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The Last Tycoon (Penguin Modern Classics) by…
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The Last Tycoon (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1941; edition 2002)

by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson (Editor)

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1,657124,345 (3.49)37
Member:FeidhlimM
Title:The Last Tycoon (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:F. Scott Fitzgerald
Other authors:Edmund Wilson (Editor)
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Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Jazz Age, American, Hollywood,

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The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1941)

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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
It's too bad this was never finished. I think this would have been my favorite Fitzgerald book. Even incomplete, I like it better than anything else I have read. This is a simple yet complicated story about love. She loves him. He loves someone else. That someone else is set to marry anyone else but him. Classic love square. You have to feel sorry for Monroe Stahr. He is lovestruck by a woman who strongly resembles his deceased wife. As a man in the movie business he has the money and the power to woo Kathleen into a brief relationship, even despite the fact she is engaged to be married to someone else. Meanwhile, there is young Cecilia, a junior at Bennington College, just willing Stahr to look at her, to notice her. It is her voice that tells the entire story. Fitzgerald explains the first and third person narrative. What Cecilia is not witness to, she imagines. "Thus, I hope to get the verisimilitude of a first person narrative, combined with a Godlike knowledge of all events that happen to my characters" (p 164). ( )
  SeriousGrace | Sep 29, 2014 |
A great pity that it is unfinished. ( )
  AprilAnn0814 | Apr 15, 2014 |
First, I was surprised that Fitzgerald chose a woman as his narrator; a different tack from Gatsby, Tender is the Night, etc. (However, if I remember correctly, some of his short stories were from the point of view of young women - written in the third person, if not first.) It has been a long time since I read Tender is the Night and even longer since The Beautiful and Damned, but I remember thinking that those seemed like variations on, or distorted versions of, Gatsby's perfection and its themes. The Last Tycoon, though unfinished (tragically), is closer to Gatsby in its quality.

Winding down the hill, he listened inside himself as if something by an unknown composer, powerful and strange and strong, was about to be played for the first time. The theme would be stated presently, but because the composer was always new, he would not recognize it as the theme right away. (p. 113)

In place of an ending (or a middle and an ending), we get Fitzgerald's notes and outline. It's fascinating to get this glimpse of how his mind worked, and how he wrote.

Bright unused beauty still plagued her in the mirror. (p. 176; notes on Kathleen's character)

The cleverly expressed opposite of any generally accepted idea is worth a fortune to somebody. (p. 187; notes on Hollywood, etc.)

The awful reverberating thunder of his absence. (p. 189; notes)

ACTION IS CHARACTER. (p. 190; last note) ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
The "Love of the Last Tycoon" was Fitzgerald’s fifth and final novel, incomplete upon his death, but published nonetheless... with the condensed title, "The Last Tycoon".

In an era when Hollywood exuded sparkling panoramic glamour with all the profound mystery of film making, high power production executives, inexperienced contracted actors skillfully molded into stars, covered up scandals, and wide-eyed starlets ready to sell their soul for a bit part, Fitzgerald couldn’t resist writing this novel about a legendary movie producer... Monroe Stahr, the proverbial last tycoon.

Mr. Stahr only has one equal in title, his elderly partner Mr. Brady, but in reality, he answers to no-one, and no-one would ever dare to question his decisions. The reader views Mr. Stahr in his lofty perch - a wizard, a genius, a renaissance man. But beneath the cold shiny veneer is a lonely broken-hearted very real man.

Portions of the story are told by Mr. Brady’s twenty-one year old daughter Cecilia who grew up comfortably playing on the sets. Cecilia knows everyone intimately from the bankers, to the writers, to the light technicians. She knows the vulnerable side of Monroe Stahr and she’s madly in love with him.

It’s really a shame this novel was never completed. Fitzgerald tells this intriguing story in his typical style of writing: precise, direct, and with economy of words. The characters come to life and you quickly become immersed in the story. "The Last Tycoon" opens the door to a traditional 1930‘s movie studio and exposes the iconic Hollywood behind-the-scenes environment: divas that need pampering, writers suffering writers-block, disgruntled union employees, and money men who want to see big profits, all expertly conveyed as background drama without interference to the progress of the plot.

Even though I was aware "The Last Tycoon" was an incomplete novel, the abrupt ending left me hungering for more. It is certainly a consolation to discover the thirty-three page addendum in the back of the book which includes Fitzgerald’s outline and notes of the complete story, thoughts about character development, phrases and sentences he hoped to incorporate, and instructions to himself where he planned to make changes in the wording. This bonus offers the reader a unique and interesting view of a master’s creative writing process. Had this ‘rough draft of a novel’ been finished and polished to Fitzgerald’s impeccable standards, it may have stood beside "The Great Gatsby" as a masterful work of artistic expression, but as is....not so great. ( )
  LadyLo | Dec 4, 2012 |
Scott Fitzgerald's last and unfinished novel, set in Hollywood. As it is pieced together it's a little jumpy and in places boring and difficult to follow. It is followed by a section of SF's notes and a synopsis of what the book was supposed to be like.
This Penguin edition is beautiful with its jackets designed by Coralie Bickford Smith, but the printing is uneven and leaves much to be desired. ( )
  overthemoon | Jun 3, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
". . . an ambitious book, but, uncompleted though it is, one would be blind indeed not to see that it would have been Fitzgerald's best novel . . . Even in this truncated form it not only makes absorbing reading; it is the best piece of creative writing that we have about one phase of American life -- Hollywood and the movies."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, J. Donald Adams (Nov 9, 1941)
 

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
F. Scott Fitzgeraldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Altena, Ernst vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, EdmundForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, EdmundEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
First words
Though I haven't ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures.
Quotations
Action is character.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
While "The Love of the Last Tycoon" and "The Last Tycoon" are based on the same unfinished manuscript, they should not be combined as the posthumous editing of the two resulted in distinctly different works.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141185635, Paperback)

Unfinished at the time of his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Last Tycoon" is a story of doomed love set against the extravagance of America's booming film industry. This "Penguin Modern Classics" edition is edited with an introduction by Edmund Wilson. The studio lot looks like 'thirty acres of fairyland' the night that a mysterious woman stands and smiles at Monroe Stahr, the last of the great Hollywood princes. Enchanted by one another, they begin a passionate but hopeless love affair, starting with a fast-moving seduction as slick as a scene from one of Stahr's pictures. The romance unfolds, frame by frame, watched by Cecilia, a thoroughly modern girl who has taken her lessons in sentiment and cynicism from all the movies she has seen. Her buoyant humour and satirical eye perfectly complement Fitzgerald's panorama of Hollywood at its most lavish and bewitching. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) has acquired a mythical status in American literary history, and his masterwork "The Great Gatsby" is considered by many to be the 'great American novel'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre, dubbed 'the first American Flapper', and their traumatic marriage and Zelda's gradual descent into insanity became the leading influence on his writing. As well as many short stories, Fitzgerald wrote five novels "This Side of Paradise", "The Great Gatsby", "The Beautiful and the Damned", "Tender is the Night" and, incomplete at the time of his death, "The Last Tycoon". After his death "The New York Times" said of him that 'in fact and in the literary sense he created a "generation"'. If you enjoyed "The Last Tycoon", you might enjoy Fitzgerald's "The Beautiful and the Damned", also available in "Penguin Classics". "Wonderful...a novel about Hollywood, written from the inside". (Helen Dunmore, "Sunday Times").

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Novel centers on the life of fictional film executive Monroe Stahr, circa Hollywood in the 1930s. Stahr is modeled loosely on the life of film executive Irving Thalberg.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185635, 0141194081

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