The Beautiful and the Damned Background

The Beautiful and the Damned Background

The Beautiful and Damned is the second novel of Fitzgerald first published in 1921 in the magazine “Metropolitan”. The novel is the second after This Side Of Paradise and the one that precedes The Great Gatsby, so the novel is considered as a transitional one in Fitzgerald’s writing career.

The novel is a perfect picture of the jazz epoch of Fitzgerald's own lifetime. The characters are people with money, with good education but with no purpose in life. Anthony and Gloria being so beautiful turn out to be completely purposeless and corrupted inside.

Fitzgerald's characters were infantile, spoiled offspring of a withering aristocracy of the 20s of the last century, who simply drifted along. They did not want to grow up and accept reality as it is. It was easier for them to blame others or each other for their failures rather than try to look inside themselves and ask: what am I doing wrong? They gave in to the realities of this world and did not try to change anything. Irresponsibility and the desire for an easy life eventually killed them.

It is noteworthy that the book is much autobiographical. Fitzgerald himself and his wife Zelda became the prototypes of the heroes. After the publication of the first Fitzgerald novel, Scott and Zelda began to live on a grand scale: they enjoyed a fun rich life consisting of parties, receptions and trips to European resorts. The spouse constantly "threw out" some eccentric antics that made the entire American high society speak about them: either riding along Manhattan on the roof of a taxi, or bathing in a fountain, or appearing in nude at the play. With all this, their lives also consisted of constant scandals (often on the basis of jealousy) and the excessive use of alcohol by both.

All this time, the author also managed to write quite a lot for magazines, which brought a very tangible income (he was one of the highest paid authors of the “glossy” magazines). The Fitzgeralds were famous for their work as well as for their luxurious lifestyle. One day Fitzgerald said that he was not sure that Zelda and he were real people or just characters from one of his novels.

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