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The Last Tycoon (1941)

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,508245,673 (3.46)47
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.
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    Beloved Infidel by Sheilah Graham (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Die Liebesgeschichte zwischen Sheilah Graham und Fitzgerald soll die Grundlage dieses Romans bilden.

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Fitzgerald died of a heart attack the day he wrote the first episode of Chapter 6. The text is a draft he made after considerable rewriting.
  JimandMary69 | Aug 20, 2023 |
A beautifully,, believably written book that sadly was not completed due to the author's death. The characters are fully formed and complex. The environments that scenes take place are carefully crafted to set the mood and echo the events taking place. ( )
  snash | Jul 22, 2023 |
*Partial spoilers ahead*

Too bad that Fitzgerald was unable to finish The Last Tycoon, since it's obvious that he was returning to the focused, tightly structured style of The Great Gatsby after the rambling disorder of Tender is the Night. The prospect of slogging through an incomplete novel may seem a bleak one to many readers, but this book contains one of Fitzgerald's finest moments. Monroe Stahr, so visibly unwell, is the author's most sympathetic protagonist (though one might not expect to find a film studio executive--or any Fitzgerald character, for that matter--sympathetic), and Stahr's encounter with Kathleen at his unfinished beach house is a tour de force of mature writing. Their excitement, their knowledge that the romance can only come to a bad end, and the blend of awkwardness and humor that characterizes their post-sex conversation are incredibly realistic. This scene is not cleverly, poetically written: it's believably written, and demonstrates Fitzgerald's true mastery.

Contains a brief foreword by Edmund Wilson, just under 150 pages of novel text, a synopsis of how the book would have ended and a lengthy section of notes on the manuscript ("Rewrite from mood," Fitzgerald said of Chapter 1). For fans it's a must, and for anyone it's a fascinating look at the construction of a work of literary art. ( )
  Jonathan_M | Oct 3, 2022 |
It's unfortunate that Fitzgerald never had the chance to finish this book. He got as far as offering an aromatic sniff and minuscule taste of the meal he was preparing, but nothing more. Based on the notes provided in the edition I have, it sounds like it would have been a wonderfully tragic tale.

In many ways, Monroe Stahr - the story's Hollywood producer protagonist - can be likened to Hank Reardon in Ayn Rand's [b:Atlas Shrugged|662|Atlas Shrugged|Ayn Rand|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1157143422s/662.jpg|817219]. Stahr, like Reardon, is a self-made man, working his way through the rank and file to become superlative, effecting a revolution for film production as Reardon did for steel. Also like Reardon, Stahr baffled those around him as he moved his company, his pictures, his life in the direction that he wanted, never giving into other's whims and constantly manipulating them with his own. The subject of The Last Tycoon is every bit the Atlas of the movie industry, holding Hollywood and the rest of motion picture world of the 40s on his expansive shoulders.

But lest I take the comparison too far and scare off some who might deign to read Fitzgerald's finest work, let me admonish myself and clarify that the similarities end there. For, where the purpose of Rand's novel was to expound a philosophy she had refined for years, Fitzgerald was interested only in the story. The Last Tycoon is a glorified character sketch, a protracted contemplation of the motivations and resiliency - and mortality - of a captain of industry. It also is a snapshot of a dying era, as candid and unrelenting as a deathbed Polaroid. It has none of the truculent mishegaas that Rand injects into her tome, and it is better for the lack.

In some ways, the fact that Fitzgerald did not finish the book is appropriately ironic. We see Stahr at the height of his career, with only a few minor blemishes beginning to surface. We are left with the feeling that maybe, just maybe, Our Hero is strong enough to recover his failing health, smart enough to outwit the nefarious union organizers and his partner, and persistent enough to win the love of the beautiful Englishwoman with whom he shared a mere thimbleful of ecstasy. Even though we know it would not have worked out the way we desire, we are left with the same hope that crops up at the end of movies like Night of the Living Dead, when Ben emerges from the house and just before we remember (or realize) that story is a tragic one. Such is the hope that we may feel toward the author himself, as well. ( )
  octoberdad | Dec 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (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 (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fitzgerald, F. Scottprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Altena, Ernst vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schürenberg, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, EdmundEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, EdmundForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, EdmundPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Though I haven't ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures.
Action is character.
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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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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.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185635, 0141194081


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