Flappers and philosophers

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F. Scott Fitzgerald followed up his smash debut novel, "This Side of Paradise," with "Flappers and Philosophers." This 1920 collection of short stories contains several of Fitzgerald's signature pieces, including "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" and "Benediction." Though "Flappers and Philosophers" was F. Scott Fitzgerald's first short story collection, he was already a master of the genre. The stories in this classic are an entertaining group, brimming with the spirit of youth. Fitzgerald shows considerable skill in depicting horror in ''The Ice Palace'' as well as ''The Cut-Glass Bowl.'' Although Fitzgerald wrote to H.L. Mencken that ''Bernice'' was ''trash,'' the story is strong in showing the workings of peer pressure and popularity seeking. ''Flappers and Philosophers'' was dedicated to Fitzgerald's wife, the spirited and mercurial Zelda. Fittingly, we meet a Zelda on the very first page -- Ardita Farnam of ''The Offshore Pirate.'' ''Pirate'' is a romance that dwarfs contemporary Harlequin-type gruel. Most of the stories have at least one good plot twist. ''Dalyrimple Goes Wrong'' and ''Head and Shoulders'' are the best of the twisters. Though F. Scott Fitzgerald is known best today for "The Great Gatsby," that novel was a commercial flop during Fitzgerald's lifetime. It was "Flappers and Philosophers," together with "Tales of the Jazz Age," that led pre-Depression America to fall in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald, pushed him to celebrity and paid his bill. Fitzgerald may not have been overly fond of his short stories, but his writing skill and insight continue to shine in "Flappers and Philosophers."

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  • Fiction
  • GITenberg
  • Literature
  • PS
  • Short stories, American
  • Social life and customs




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