He was the voice of the Jazz Age, although that voice sometimes had to be censored for family publications. Part of what made TIME refer to F. Scott Fitzgerald, in 1934, as the “bad boy of U.S. letters” was his flair for impertinent zingers: he rarely pulled a punch in sizing someone up.
Evidence for this tendency can be found even in the earliest entries of Fitzgerald’s “ledger,” his incredibly detailed account of his life, his publications and his finances. The autobiographical chart begins on this day, Sept. 24, in 1896, when he was born in St. Paul, Minn. The following year’s summary notes that he came down with a bad case of bronchitis. “A specialist was summoned,” he writes, “but as his advice was not followed the child pulled through.”
If he didn’t have something snarky to say, it seemed, Fitzgerald might have said nothing at all…
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