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Flappers and Philosophers (1920)

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Finished on Jul 28, 2014

Flappers and Philosophers (1920)
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
hardcover

Flappers and Philosophers, first published in 1920, marked Fitzgerald's entry into the short story arena.
As a rule, I'm not taken with short stories; but, Fitzgerald is an exception.
The flavor and the contrasts of his Jazz Age stories intrigues me.
He is precise in his critique of post World War I America.
He's harsh and bold in contrasting those who have and those who have not, and yet I feel the emptiness in his representation of wealth.
In his life, he exercises no discretion in spending, partying and globe trotting with Zelda, who is consumed with trouble and woe.
He provides, for me, an interesting literary sketch of that period.

4 ★ ( )
  pennsylady | Feb 12, 2016 |
An excellent collection of short stories covering the early lives of two products of the Jazz Age. ( )
  IsotropicJoseph | Apr 28, 2014 |
I decided to reread this collection after seeing the heading of a Guardian article comparing this anthology with Fitzgerald’s later ‘All the Sad Young Men’. The book opens with perhaps its most positive and fanciful story ‘The Offshore Pirate’. It has that mosaic of colours that I seem to associate with Fitzgerald – they’re certainly a key part of the symbolism in ‘The Great Gatsby’. Here, though, I think they’re to conjure up the romantic element of life with colours used ten times alone in the first paragraph, blue and gold being the predominant ones. It is the ‘unlikely story’ it’s identified as in this opening paragraph. A study, perhaps, of a selfish, spoilt girl, it didn’t really grip me at all, not even her volte face at the end. I found it all a bit laboured and predictable.

After this start, I think the stories become progressively morose. Sally Carrol’s other side where ‘there’s a sort of energy – the part of me that may be useful somewhere’ is not developed in the snobbish north and from the way Fitzgerald uses almost the same words at the end as at the beginning when Sally Carrol is picked up to go for a swim with Clark, it would seem that she won’t make anything of her life. The famous ‘The Cut-Glass Bowl’ plunges more deeply into negativity albeit with a touch of melodrama at the end. It’s another story of thwarted desires. Midway through the book, then, the reader recognises that this is no celebration of life. Maybe the last stories are more positive – if you see Dalrymple’s crimes paying off and being punched helping your morality as positives.

Of course these are Fitzgerald’s early stories, written first of all for magazines, hence perhaps the overdone endings such as the one in ‘Bernice Bobs her Hair’, a story that seems really dated now as well as too pat in its revengeful ending. When I think of these coming from the same person who wrote ‘The Diamond as big as the Ritz and ‘The Great Gatsby’, they’re a let-down but obviously they were to lead on to better things when he had a freer rein. ( )
  evening | May 21, 2013 |
Okay, so the characters weren't all entirely believable. But so much fun to read! Bernice Bobs Her Hair was especially great, while Head And Shoulders was somewhere in-between tragic/hilarious/vaguely horrific. It was my first time reading Fitzgerald and going by what other people said I hadn't expected him to be so entertaining! ( )
  Merinde | Mar 31, 2013 |
"Flappers" was an OK book, but except for the widely-known "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" and a gem called "The Cut-Glass Bowl" this book was more of a collection of shallow characters in unsurprising situations.

It's a fine book to have on your nightstand, and to read a story as you fall asleep. But there isn't much here that I'll ever come back to for a re-read. ( )
  phlll | Feb 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
"Not the most superficial reader can fail to recognize Mr. Fitzgerald's talent and genius. . . . It is the blatant tone of levity which runs through his work that almost drowns out the perception of this literary substance. But its overtones are unmistakable. Mr. Fitzgerald is working out an idiom, and it is an idiom at once universal, American and individual."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times (Sep 26, 1920)
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
F. Scott Fitzgeraldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mizener, ArthurIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
This unlikely story begins on a sea that was a blue dream, as colorful as blue-silk stockings, and beneath a sky as blue as the irises of children's eyes.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine this, the original 1920 collection, with the 2010 collection of the same name, as the contents are not the same.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Contains:

The Offshore Pirate

The Ice Palace

Head and Shoulders

The Cut-Glass Bowl

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Benediction

Dalyrimple Goes Wrong

The Four Fists
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671550993, Paperback)

First published in 1920, this volume marked Fitzgerald's entry into the realm of the short story. It includes "Bernice Bobs Her Hair, " "Head and Shoulders, " and other beloved tales.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:15 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Presents a collection of short stories describing the glamour and cynicism of the 1920s.

» see all 3 descriptions

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