hide the emptiness of modern life and the loss of values. However, Gatsby is somehow a Romantic hero, because he deeply loves Daisy, and attempts in vain to revive the past; Daisy, on the opposite side, is the symbol of carelessness, and, unable to face problems or to act by herself, she just runs away with her husband, hiding behind her richness. In the novel there is also the contrast between the West, simple but even moral and puritan, and the East, sophisticated, fascinated but corrupted.