by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
| Generally considered Fitzgerald's finest work of short fiction, "Babylon" is the story of Charles Wales, a reformed alcoholic. Charles has returned to Paris, the scene of his former debauchery, in order to reclaim his nine year-old daughter, Honoria, who has been living with his sister-in-law. As we soon learn, Aunt Marion doesn't like Charles and isn't particularly sure he can be a responsible parent. The story contains intriguing parallels to Fitzgerald's own life. Read the selection (From Gutenberg.net).
About the Author
Minnesota-born and Princeton educated, Fitzgerald published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920 to critical and popular acclaim. He married Zelda Sayre the same year, and the two lived the boisterous, decadent life lived by the Wales couple in our LitCourse story. To better afford their extravagant lifestyle, the couple moved to France, where Fitzgerald befriended Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, becoming part of the legendary group of expatriate writers and artists, which Stein labeled the "Lost Generation." In Paris he wrote his finest novel, The Great Gatsby (1925).
Zelda was eventually hospitalized in 1930 for the first of many breakdowns, and Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood (William Faulkner was there, too), where his heavy drinking ended his screenwriting career. In 1934 he published Tender Is the Night. He died of a heart attack six years later at the age of 44.
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