This Side Of Paradise by F. Scott FitzgeraldThis Side Of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side Of Paradise

byF. Scott FitzgeraldIntroduction byPatrick O'donnellNotes byPatrick O'donnell

Paperback | March 1, 1996

about

First published in 1920, This Side of Paradise marks the beginning of the career of one of the greatest writers of the first half of the twentieth century. In this remarkable achievement, F. Scott Fitzgerald displays his unparalleled wit and keen social insight in his portrayal of college life through the struggles and doubts of Amory Blaine, a self-proclaimed genius with a love of knowledge and a penchant for the romantic. As Amory journeys into adulthood and leaves the aristocratic egotism of his youth behind, he becomes painfully aware of his lost innocence and the new sense of responsibility and regret that has taken its place.
Clever and wonderfully written, This Side of Paradise is a fascinating novel about the changes of the Jazz Age and their effects on the individual. It is a complex portrait of a versatile mind in a restless generation that reveals rich ideas crucial to an understanding of the 1920s and timeless truths about the human need for--and fear of--change.
"A very enlivening book indeed, a book really brilliant and glamorous, making as agreeable reading as could be asked . . . There are clever things, keen and searching things, amusingly young and mistaken things, beautiful things and pretty things . . . and truly inspired and elevated things, an astonishing abundance of each, in THIS SIDE OF PARADISE. You could call it the youthful Byronism that is normal in a man of the author's type, working out through a well-furnished intellect of unusual critical force."
--The Evening Post, 1920
"An astonishing and refreshing book . . . Mr. Fitzgerald has recorded with a good deal of felicity and a disarming frankness the adventures and developments of a curious and fortunate American youth. . . . [It is] delightful and encouraging to find a novel which gives us in the accurate terms of intellectual honesty a reflection of American undergraduate life. At last the revelation has come. We have the constant young American occupation--the 'petting party'--frankly and humorously in our literature."
--The New Republic, 1920
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University which he left in 1917 to join the army. Fitzgerald was said to have epitomised the Jazz Age, an age inhabited by a generation he defined as ‘grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken’. In 1920 he married Zelda Sa...
Loading
Title:This Side Of ParadiseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 7.76 × 5.08 × 0.67 inPublished:March 1, 1996Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140189769

