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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s cherished debut novel announced the arrival of a brilliant young writer and anticipated his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Published in 1920, when the author was just twenty-three, This Side of Paradise recounts the education of young Amory Blaine—egoistic, versatile, callow, imaginative. As Amory makes his way among debutantes and Princeton undergraduates, we enter an environment heady with the promise of everything that was new in the vigorous, restless America after World War I. We experience Amory’s sailing hopes, crushing defeats, deep loves and stubborn losses. His growth from self-absorption to sexual awareness and personhood unfolds with continuous improvisatory energy and delight. Fitzgerald’s remarkable formal inventiveness couches Amory’s narrative among songs, poems, dramatic dialogue, questions and answers. The novel’s freshness and verve—praised upon publication, now renowned by history—only heighten the sense that the world being described is our own, modern world.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Princeton University, where he began writing what would become his first novel, This Side of Paradise. He left Princeton to join the army during World War I, though the war ended shortly after his enlistment. This Side of Paradise, published in 1920, was a critical and financial success and was followed the same year by his first story collection, Flappers and Philosophers, followed by Tales of the Jazz Age in 1922. Fitzgerald went on to publish three more novels—The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night—and many more stories. He died in 1940, leaving his last novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, unfinished.
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