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The Beautiful and the Damned (original 1922; edition 1922)

by F S Fitzgerald

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3,415331,583 (3.73)87
Member:LizzySiddal
Title:The Beautiful and the Damned
Authors:F S Fitzgerald
Info:London: Folio Society 2005
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Folio Society, American, Read 2006, fiction, C20 challenge, read, C20

Work details

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

  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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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
This was an intriguing read, but overall a very uneven novel; the three books feel very different in tone and theme, almost as if Fitzgerald were juggling so many issues without the ability to bring them fully into a narrative cohesion. There's a lot going on here: evocations of Freud and how the modern complexes are at variance with classical philosophy and aesthetic values; a fascinating portrayal of love and pain in Anthony and Gloria's relationship which plays out Fitzgerald's preoccupation with Hegel and Freud both; there is even some interesting dialogue that is very unique for blending different genres (e.g. screenplay, interior monologues, Greek tragedy, etc.).

What is perhaps most compelling in the novel is Fitzgerald's very overt pacifism, as well as his condemnation of the bourgeois class and the values associated with capital, money, and status -- values that run counter to art. Indeed, there is a nice tension between Anthony and his writer friend, Dick, about different kinds of art, how an artist can be bought and sold, how art can be catered to fit the needs of the masses and turn a profit instead of for the sake of art in and of itself. But all of these aspects, while compelling and beautifully drawn out, fail to speak to one another in a nice dialogue; the result is a very fragmented and scattered novel where many of the main characters aren't fleshed out enough, forcing the reader to view them as "types" and nothing more.

One brilliantly written chapter toward the end of book two, the longest one which takes place in the middle of the night and begins with Gloria's perspective and meanders through much of the philosophical and aesthetic debates above is Fitzgerald at his finest in this novel, I though, and the section might well stand on its own to illustrate his central concerns in the text and in his work more generally. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
This was an intriguing read, but overall a very uneven novel; the three books feel very different in tone and theme, almost as if Fitzgerald were juggling so many issues without the ability to bring them fully into a narrative cohesion. There's a lot going on here: evocations of Freud and how the modern complexes are at variance with classical philosophy and aesthetic values; a fascinating portrayal of love and pain in Anthony and Gloria's relationship which plays out Fitzgerald's preoccupation with Hegel and Freud both; there is even some interesting dialogue that is very unique for blending different genres (e.g. screenplay, interior monologues, Greek tragedy, etc.).

What is perhaps most compelling in the novel is Fitzgerald's very overt pacifism, as well as his condemnation of the bourgeois class and the values associated with capital, money, and status -- values that run counter to art. Indeed, there is a nice tension between Anthony and his writer friend, Dick, about different kinds of art, how an artist can be bought and sold, how art can be catered to fit the needs of the masses and turn a profit instead of for the sake of art in and of itself. But all of these aspects, while compelling and beautifully drawn out, fail to speak to one another in a nice dialogue; the result is a very fragmented and scattered novel where many of the main characters aren't fleshed out enough, forcing the reader to view them as "types" and nothing more.

One brilliantly written chapter toward the end of book two, the longest one which takes place in the middle of the night and begins with Gloria's perspective and meanders through much of the philosophical and aesthetic debates above is Fitzgerald at his finest in this novel, I though, and the section might well stand on its own to illustrate his central concerns in the text and in his work more generally. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
I hereby give notice that I think F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most overrated writers of the twentieth century. The more I read of his works, the less I like him. Sure, he knows how to turn a phrase but he lacks what is essential to all truly good writers - how to make characters who appeal to the common man. This seems to me to be his major problem and will ultimately lead to his downfall from the pedestal upon which his friends in the New York publishing world had placed him. Who cares about the spoiled wealthy and their angst over empty lives? Every one of his books are similar in this respect. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (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)

    (summary from another edition)

    » see all 13 descriptions

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