ISBN - 13:9780140189766

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it I enjoyed this version of this side of paradise! A refreshing new look at the tragedies of life and heartbreaks that everyone goes through. Fitzgerald will always have a way with words.
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightful An excellent read, and especially resonant if you happen to read it while in university. It is not F. Scott's most polished work, but that's the point, and it's part of what makes this my most favourite work of his.
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lessons Learned The story of a young man from childhood to his days at Princeton and the lessons in life that he learned. Contains different different writing styles prose, poetry, play structure, poems. The lead character is not very like able. Takes a bit of time to get used to how the book was written. :
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from couldn't get through it I honestly couldn't get past how arrogant Amory was; plot didn't hold my attention; writing isn't up to par with Gatsby. Never ended up finishing it, so I'm unsure if it gets better the further in you get.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun This is a fun story of college hi-jinks told with Fitzgerald's trademark lyrical and energetic prose. Not as great as Gatsby, but what is?
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A New Generation Would it be wrong to compare F Scott Fitzgerald to Evelyn Waugh? Christopher Hitchens, in his brilliant essay, The Road to West Egg, wrote: “In its evocation, ‘The Great Gatsby’ is the American ‘Brideshead Revisited.’ Or perhaps one should say that Brideshead, produced two decades later, is the English Gatsby. In both novels young people are caught in a backwash of postwar blues and anomie, and everybody drinks too much. In both novels, too, the old order is visibly deteriorating, and an insecure yet grand mansion is a centerpiece. The dreaming spires of Oxford play a strange, background role in each, but the fictional foreground is filled with jazz and flappers and infidelity and brittle, amoral talk. Rex Mottram, Julia Flyte’s crude lover in Brideshead, is a newly rich and self-invented man from a shabby background, vulgar and ostentatious in his hospitality, suspected of crime and violence, and full of status anxiety. (I can’t find any evidence that Waugh ever read Gatsby, and he affected to disdain American writers, but still … )” I suppose one can say the same about the two brilliant authors of the Jazz Age. Both were, or so it seems, tired of the old world; both, like the rest of their generation, wanted something fresh. Fitzgerald and Waugh also had an element of sardonicism and pathos in their novels. ‘Brideshead Revisited,’ of course, is infinitely more luscious and longer than ‘The Great Gatsby.’ ‘This Side of Paradise’ was Fitzgerald’s first novel; after being rejected repeatedly and vigorously altering his work, he finally seduced the recalcitrant publishers to publish the work. It was an instant success. As a University Student, as I was reading this classic, I could not but compare myself to the protagonist, Anthony Blaine. I suppose, to be candid, we all are narcissists at this stage of our life; our personality and utterances dripping with dazzling egoism. Don’t we all think that we are going to be great philosophers or poets of the future? Anthony Blaine is such a character. The Great War, like his entire generation, metamorphosed him into someone entirely different. As his mentor writes to him in a letter, “This is the end of one thing: for better or for worse you will never again be quite the Amory Blaine I knew, never again will be meet as we have met, because your generation is growing hard, much harder than mine ever grew…” The ghastly G-World comes over and over again, not only in this novel but also in Fitzgerald’s other works (or Waugh’s, for that matter). As he succulently shimmers the following words at the end of this glittering novel: “Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in the man shaken…” ‘This Side of Paradise’ is a novel that our narcissistic generation must read, and learn, and contemplate the future, but hopefully, our egoistic dreams shall never cease. After all, this is all we have got.
Date published: 2012-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Deserving Classic This is the first F. Scott Fitzgerald novel I have had the fortune of reading and I have a new favorite author as a result. Fitzgerald writes beautifully, eloquently and with great description. The story concerns the life and times of the romantic egoist Amory Blaine. It recounts the struggles of youth, the glory of self-absorbtion and centers on the confusion that the transition into adulthood often entails. Fitzgerald's narrative is exquisite. As an Everyman's Library edition, the book is put together fanastically with a cloth cover, silk page marker, and general attention to detail that is inherent to the Random House series.
Date published: 2001-06-05

