A study of the philosophical, intellectual, and political influences on the artistic creations of Fitzgerald and key early American modernist writers

F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Scene continues Ronald Berman’s lifelong study of the philosophical, intellectual, and political influences on the artistic creations of key early American modernist writers. Each chapter in this volume elaborates on a crucial aspect of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s depiction of American society, specifically through the lens of the social sciences that most influenced his writing and thinking.

Berman addresses, among other subjects, Fitzgerald’s use of philosophy, cultural analyses, and sociology—all enriched by the insights of his own experience living an American life. He was especially interested in how life had changed from 1910 to 1920. Many Americans were unable to navigate between the 1920s and their own memories of a very different world before the Great War; especially Daisy Buchanan who evolves from girlhood (as typified in sentimental novels of the time) to wifehood (as actually experienced in the new decade). There is a profound similarity between what happens to Fitzgerald’s characters and what happened to the nation.

Berman revisits classics like The Great Gatsby but also looks carefully at Fitzgerald’s shorter fictions, analyzing a stimulating spectrum of scholars from more contemporary critics like Thomas Piketty to George Santayana, John Maynard Keynes, John Dewey, and Walter Lippmann. This fascinating addition to F. Scott Fitzgerald scholarship, although broad in its content, is accessible to a wide audience. Scholars and students of Fitzgerald and twentieth-century American literature, as well as dedicated Fitzgerald readers, should find much to enjoy in Berman’s take on a long-debated and celebrated author.

Ronald Berman is a professor emeritus of English literature at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of many books, including Fitzgerald-Wilson-Hemingway: Language and Experience; Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Twenties; and “The Great Gatsby” and Fitzgerald’s World of Ideas.

“An admirable and succinct look at parallels between Fitzgerald’s depiction of American society and social science in general. There is immense value to this book, and the individual chapters will no doubt be cited in future criticism.”
—Kirk Curnutt, author of The Cambridge Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald and editor of The Critical Response to Gertrude Stein

“A wonderful addition to the source materials for Fitzgerald’s intimate knowledge and rendition of his American scene.”
—Chris Messenger, author of “Tender Is the Night” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Sentimental Identities and Sport and the Spirit of Play in American Fiction: Hawthorne to Faulkner

112 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1964-9Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9149-2 Ebook