Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA & died on December 21, 1940 in Hollywood, California, was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself.
Born to an upper middle class Irish Catholic family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed, Francis Scott Key, but was referred to as “Scott”. He was also named after his deceased sister Louise Scott, one of two sisters who died shortly before his birth. He spent 1898–1901 in Syracuse and 1903–1908 in Buffalo, New York, where he attended Nardin Academy. When his father was fired from Procter & Gamble, the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul from 1908–1911.
He is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s. He finished four novels, This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender Is the Night and his most famous, the celebrated classic, The Great Gatsby. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with despair and age.
His first literary effort, a detective story, was published in a school newspaper when he was 12. When he was 16, he was expelled from St. Paul Academy for neglecting his studies. He attended Newman School, a prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1911–1912, and entered Princeton University in 1913 as a member of the Class of 1917. There he became friends with future critics and writers Edmund Wilson (Class of 1916) and John Peale Bishop (Class of 1917), and wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club. His absorption in the Triangle—a kind of musical-comedy society—led to his submission of a novel to Charles Scribner’s Sons where the editor praised the writing but ultimately rejected the book. He was a member of the University Cottage Club, which still displays Fitzgerald’s desk and writing materials in its library. A poor student, Fitzgerald left Princeton to enlist in the US Army during World War I; however, the war ended shortly after Fitzgerald’s enlistment.
Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since his college days, and became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, leaving him in poor health by the late 1930s. Fitzgerald biographer Arthur Mizener said that Scott suffered a mild attack of tuberculosis in 1919, and in 1929 he had “what proved to be a tubercular hemorrhage”. Fitzgerald died of a massive heart attack.