20 Following


Currently reading

Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
Eric Karpeles
In Search of Lost Time
Marcel Proust, C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Andreas Mayor, Terence Kilmartin, D.J. Enright, Richard Howard
Within a Budding Grove (In Search of Lost Time, #2)
Marcel Proust, C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, D.J. Enright

The Beautiful and Damned: A Twentieth Century Classic

The Beautiful and Damned: A Twentieth Century Classic - F. Scott Fitzgerald This was an intriguing read, but overall a very uneven novel; the three books feel very different in tone and theme, almost as if Fitzgerald were juggling so many issues without the ability to bring them fully into a narrative cohesion. There's a lot going on here: evocations of Freud and how the modern complexes are at variance with classical philosophy and aesthetic values; a fascinating portrayal of love and pain in Anthony and Gloria's relationship which plays out Fitzgerald's preoccupation with Hegel and Freud both; there is even some interesting dialogue that is very unique for blending different genres (e.g. screenplay, interior monologues, Greek tragedy, etc.). What is perhaps most compelling in the novel is Fitzgerald's very overt pacifism, as well as his condemnation of the bourgeois class and the values associated with capital, money, and status -- values that run counter to art. Indeed, there is a nice tension between Anthony and his writer friend, Dick, about different kinds of art, how an artist can be bought and sold, how art can be catered to fit the needs of the masses and turn a profit instead of for the sake of art in and of itself. But all of these aspects, while compelling and beautifully drawn out, fail to speak to one another in a nice dialogue; the result is a very fragmented and scattered novel where many of the main characters aren't fleshed out enough, forcing the reader to view them as "types" and nothing more. One brilliantly written chapter toward the end of book two, the longest one which takes place in the middle of the night and begins with Gloria's perspective and meanders through much of the philosophical and aesthetic debates above is Fitzgerald at his finest in this novel, I though, and the section might well stand on its own to illustrate his central concerns in the text and in his work more generally.