F. Scott Fitzgerald – a name which conjures up images of The Jazz Age, the “Era of Wonderful Nonsense“, the “Lost Generation” that period between the Wars. F. Scott Fitzgerald became synonymous with the generation who went to War, the War To End All Wars. The generation which the earlier generation was convinced was taking the world to the jaws of insanity, by way of Jazz, the radical change in dress, the rebellious nature of that generation.
Fitzgerald was considered one of the foremost chroniclers of that age – the voice that spoke for a generation. The generation that, in retrospect, revolutionized the world by way of Art, Music, Theatre and Writing and Society. Fitzgerald, along with his contemporary Ernest Hemingway whom Fitzgerald was an early champion of, reshaped the written word – took away over-emphasis on the flowery and stripped everything down to its basic, true essence. And in doing so, changed the way we would look at life during a specific time forever.
But like so many of his contemporaries in all aspects of creativity during this period, he was plagued by personal demons and public scrutiny. He was embraced by his generation but certainly condemned by those unwilling to see the possibilities – as is true with all revolutions – the detractors are in plentiful supply. But more than that, it was the age of Prohibition – Alcohol was banned in the U.S. – and like all illegal substances, banning something only makes it more attractive. Alcohol was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s solution and it would, like his depiction of The Jazz Age, be synonymous with that period of time, where tomorrow was an iffy proposition and social barriers were being broken by the hour. Sadly, F.Scott Fitzgerald did not achieve the success from his writing that it would after his death. He would go on to being considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th Century.
This documentary, part of the NBC Radio series Biographies In Sound takes a look at the world of F. Scott Fitzgerald as seen and witnessed by the people around him. Fitzgerald died in 1940 of a heart attack age 44.
If you aren’t familiar, grab a copy of The Great Gatsby and make a discovery.
In the meantime, enjoy this look at the life and times of F. Scott Fitzgerald as first broadcast in 1955.