F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Short Stories

Fitzgerald wrote a total of 160 short stories in his life, not necessarily because they were his favorite literary form, but partially because they were his major source of income during the 1920s. The fact that there were monetary motives involved led contemporary critics to question Fitzgerald's seriousness as a writer. However, Fitzgerald never produced any hack work. Even his final endeavors in the genre - the Pat Hobby stories - are testament to his work ethic as well as his unique gifts as a writer.

'The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald', edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli

The definite collection of Fitzgerald's short stories; edited and with a preface by the foremost Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli. The anthology contains all of Fitzgerald's most important short stories: "The Ice Palace", "May Day", "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz", "Babylon Revisited" and "Crazy Sunday".

1920: 'Flappers and Philosophers'

Fitzgerald published his first collection of short stories shortly after the instant success of his first novel This Side of Paradise. It contains the following stories: "The Off-Shore Pirate", "The Ice Palace", "Head and Shoulders", "The Cut-Glass Bowl", "Bernice Bobs her Hair", "Benediction", "Dalyrimple Goes Wrong" and "The Four Fists".

1920: 'The Cruise of the Rolling Junk'

In the summer of 1920, three months after he got married, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda embarked on a 1,200-mile trip from their home in Westport, Connecticut to Montgomery, Alabama to pay her parents a surprise visit. He later chronicled the eight-day journey in the travelogue 'The Cruise of the Rolling Junk'. Fitzgerald's writing conveys an acute sense of time and place and creates a lively impression of the adventure that traveling across the United States by car once was on the reader's mind. But even though the piece is set firmly it its era, it's remarkable how contemporary Fitzgerald's narrative feels. Part of that is the endearingly self-deprecating manner with which he portrays himself and his wife: 'Zelda held Dr. Jones' Guide Book on her lap and gave me turning instructions as soon as - or almost immediately after - we reached each turning.' Certainly not one of Fitzgerald's greatest stories, but probably one of the funniest.

1922: 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'

The case of Benjamin Button is indeed curious: He gets born as an old man, very much to the chagrin of his father. He then gets younger and younger and finally dies as an infant. Fitzgerald's venture into the fantasy genre feels awkward, even though one of his core themes - romance betrayed by the passing of time - is at the heart of the story. The only reason this short story has been published as a stand-alone book is the movie adaptation by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.

1922: 'Tales of the Jazz Age'

During the 1920s short stories were Fitzgerald's main source of income, as he was able to sell them to magazines like the Saturday Evening Post for up to $4,000 - at a time when a schoolteacher's average annual salary was $1,299. Therefore it only took him two years to accumulate the material for his second collection of short stories which included "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" as well as "The Jelly-Bean", "The Camel's Back" (which he allegedly wrote in just one day), "May Day", "Porcelain and Pink", "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz", "Tarquin of Cheapside", "O Russet Witch!", "The Lees of Happiness", "Mr. Icky" and "Jemina".

1928: 'The Basil and Josephine Stories'

While Fitzgerald was working on what was to become Tender is the Night, he started writing a series of short stories that dealt with Basil Duke Lee - a fictitious version of his younger self - and Josephine Perry - Basil's female counterpart. The edition at the link above contains all 14 of the Basil and Josephine stories.

1940: 'The Pat Hobby Stories'

When Fitzgerald's second career as a Hollywood script author started to collapse, he began to write the Pat Hobby stories for Esquire magazine. Their hero is Pat Hobby - a down-on-his-luck script writer himself who has barely kept his self-respect. Fitzgerald has endowed the stories with sharp self-irony and a hint of melancholy. The edition at the link above comprises all 17 Pat Hobby stories.

F. Scott Fitzgerald - An Annotated Bibliography