F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise, made him instantly famous, and prefigured the themes and characters in later works such as The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. A thinly disguised account of Fitzgerald's own Princeton years, the novel's frank description of the main character's love affairs shocked and delighted its first readers, and the book was an immediate success.
The book recounts the story of Amory Blaine as he grows from pampered childhood to young adulthood, and learns to know himself better. At Princeton he becomes a literary aesthete and makes friends with other aspiring writers. As he moves out into the world and tries to find his true direction he falls in love with a succession of beautiful young women. Youthful exuberance and immaturity give way to disillusion and disappointment as Amory confronts the realities of life.
Jackson R. Bryer's introduction establishes the novel as an important work in its own right, highlighting its enduring strengths for the modern reader, examining the book's interesting composition history, and exploring its initial reception in 1920. In addition, this edition features an up-to-date bibliography of primary and secondary sources and critical material, a chronology of the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and explanatory notes that provide context for references and allusions.
Brilliant and original in style and structure, This Side of Paradise was a spectacular launching pad for Fitzgerald's career, and stamped him as the bard of the Jazz Age.
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