Introduction by Hortense Calisher
Commentary by Edmund Wilson, Henry Seidel Canby, and Arthur Mizener
Fitzgerald's second novel, a devastating portrait of the excesses of the Jazz Age, is a largely autobiographical depiction of a glamorous, reckless Manhattan couple and their spectacular spiral into tragedy. Published on the heels of "This Side of Paradise, "the story of the Harvard-educated aesthete Anthony Patch and his willful wife, Gloria, is propelled by Fitzgerald's intense romantic imagination and demonstrates an increased technical and emotional maturity. "The Beautiful and Damned "is at once a gripping morality tale, a rueful meditation on love, marriage, and money, and an acute social document. As Hortense Calisher observes in her Introduction, "Though Fitzgerald can entrance with stories so joyfully youthful they appear to be safe--when he cuts himself, you will bleed."
Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide.
About the Author
Francis Scott (Key) Fitzgerald's (1896-1940) posthumous literary reputation has remained consistently strong despite many highs and lows throughout his brief life. His best-known novel, The Great Gatsby (1925) remains a critical favorite along with Tender is the Night (1934). Most of Fitzgerald's works are loosely based on his life, including his wife Zelda's insanity and his appreciation for personal indulgence and self-destructive excess.
Hortense Calisher (1911-2009) was born in New York City. The daughter of a young German-Jewish immigrant mother and a somewhat older Jewish father from Virginia, she graduated from Barnard College in 1932 and worked as a sales clerk before marrying and moving to Nyack, New York, to raise her family. Her first book, a collection of short stories titled "In the Absence of Angels", appeared in 1951. She went on to publish two dozen more works of fiction and memoir, writing into her nineties.A past president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and of PEN, the worldwide association of writers, she was a National Book Award finalist three times, won an O. Henry Award for "The Night Club in the Woods" and the 1986 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for "The Bobby Soxer", and was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1952 and 1955.
“Full of precisely observed life.” —Arthur Mizener