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The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott…
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The Beautiful and Damned (1922)

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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3,356291,613 (3.72)85
  1. 20
    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (TineOliver)
    TineOliver: Both look at love and marriage in the upper classes of New York society (however, at different time periods)
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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel centers around Anthony Patch and his beautiful wife Gloria. Inspired by Scott and Zelda themselves, this couple live wildly in 1920s New York, seeking pleasure at any cost.

Anthony, a would-be aristocrat waiting for his inheritance, spends his bachelor days at clubs, attending raucous parties, and entertaining women. When he meets Gloria, a beautiful golden girl bursting with life, he immediately falls in love with her. The two marry and proceed to have as grand a time as possible.

Once married, Anthony and Gloria come to see each others’ flaws. Anthony can’t bear working and lives off of his small allowance. He can’t make definitive judgements, doesn’t know how to say no, and is incredibly possessive of Gloria. Gloria is selfish, wild, and as vain as she is beautiful. The two share an equally passionate and tumultuous relationship.

Anthony and Gloria live a life as carefree as can be, throwing lavish parties and drinking all night. They shirk any type of responsibility, reveling in their youth and beauty. They begin to live well beyond their means, sure of inheriting a windfall when Anthony’s grandfather dies. However, their dreams come crashing down when the couple are caught in a disrespectable position and Anthony is disinherited. It’s shocking and terrible, but they don’t let the loss of their inheritance cramp their style! Oh no, they fight the will, continuing to live large all the while. Gloria has the odd notion that as long as she can be happy today, the future doesn’t matter. It’s totally fine if they spend all of their money now; when she’s old and poor, she won’t care about having a fine time. Because that makes all the sense in the world.

The couple goes on, desperate for wealth but unwilling to work for it, living extravagantly despite their lack of fortune. As their lust for money consumes them, their partnership begins to fall apart.

I didn’t love this book as much as The Great Gatsby, but I thought it was an excellent portrayal of 1920s New York. The Beautiful and Damned is such a perfect title for it, perfectly capturing the empty decadence of the time. It’s a classic Fitzgerald theme: characters seeking pleasure in lavish parties and expensive things but ultimately finding them empty. Characters being destroyed by their desires, desires which have no basis in reality.

“Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know — because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot. And when I got it it turned to dust in my hands.”

Anthony and Gloria live a hedonistic lifestyle and willfully ignore all consequences of their actions. I couldn’t like either of them, but it was impossible to look away from the train wreck of their relationship. It’s a dark book with an ending that caught me off guard. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just ask people who have already read the book: What did you think of the ending? Do you think it was fitting for Anthony and Gloria? What do you think will happen next?

See the full review at Books Speak Volumes. ( )
  LeahMo | Jan 30, 2014 |
Dismal Deadbeats

The Beautiful and Damned is Fitzgerald's second book and is set in pre Jazz Age NYC. It is a dark and depressing story of the American aristocracy and nouveau-riche. The author writes a scathing commentary on society life and his tone is cynical and critical of nearly every character he introduces us to.

There is nothing redeeming about our two selfish and shallow protagonists, Anthony and Gloria. It's all about greed, manipulation, pettiness and depravity. If, as is thought, Gloria is based on Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda, it's not a very flattering portrayal. Gloria is trading on her beauty and Anthony on his promised inheritance. I felt no sympathy for these two, who find themselves in dire straits due mostly to their hedonism and stupidity. Both are pathetic.

While there are very many well written passages, some parts of the novel seemed over long. The story did keep me guessing as it unfolded, but I anticipated a bad end to this well-matched couple: well-matched in their extreme narcissism and lack of morale ethic.

Fitzgerald thoroughly convinced me there was nothing glamorous about the endless partying, resulting alcoholism and broken, useless lives of the Beautiful and Damned. ( )
  Zumbanista | Jan 29, 2014 |
The only other books I've read by F. Scott Fitzgerald, prior to this one, are The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night. Both are wonderful, especially The Great Gatsby.

The Beautiful and Damned has many pointers to the greatness that was to follow just three years later with the publication of The Great Gatsby

Unlike The Great Gatsby, this is long and sprawling novel and that is its great weakness. Some judicious editing might have resulted in another masterpiece. The Beautiful and Damned explores luxury's disappointment, and the corrupting and corrosive power of money. The couple at the heart of the story have it all and yet conspire to end the story as utterly broken and tragic.

As anyone who has already F. Scott Fitzgerald would expect, there is some stunning writing here and the book beautifully evokes the monied social milieu of the East Coast of the 1920s.

The Beautiful and Damned is worth reading - but read The Great Gatsby first.

