This Side of Paradise

Introduction

This Side of Paradise is the debut novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1920. It examines the lives and morality of carefree American youth at the dawn of the Jazz Age. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive middle-class student at Princeton University who dabbles in literature and engages in a series of romances with flappers. The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status-seeking, and takes its title from a line of Rupert Brooke's poem Tiare Tahiti.[1]

Within months of its publication, This Side of Paradise became a cultural sensation in the United States, and reviewers hailed the work as an amazing debut novel.[2] The book went through twelve printings and sold 49,075 copies.[3] It became especially popular among American college students, and the American national press depicted its 23-year-old author as the standard-bearer for "youth in revolt".[4] Overnight, F. Scott Fitzgerald became a household name.[5] His newfound fame enabled him to earn much higher rates for his short stories,[6] and his improved financial prospects persuaded his reluctant fiancée Zelda Sayre to marry him one month later.[7]

With his debut novel, Fitzgerald became the first writer to turn the national spotlight upon the so-called Jazz Age generation.[8][9][10] In contrast to the older Lost Generation to which Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway belonged, the Jazz Age generation were those younger Americans who had been adolescents during World War I, and were largely untouched by the conflict's psychological and material horrors.[11][12] Fitzgerald's novel riveted the nation's attention upon the leisure activities of this hedonistic younger generation and sparked a societal debate over their perceived immorality.[10][13]

As a consequence of this novel, Fitzgerald became known as "the outstanding aggressor in the little warfare which divided our middle classes in the twenties—warfare of moral emancipation against moral conceit, flaming youth against old guard".[14] When he died in 1940, social conservatives rejoiced over his death.[15] In a column for The New York World-Telegram, critic Westbrook Pegler wrote that Fitzgerald's death recalled "memories of a queer bunch of undisciplined and self-indulgent brats who were determined not to pull their weight in the boat and wanted the world to drop everything and sit down and bawl with them. A kick in the pants and a clout over the scalp were more like their needing."[16]


This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.