Flappers and Philosophers

Charles Scribner's Sons


603 total

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Charles Scribner's Sons
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Dec 31, 1920
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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a friend's copy of Tender Is the Night, "If you liked The Great Gatsby, for God's sake read this. Gatsby was a tour de force but this is a confession of faith." Set in the South of France in the decade after World War I, Tender Is the Night is the story of a brilliant and magnetic psychiatrist named Dick Diver; the bewitching, wealthy, and dangerously unstable mental patient, Nicole, who becomes his wife; and the beautiful, harrowing ten-year pas de deux they act out along the border between sanity and madness.
In Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald deliberately set out to write the most ambitious and far-reaching novel of his career, experimenting radically with narrative conventions of chronology and point of view and drawing on early breakthroughs in psychiatry to enrich his account of the makeup and breakdown of character and culture.
Tender Is the Night is also the most intensely, even painfully, autobiographical of Fitzgerald's novels; it smolders with a dark, bitter vitality because it is so utterly true. This account of a caring man who disintegrates under the twin strains of his wife's derangement and a lifestyle that gnaws away at his sense of moral values offers an authorial cri de coeur, while Dick Diver's downward spiral into alcoholic dissolution is an eerie portent of Fitzgerald's own fate.
F. Scott Fitzgerald literally put his soul into Tender Is the Night, and the novel's lack of commercial success upon its initial publication in 1934 shattered him. He would die six years later without having published another novel, and without knowing that Tender Is the Night would come to be seen as perhaps its author's most poignant masterpiece. In Mabel Dodge Luhan's words, it raised him to the heights of "a modern Orpheus."
First published in 1920, This Side of Paradise marks the beginning of the career of one of the greatest writers of the first half of the twentieth century. In this remarkable achievement, F. Scott Fitzgerald displays his unparalleled wit and keen social insight in his portrayal of college life through the struggles and doubts of Amory Blaine, a self-proclaimed genius with a love of knowledge and a penchant for the romantic. As Amory journeys into adulthood and leaves the aristocratic egotism of his youth behind, he becomes painfully aware of his lost innocence and the new sense of responsibility and regret that has taken its place.
Clever and wonderfully written, This Side of Paradise is a fascinating novel about the changes of the Jazz Age and their effects on the individual. It is a complex portrait of a versatile mind in a restless generation that reveals rich ideas crucial to an understanding of the 1920s and timeless truths about the human need for--and fear of--change.
"A very enlivening book indeed, a book really brilliant and glamorous, making as agreeable reading as could be asked . . . There are clever things, keen and searching things, amusingly young and mistaken things, beautiful things and pretty things . . . and truly inspired and elevated things, an astonishing abundance of each, in THIS SIDE OF PARADISE. You could call it the youthful Byronism that is normal in a man of the author's type, working out through a well-furnished intellect of unusual critical force."
--The Evening Post, 1920
"An astonishing and refreshing book . . . Mr. Fitzgerald has recorded with a good deal of felicity and a disarming frankness the adventures and developments of a curious and fortunate American youth. . . . [It is] delightful and encouraging to find a novel which gives us in the accurate terms of intellectual honesty a reflection of American undergraduate life. At last the revelation has come. We have the constant young American occupation--the 'petting party'--frankly and humorously in our literature."
--The New Republic, 1920
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