3/5 ( )
1 vote nigeyb | Jan 18, 2014 |
This book contains the summary phrase: “It was a triumph of Lethargy”. This phrase could form part of an alternative title, like those of many Victorian novels: “The Beautiful and the Damned, Or, the Triumph of Lethargy”.

In 1913 Anthony Patch is a rich young man in New York, newly graduated, with undefined ambitions for some form of accomplishment. He has a millionaire grandfather, now an ageing bore, from whom he hopes one day to inherit. He meets and becomes infatuated with Gloria, the beautiful daughter of rich mid-westerners, and after some minor difficulties they marry and become rich idle young things together. Somewhere in the background of their unengaged lives, World War 1 starts. They continue their social rounds and enjoy their place in the country along with their New York apartment. Adam occasionally thinks of employment, but he has plenty of money even though he is slowly working through his capital - perhaps it's an unconscious attempt destroy his life. Slowly, as their money slides away, Anthony and Gloria are drifting apart. Antony falls out with his grandfather and is disinherited. His lifebelt has vanished.

There's a lot of talk about the meaning of it all. At one point, Gloria says, “There's no lesson to be learnt from life”: maybe she'd been reading Chekov.

America eventually enters the war, Anthony is called up, has a sad affair in a southern town near his training camp, but as he is about to be shipped off to war, peace is declared. He returns to his wife in New York, they grow poorer, become alcoholics. The ending has little surprise.

Hmmm … obviously there is a lot more to the book than this bland summary, and it's worth reading because of it. But the repulsive lives of Antony and Gloria overwhelmed me, and drowned out the sensitively elucidated explanations. I don't consider myself to be a left-wing ideologue; but the lapsed protestant in me revolts. Even Gatsby actually did something. Living off a great pile of money seeping interest payments like sour honey, to no purpose, is a horrid thing.
( )
1 vote AMcBurnie | Nov 27, 2013 |
It's really not fair for me to give this book just one star considering that I didn't even finish the first three chapters. I know it was a widely acclaimed book during its time, but I just couldn't read any further. I'm just not sophisticated enough or debutante enough or wealthy enough to relate one iota with any of the characters. I'm sure it's a wonderful book. It just wasn't a wonderful book for ME. ( )
  daatwood | Nov 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
". . . its slow-moving narrative is the record of lives utterly worthless utterly futile. . . . It is to be hoped that Mr. Fitzgerald, who possesses a genuine, undeniable talent, will some day acquire a less one-sided understanding."
 

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
F. Scott Fitzgeraldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Engel, Mary BessCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leyendecker, J. C.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The victors belong to the spoils.
-Anthony Patch
Dedication
To Shane Leslie, George Jean Nathan, and Maxwell Perkins
in appreciation of much literary help and encouragement
First words
In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended upon him.
Quotations
The notion of sitting down and conjuring up, not only words in which to clothe thoughts but thoughts worthy of being clothed...
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684801558, Paperback)

The Beautiful and Damned is the story of Anthony Patch and his wife, Gloria. Harvard-educated and an aspiring aesthete, Patch is waiting for his inheritance upon his grandfather's death. His reckless marriage to Gloria is fueled by alcohol and is destroyed by greed. The Patches race through a series of alcohol-induced fiascoes -- first in hilarity, and then in despair. The Beautiful and Damned, a devastating portrait of the nouveaux riches, New York night life, reckless ambition, and squandered talent, was published in 1922 on the heels of Fitzgerald's first novel. It signaled his maturity as a storyteller and, more important, as a novelist.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:30 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.In 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald was twenty-five and heralded as the most promising writer of his generation, owing to the success of his first novel This Side of Paradise. Recently married to the girl of his dreams, the former Zelda Sayre, Fitzgerald built upon his sudden prosperity with The Beautiful and the Damned, a cautionary tale of reckless ambition and squandered talent set amid the glitter of Jazz Age New York. The novel chronicles the relationship of Anthony Patch, a Harvard-educated, aspiring writer, and his beautiful young wife, Gloria. While they wait for Anthony's grandfather to die and pass his millions on to them, the young couple enjoys an endless string of parties, traveling, and extravagance. Beginning with the pop and fizz of life itself, The Beautiful and the Damned quickly evolves into a scathing chronicle of a dying marriage and a hedonistic society in which beauty is all too fleeting.A fierce parable about the illusory quality of dreams, the intractable nature of reality, and the ruin wrought by time, The Beautiful and the Damned eerily anticipates the dissipation and decline that would come to the Fitzgeralds themselves before the decade had run its course.Pagan Harleman studied literature at Columbia College, then traveled extensively in the Middle East and West Africa before receiving an MFA from New York University's graduate film program. While at NYU she made several award-winning shorts and received the Dean's Fellowship, the Steven Tisch Fellowship, and a Director's Craft Award.… (more)

    » see all 7 descriptions

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