The Beautiful and Damned

Version: Unabridged
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrator: William Dufris
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Classics
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: November 2000
# of Units: 11 CDs
Length: 13 hours, 7 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel, The Beautiful and the Damned, "marks an advance over This Side of Pardise," Edmund Wilson wrote. "The style is more nearly mature and the subject more nearly unified, and there are scenes that are more convincing than any in his previous fiction.

Published in 1922, it chronicles the relationship of Anthony Patch, Harvard-educated, aspiring aesthete, and his beautiful wife, Gloria, as they await to inherit his grandfather's fortune. A devestating satire of the and New York's nightlife, of reckless ambition and squandered talent, it is also a shattering portrait of a marriage fueled by alcohol and wasted by wealth. The Beautiful and the Damned, Fitzgerald wrote to Zelda in 1930, "was all true."

Lyrical, romantic, yet cruelly incisive, it signaled a new stage in FItzgerald's career. With The Beautiful and the Damned, H.L. Mencken commented in The Smart Set, "Fitzgerald ceases to be a Wunderkind, and begins to come into his maturity."

Reviews (4)

The Rich Are Not Lie You and Me,,,

Written by Nancy L on November 21st, 2018

  • Book Rating: 4/5

...even if their money is somewhere out of reach. Fitzgerald may have said "it's all true," but he himself would work at anything in his early days---not like Anthony, for whom no job was good enough, or Gloria, who would only have accepted a film career handed her on a platter. Reading (or hearing) about people who had all the advantages turning to drink and descending into (horrors!) a middle-class existence is painful, and Fitzgerald makes it real. It also gets tiresome. Where do they get it? The characters have no empathy for anyone else. Gloria reads magazines all day---some aristocrat! Oh, the ending! Not quite a crib from Bleak House, because the money hasn't vanished, but close enough. William Dufris does a fantastic job at all the voices---women's voices, drunken voices, exhausted-sounding intellectual voices, everything.

Not the Great Gatsby

Written by Anonymous on March 25th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 2/5

Well, I personally liked This Side of Paradise better. The story here was both to convoluted and two dull to make for particularly good listening. Fitzgerald does odd things like a random chapter in the middle narrated by Love, which come off as a little strange and hard to grasp. Perhaps it's better as a book, but as a CD I couldn't really get through it. His other works are better.

The Beautiful and Damned

Written by Anonymous on December 3rd, 2007

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I have read most of Fitzgerald's works, and I couldn't make it through the first disc of this one. There were interesting moments, and I tried to give it a chance, but it was slow and pointless, and I couldn't stand the narrator. It was all so self indulgent and tedious.

Worth Your Tiime

Written by Andrew McIntyre on April 6th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Overall, this book is a good read by a 20th Century American literary icon. The psychological and philosophical themes are profound, the story is compelling, and the characters are well developed. The narrator is a fine reader and actor, although I think his female voices sound more like children. The moving of the plot is, perhaps purposely, rather like the overall theme and commentary on the meaning of life--tired, boring, uneventful, moved along with the wind. Some themes seem open ended. Nevertheless, Fitzgerald's outstanding story telling skill keeps one's attention throughout.

Author Details

Author Details

Fitzgerald, F. Scott

F. Scott Fitzgerald's life is a tragic example of both sides of the American Dream - the joys of young love, wealth and success, and the tragedies associated with excess and failure. Named for another famous American, a distant cousin who authored the Star Spangled Banner, Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul Minnesota on September 24, 1896. The son of a failed wicker furniture salesman (Edward Fitzgerald) and an Irish immigrant with a large inheritance (Mary "Mollie" McQuillan), Fitzgerald grew up in a solidly Catholic and upper middle class environment.

Fitzgerald started writing at an early age. His high school newspaper published his detective stories, encouraging him to pursue writing more enthusiastically than academics. He dropped out of Princeton University to join the army and continued to pursue his obsession, writing magazine articles and even musical lyrics.

At 21 years of age, he submitted his first novel for publication and Charles Scribner's Sons rejected it, but with words of encouragement. Beginning a pattern of constant revising that would characterize his writing style for the rest of his career, Fitzgerald decided to rewrite "The Romantic Egoist" and resubmit it for publication. Meanwhile, fate, in the form of the U.S. army, stationed him near Montgomery, Alabama in 1918, where he met and fell in love with an 18-year-old Southern belle - Zelda Sayre. Scribners rejected his novel for a second time, and so Fitzgerald turned to advertising as a steady source of income. Unfortunately, his paltry salary was not enough to convince Zelda to marry him, and tired of waiting for him to make his fortune, she broke their engagement in 1919. Happily, Scribners finally accepted the novel after Fitzgerald rewrote it for the third time as "This Side of Paradise", and published it a year later. Fitzgerald, suddenly a rich and famous author, married Zelda a week after its publication.

In between writing novels, Fitzgerald was quite prolific as a magazine story writer. The Saturday Evening Post in particular served as a showcase for his short works of fiction, most of which revolved around a new breed of American woman - the young, free-thinking, independent "flapper" of the Roaring Twenties.
F. Scott Fitzgerald Photo

The Fitzgeralds enjoyed fame and fortune, and his novels reflected their lifestyle, describing in semi-autobiographical fiction the privileged lives of wealthy, aspiring socialites. Fitzgerald wrote his second novel - "The Beautiful and the Damned" a year after they were married. Three years later, after the birth of their first and only child, Scottie, Fitzgerald completed his best-known work: "The Great Gatsby."

The extravagant living made possible by such success, however, took its toll. Constantly globe-trotting (living at various times in several different cities in Italy, France, Switzerland, and eight of the United States), the Fitzgeralds tried in vain to escape or at least seek respite from Scott's alcoholism and Zelda's mental illness.

Zelda suffered several breakdowns in both her physical and mental health, and sought treatment in and out of clinics from 1930 until her death (due to a fire at Highland Hospital in North Carolina in 1948). Zelda's mental illness, the subject of Fitzgerald's fourth novel, "Tender is the Night," had a debilitating effect on Scott's writing. He described his own "crack-up" in an essay that he wrote in 1936, hopelessly in debt, unable to write, nearly estranged from his wife and daughter, and incapacitated by excessive drinking and poor physical health.

Things were looking up for Fitzgerald near the end of his life - he won a contract in 1937 to write for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood and fell in love with Sheilah Graham, a movie columnist. He had started writing again - scripts, short-stories, and the first draft of a new novel about Hollywood - when he suffered a heart attack and died in 1940 at the age of 44, a failure in his own mind. Most commonly recognized only as an extravagant drunk, who epitomized the excesses of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald's work did not earn the credibility and recognition it holds today until years after his death.