The Best of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Novels and Quotes from the Master

Widely regarded as one of the finest authors in American history, F. Scott Fitzgerald is the poster child of Jazz Age novelists. Youth, age, promise, despair, and love found and lost are frequent themes in his work.

Below are some of my favorite Fitzgerald novels (in fact, these are all of his novels as he only wrote five), along with my favorite quotes from each.

1. The Great Gatsby

In his most famous work, Fitzgerald tells the story of the millionaire Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

Favorite quotes:
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
“I hope she'll be a fool -- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”

2. The Love of the Last Tycoon

Though Fitzgerald died before it was finished, The Love of the Last Tycoon was published posthumously and follows Monroe Stahr in his navigations through Hollywood showbiz.

Favorite quotes:
"Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person."
"There's no substitute for will. Sometimes you have to fake will when you don't feel it at all."
"These lights, this brightness, these clusters of human hope, of wild desire—I shall take these lights in my fingers. I shall make them bright, and whether they shine or not, it is in these fingers that they shall succeed or fail."
"There’s a writer for you, knows everything and at the same time he knows nothing."

3. The Beautiful And Damned

Set in New York, The Beautiful and Damned portrays the lives of the elite before and after WWI and draws heavily from Fitzgerald's relationship with his wife Zelda.

Favorite quotes:
"Here's to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life."
"Things are sweeter when they're lost. I know--because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot, and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand."
"I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go"
"We all have souls of different ages"
“I don't care about truth. I want some happiness.”

4. Tender Is the Night

Fitzgerald considered Tender is the Night his greatest work. Written while his alcoholism was worsening, and his wife was diagnosed with schizophrenia, the novel reflects his bleak outlook.

Favorite quotes:
“Later she remembered all the hours of the afternoon as happy -- one of those uneventful times that seem at the moment only a link between past and future pleasure, but turn out to have been the pleasure itself.”
"New friends can often have a better time together than old friends."
“Strange children should smile at each other and say, "Let's play.”
“In any case you mustn't confuse a single failure with a final defeat.”
“Think how you love me," she whispered. "I don’t ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember. Somewhere inside me there’ll always be the person I am to-night.”

5. This Side of Paradise

Fitzgerald's debut novel, This Side of Paradise explores life, love, and morality of post WWI youth.

Favorite quotes:
“I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”
“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”
“Why don’t you tell me that ‘if the girl had been worth having, she’d have waited for you’? No, sir, the girl really worth having won’t wait for anybody.”
“It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being.”
“I'm a slave to my emotions, to my likes, to my hatred of boredom, to most of my desires.”
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