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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fitzgeralds Last Laugh on Hemingway

The two titans of literature in the early twentieth century never really vied for the spot of Best Writer at all. Hemingway knocked out Fitzgerald right after he gave him a leg up by writing to Max Perkins and telling him about a young writer in Paris who is the real thing. The real thing then turned his back on Fitzgerald and pilloried him in print, disparaged him to his editor, and then left him in the dust with publications, movies, media, becoming the HE MAN writer while Scott hacked it out in a hotel room in Baltimore and then later died in Hollywood a broken man. The Great Gatsby and the rest of his work cooled in Scribner warehouses with little demand.

Now lets fast forward to 2013. The mannered Hemingway prose has not translated well. Still widely read as high school fare and universally admired but not modern nor could anyone see one of his books being made into a contemporary movie with Leo and the Toby. But maybe I'm wrong that someone could take another crack at For Whom The Bell Tolls or Old Man and Sea or Farewell To Arms but there is lacking that modern story. And that is what Fitzgerald gave us with Gatsby a modern story for the ages that has crashed back onto the bestseller list and beckons to  us from airports and drugstores. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Because Hemingway did treat him like a drunken has been from the beginning. He set his sites on crushing Fitzgerald and anyone else got close to him. There was to be only one man in the ring and that was Ernest Hemingway but now with both men gone and the Hemingway megaphone long silence, Fitzgerald seems to be the one in the ring with both hands held high. Jay Gatz has been transported through the years and we can relate and that effable Fitzgerald prose has no equal. Even Hemingway cant touch it.

And so Fitz did have the last laugh. The ninety eight pound weakling came back stronger than ever and kicked the bully straight back on his ass.

Books by William Hazelgrove