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At a glance:
• Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
• First Published: 1922
• Type of Plot: Romantic satire
• Time of Work: 1913-1921
• Setting: New York City and environs, and the vicinity of a military training camp in South Carolina
• Principal Characters: Anthony Patch, Gloria Gilbert Patch, Adam Patch, Richard Caramel, Maury Noble, Dorothy Raycroft
• Genres: Longfiction, Satire
• Subjects: New York, North America or North Americans, Northeast, U.S.,United States or Americans, Love or romance, South or Southerners,New York City, Marriage, Class consciousness, 1910’s, Wealth,Millionaires
• Locales: New York, NY, South Carolina

The Novel

Originally called “The Flight of the Rocket,” The Beautiful and Damned is the story of Anthony Patch’slife between his twenty-fifth and thirty-third years. The novel follows the progression of his intense love for the dazzlingly beautiful Gloria Gilbert. It traces their attachment through their courtship and marriage, through their apparently endless round of parties and gaiety, to their eventual financial difficulties, and finally to their triumphant achievement of Anthony’s “great expectations.”The victory comes too late, however, and the...

The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Beautiful and Damned was published in 1922, almost exactly two years after This Side of Paradise. That Fitzgerald wrote the entire novel between 1919 and 1921 amidst engagement, marriage, the publication and huge reception of his first novel, the sales of first short stories to magazines,and the beginnings of a legendary dozen years of "going on a party," is a testament to the enormous productivity one may be able to achieve in their earlier and more vulnerable years. A friend of mine did not like Beautiful and Damned when I told him he "had" to read it a few years ago. Oh, at the time he said he liked it, but recently he revealed that he thought it was too long and some othervague complaint. Another friend of mine told me, the first time I read it, about four years ago, that it was her favorite novel by Fitzgerald. I may not go as far to say that it is my favorite, but I will say it is his most underrated, and while I recently told that first friend that I felt it was better than This Side of Paradise, I'm not sure I can still believe myself. As anintroduction, Paradise is about as good as you can do, but a lot of it is nostalgic and "protected" from the outside world. As a follow-up then, Beautiful is exactly what it needs to be--the logical extension, the harsh realization, the bitter slap in the face. It also stands the test of time as a fantastic example of a "New York Novel."

As far as structure goes, The Beautiful and Damned has a whole lot in commonwithThis Side of Paradise, the main difference being that it is about 100 pages longer. The book is broken up into many "mini-chapters" and there are continued literary experiments in playwrighting format--though the character-penned poetry ofParadise is no longer to be found. The characters are pure Fitzgerald. Anthony Patch is not so different from Amory Blaine at all, except that he has more of anair of vulnerability. Gloria Gilbert is an entirely new creation, and though seeds of her may appear in Paradise, she stands as the total literary execution of the "flapper" par excellence. Aside from character, however, the story in the novel is much more highly developed than in Paradise.

It begins with Anthony as a recent Harvard graduate, going out with his friends Maury Noble and RichardCaramel. Caramel's cousin is Gloria Gilbert, and Maury meets her on a separate occasion, and so Anthony and the reader are more aware of Gloria as a reputation, a mystical figure until she makes her first appearance in the novel, which is a clever way to start writing about a romance. The two take an instant liking to each other--and it is never really clear how much it matters that Anthony...