'to write it took three months; to conceive it - three minutes; to collect the data in it - all my life'
F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise tells 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.
A thinly disguised account of Fitzgerald's own Princeton years, the novel's frank description of Amory's love affairs shocked and delighted its first readers, and the book was an immediate success. Brilliant and original in style and structure, it was a spectacular launching for Fitzgerald's career, and instantly stamped him as the bard of the Jazz Age.
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Jackson R. Bryer is Professor Emeritus, Department of English, University of Maryland. He has published widely on F. Scott Fitzgerald, including an edition of the love letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda, St Martin's Press/ Bloomsbury 2002), and has been President of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society since 1990. His most recent book is The Selected Letters of Thornton Wilder (HarperCollins,