Read from the Book

Book OneThe Romantic EgotistAmory, Son of BeatriceAmory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while. His father, an ineffectual, inarticulate man with a taste for Byron and a habit for drowsing over the Encyclopædia Britannica, grew wealthy at thirty through the death of two elder brothers, successful Chicago brokers, and in the first flush of feeling that the world was his, went to Bar Harbor and met Beatrice O’Hara. In consequence, Stephen Blaine handed down to posterity his height of just under six feet and his tendency to waver at crucial moments, these two abstractions appearing in his son Amory. For many years he hovered in the background of his family’s life, an unassertive figure with a face half-obliterated by lifeless, silky hair continually occupied in “taking care” of his wife, continually harassed by the idea that he didn’t and couldn’t understand her.But Beatrice Blaine! There was a woman! Early pictures taken on her father’s estate at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, or in Rome at the Sacred Heart Convent–an educational extravagance that in her youth was only for the daughters of the exceptionally wealthy–showed the exquisite delicacy of her features, the consummate art and simplicity of her clothes. A brilliant education she had–her youth passed in renaissance glory, she was versed in the latest gossip of the Older Roman Families; known by name as a fabulously wealthy American girl to Cardinal Vitori and Queen Margherita and more subtle celebrities that one must have had some culture even to have heard of. She learned in England to prefer whiskey and soda to wine, and her small talk was broadened in two senses during a winter in Vienna. All in all Beatrice O’Hara absorbed the sort of education that will be quite impossible ever again; a tutelage measured by the number of things and people one could be contemptuous of and charming about; a culture rich in all arts and traditions, barren of all ideas, in the last of those days when the great gardener clipped the inferior roses to produce one perfect bud.In her less important moments she returned to America, met Stephen Blaine and married him–this almost entirely because she was a little bit weary, a little bit sad. Her only child was carried through a tiresome season and brought into the world on a spring day in ninety-six.When Amory was five he was already a delightful companion for her. He was an auburn-haired boy, with great, handsome eyes which he would grow up to in time, a facile imaginative mind and a taste for fancy dress. From his fourth to his tenth year he did the country with his mother in her father’s private car, from Coronado, where his mother became so bored that she had a nervous breakdown in a fashionable hotel, down to Mexico City, where she took a mild, almost epidemic consumption. This trouble pleased her, and later she made use of it as an intrinsic part of her atmosphere–especially after several astounding bracers.So, while more or less fortunate little rich boys were defying governesses on the beach at Newport, or being spanked or tutored or read to from “Do and Dare,” or “Frank on the Mississippi,” Amory was biting acquiescent bell-boys in the Waldorf, outgrowing a natural repugnance to chamber music and symphonies, and deriving a highly specialized education from his mother.“Amory.”“Yes, Beatrice.” (Such a quaint name for his mother; she encouraged it.)“Dear, don’t think of getting out of bed yet. I’ve always suspected that early rising in early life makes one nervous. Clothilde is having your breakfast brought up.”“All right.”“I am feeling very old today, Amory,” she would sigh, her face a rare cameo of pathos, her voice exquisitely modulated, her hands as facile as Bernhardt’s. “My nerves are on edge–on edge. We must leave this terrifying place tomorrow and go searching for sunshine.”Amory’s penetrating green eyes would look out through tangled hair at his mother. Even at this age he had no illusions about her.“Amory.”“Oh, yes.”“I want you to take a red-hot bath–as hot as you can bear it, and just relax your nerves. You can read in the tub if you wish.”She fed him sections of the “Fêtes Galantes” before he was ten; at eleven he could talk glibly, if rather reminiscently, of Brahms and Mozart and Beethoven. One afternoon, when left alone in the hotel at Hot Springs, he sampled his mother’s apricot cordial, and as the taste pleased him, he became quite tipsy. This was fun for a while, but he essayed a cigarette in his exaltation, and succumbed to a vulgar, plebeian reaction. Though this incident horrified Beatrice, it also secretly amused her and became part of what in a later generation would have been termed her “line.”