Fitzgerald's ironic epigraph to The Beautiful and the Damned exemplifies his attitude toward the young rootless post-World War I generation. Fitzgerald here once again displays a wariness of the upper classes--"an abiding distrust, and animosity toward the leisure class--not the conviction of a revolutionist but the smoldering hatred of a peasant."
This edition includes a detailed account of the composition of the novel, a textual apparatus, a chronology of composition, and, uniquely, three versions of the ending. Explanatory notes situate The Beautiful and Damned in its times and deepen the reader's understanding of Fitzgerald's sources for the novel.
Fitzgerald?s second novel, a devastating portrait of the excesses of the Jazz Age, is a largely autobiographical depiction of a glamorous, reckless Manhattan couple and their spectacular spiral into tragedy. Published on the heels of This Side of Paradise, the story of the Harvard-educated aesthete Anthony Patch and his willful wife, Gloria, is propelled by Fitzgerald?s intense romantic imagination and demonstrates an increased technical and emotional maturity. The Beautiful and Damned is at once a gripping morality tale, a rueful meditation on love, marriage, and money, and an acute social document. As Hortense Calisher observes in her Introduction, ?Though Fitzgerald can entrance with stories so joyfully youthful they appear to be safe?when he cuts himself, you will bleed.?
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