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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Interview with F Scott Fitzgerald

The Guardian‘s edited version of “The Other Side of Paradise, Scott Fitzgerald, 40, Engulfed in Despair” by Michel Mok, first published in the New York Post, September 25 1936

The author’s wife, Zelda, had been ill for some years. There was talk, said his friends, of an attempt at suicide on her part one evening when the couple were taking a walk in the country outside Baltimore. Mrs Fitzgerald, so the story went, threw herself on the tracks before an oncoming express train. Fitzgerald, himself in poor health, rushed after her and narrowly saved her life.


. . . for some months Fitzgerald wrote slogans for street car cards.
“I remember,” he said, “the hit I made with a slogan I wrote for the Muscatine Steam laundry in Muscatine, Iowa – ‘We keep you clean in Muscatine.’ I got a raise for that. ‘It’s perhaps a bit imaginative,’ said the boss, ‘but still it’s plain that there’s a future for you in this business. Pretty soon this office won’t be big enough to hold you.'”

6 Responses to “Interview with F Scott Fitzgerald”

  1. Certainly a depressing interview. Fitzgerald comes across as a hopeless alcoholic which I guess means the illness really had him in its grip. Of course he thought he was a failure as a writer and it took history to prove him wrong – something he couldn’t possibly know at that point. I don’t know what the moral of the story is – or if, indeed, there is a moral. Maybe you just have to keep battling on against the current regardless, because there is no alternative.

    I didn’t know that’s where the quote “…in a long dark night of the soul…” came from, or did he use it elsewhere?

    He remains the best writer I’ve ever read and I would sell my soul for a tiny fraction of his talent.

    jb says: Hi Bill. Yes, strange, isn’t it. All that stuff is swept away, all his foibles and failings, his depressions and his terrible self-image, as soon as you begin one of his novels or stories. The Great Gatsby is still one of the finest American novels.

  2. Noelle says:

    Fitzgerald, like his characters, is a hopelessly complicated man who fights his demons one day at a time just like anyone else. I found a copy of The Great Gatsby in the airport and I reread it (first read in high school) on an 18hr plane trip. It renewed my respect for him as an author.

  3. Ken Thomas says:

    This man is truly an inspiration one of my most favorite authors I just wished that he had a chance to finish his fifth novel The Love of the Last Tycoon. I agree with the other commentators “The Great Gatsby” is indeed one of the best novel I had read

  4. Les says:

    I’m not much of a reader but while on holiday at a friends we had really bad weather,she said I should have a read of The Great Gatsby.Which she had just finished.

    I must say, I couldn’t put the book down.
    Great read.

  5. Lucien Grey says:

    Reminds me of Van Gogh who cut his ear because of the pain he was suffering and people thought that he had gone mad.There are so many things which are not known to the general public and we still pass judgements.

  6. Abigail Paige says:

    @ Bill Liversidge. To me it looks like he was in an advanced stage of clinical depression. He had no care for his personal appearance and held himself in low esteem. The problem with many indulging in writing is that many a times only history proves their real talent, but then it is already too late for the writer.