“This son of mine,” he heard her tell a room full of awe-struck, admiring women one day, “is entirely sophisticated and quite charming–but delicate–we’re all delicate; here, you know.” Her hand was radiantly outlined against her beautiful bosom; then sinking her voice to a whisper, she told them of the apricot cordial. They rejoiced, for she was a brave raconteuse, but many were the keys turned in sideboard locks that night against the possible defection of little Bobby or Barbara. . . .These domestic pilgrimages were invariably in state; two maids, the private car, or Mr. Blaine when available, and very often a physician. When Amory had the whooping-cough four disgusted specialists glared at each other hunched around his bed; when he took scarlet fever the number of attendants, including physicians and nurses, totalled fourteen. However, blood being thicker than broth, he was pulled through.The Blaines were attached to no city. They were the Blaines of Lake Geneva; they had quite enough relatives to serve in place of friends, and an enviable standing from Pasadena to Cape Cod. But Beatrice grew more and more prone to like only new acquaintances, as there were certain stories, such as the history of her constitution and its many amendments, memories of her years abroad, that it was necessary for her to repeat at regular intervals. Like Freudian dreams, they must be thrown off, else they would sweep in and lay siege to her nerves. But Beatrice was critical about American women, especially the floating population of ex-Westerners.“They have accents, my dear,” she told Amory, “not Southern accents or Boston accents, not an accent attached to any locality, just an accent”–she became dreamy. “They pick up old, moth-eaten London accents that are down on their luck and have to be used by some one. They talk as an English butler might after several years in a Chicago grand opera company.” She became almost incoherent– “Suppose–time in every Western woman’s life–she feels her husband is prosperous enough for her to have–accent–they try to impress me, my dear–”Though she thought of her body as a mass of frailties, she considered her soul quite as ill, and therefore important in her life. She had once been a Catholic, but discovering that priests were infinitely more attentive when she was in process of losing or regaining faith in Mother Church, she maintained an enchantingly wavering attitude. Often she deplored the bourgeois quality of the American Catholic clergy, and was quite sure that had she lived in the shadow of the great Continental cathedrals her soul would still be a thin flame on the mighty altar of Rome. Still, next to doctors, priests were her favorite sport.“Ah, Bishop Wiston,” she would declare, “I do not want to talk of myself. I can imagine the stream of hysterical women fluttering at your doors, beseeching you to be simpatico”–then after an interlude filled by the clergyman–“but my mood–is–oddly dissimilar.”Only to bishops and above did she divulge her clerical romance. When she had first returned to her country there had been a pagan, Swinburnian young man in Asheville, for whose passionate kisses and unsentimental conversations she had taken a decided penchant–they had discussed the matter pro and con with an intellectual romancing quite devoid of soppiness. Eventually she had decided to marry for background, and the young pagan from Asheville had gone through a spiritual crisis, joined the Catholic Church, and was now–Monsignor Darcy.“Indeed, Mrs. Blaine, he is still delightful company–quite the cardinal’s right-hand man.”“Amory will go to him one day, I know,” breathed the beautiful lady, “and Monsignor Darcy will understand him as he understood me.”Amory became thirteen, rather tall and slender, and more than ever on to his Celtic mother. He had tutored occasionally–the idea being that he was to “keep up,” at each place “taking up the work where he left off,” yet as no tutor ever found the place he left off, his mind was still in very good shape. What a few more years of this life would have made of him is problematical. However, four hours out from land, Italy bound, with Beatrice, his appendix burst, probably from too many meals in bed, and after a series of frantic telegrams to Europe and America, to the amazement of the passengers the great ship slowly wheeled around and returned to New York to deposit Amory at the pier. You will admit that if it was not life it was magnificent.After the operation Beatrice had a nervous breakdown that bore a suspicious resemblance to delirium tremens, and Amory was left in Minneapolis, destined to spend the ensuing two years with his aunt and uncle. There the crude, vulgar air of Western civilization first catches him–in his underwear, so to speak.

Table of Contents

This Side of ParadiseAcknowledgments
Introduction by Patrick O'Donnell
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text
This Side of Paradise

Book One: The Romantic Egotist
I. Amory, Son of Beatrice
II. Spires and Gargoyles
III. The Egotist Considers
IV. Narcissus Off Duty

[Interlude: May, 1917 - February, 1919.]

Book Two: The Education of a Personage
I. The Débutante
II. Experiments in Convalescence
III. Young Irony
IV. The Supercilious Sacrifice
V. The Egotist Becomes a Personage

Explanatory Notes

From Our Editors

The story of Amory Blaine's adolescence and undergraduate days at Princeton, This Side of Paradise captures the essence of an American generation struggling to define itself in the aftermath of World War I and the destruction of "the old order"

Editorial Reviews

“As nearly perfect as such a work could be . . . The glorious spirit of abounding youth glows throughout this fascinating tale. Amory, the romantic egotist, is essentially American.” –The New York Times“[A] bravura display of literary promise . . . Fitzgerald’s prose is capable of soaring like a violin, and of moving his readers with understated husky notes as well as with notes of piercing purity . . . Fitzgerald knew that glamour was bound to fail, that there is an ineradicable human instinct for it which is utterly mistaken.” –from the Introduction by Craig Raine