Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Beautiful and the Damned - by F. Scott Fitzgerald

US/UK Kindle Classic
The Beautiful and the Damned is a 1922 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald; the famous American Chronicler of the “Lost Generation,” those whose youth was stolen by WWI.  (US Edition)  (£0.77 UK Edition)  

At eleven he had a horror of death. Within six impressionable years his parents had died and his grandmother had faded off almost imperceptibly, until, for the first time since her marriage, her person held for one day an unquestioned supremacy over her own drawing room. So to Anthony life was a struggle against death, that waited at every corner. It was as a concession to his hypochondriacal imagination that he formed the habit of reading in bed--it soothed him. He read until he was tired and often fell asleep with the lights still on.

He sounds like Proust . . .

Here is a harrowing description of his grandfather:

The span of his seventy-five years had acted as a magic bellows--the first quarter-century had blown him full with life, and the last had sucked it all back. It had sucked in the cheeks and the chest and the girth of arm and leg. It had tyrannously demanded his teeth, one by one, suspended his small eyes in dark-bluish sacks, tweeked out his hairs, changed him from gray to white in some places, from pink to yellow in others--callously transposing his colors like a child trying over a paintbox. Then through his body and his soul it had attacked his brain. It had sent him night-sweats and tears and unfounded dreads. It had split his intense normality into credulity and suspicion. Out of the coarse material of his enthusiasm it had cut dozens of meek but petulant obsessions; his energy was shrunk to the bad temper of a spoiled child, and for his will to power was substituted a fatuous puerile desire for a land of harps and canticles on earth.
You cannot say that Fitzgerald is neglected.  The Great Gatsby will always be part of any discussion of the American novel; but this novel initially was a bigger success.

So find out why!

And here is something timeless if you still need convincing.
But as winter wore away--the short, snowless winter marked by damp nights and cool, rainy days--he marvelled at how quickly the system had grasped him. He was a soldier--all who were not soldiers were civilians. The world was divided primarily into those two classifications.
P.S.  This is my 150th blog.  That is a lot of books, so there is something for every taste - if your inclination runs to classic literature. 

Among the many older titles I have blogged are The Virginian by Owen Wister, TheThree Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, and TheIndiscreet Letter by Eleanor Hallowell Abbot.  My eclectic range of recommendations have run from literary classics by Tolstoy, Conrad, and Proust to books by ZaneGrey and GraceLivingston Hill.  

The blog also highlights non-fiction.  And I like to keep up with current events!  A recent “timely” blog highlighted Titanic by Filson Young, a book that was rushed into print 100 years ago shortly after the sinking.  

I look forward to the next 150 classics!  Thank you for reading.

This blog is a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the US & UK Kindle. If you enjoy my suggestions, please tell your friends who read to give my blog a try. 
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