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The Beautiful and Damned (Annotated) (20th Century Fiction)

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Fitzgerald’s second novel, 'The Beautiful and Damned' portrays the Eastern elite during the jazz age, exploring the New York cafe society. It tells the story of Anthony Patch, a 1920's socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoons fortune, his relationship with his wife, Gloria, his service in the army and his alcoholism. The book is thought to be based on the author's relat Fitzgerald’s second novel, 'The Beautiful and Damned' portrays the Eastern elite during the jazz age, exploring the New York cafe society. It tells the story of Anthony Patch, a 1920's socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoons fortune, his relationship with his wife, Gloria, his service in the army and his alcoholism. The book is thought to be based on the author's relationship with his wife Zelda.


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Fitzgerald’s second novel, 'The Beautiful and Damned' portrays the Eastern elite during the jazz age, exploring the New York cafe society. It tells the story of Anthony Patch, a 1920's socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoons fortune, his relationship with his wife, Gloria, his service in the army and his alcoholism. The book is thought to be based on the author's relat Fitzgerald’s second novel, 'The Beautiful and Damned' portrays the Eastern elite during the jazz age, exploring the New York cafe society. It tells the story of Anthony Patch, a 1920's socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoons fortune, his relationship with his wife, Gloria, his service in the army and his alcoholism. The book is thought to be based on the author's relationship with his wife Zelda.

30 review for The Beautiful and Damned (Annotated) (20th Century Fiction)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    I can't think of any writer other F. Scott Fitzgerald that has had such of a yo-yo effect on me. I thought 'Gatsby' was the real deal, 'This Side of Paradise' I gave up on, some of his short stories left a big impression on me, whereas, 'Tender Is the Night' felt like a bit of a mess. I put this down to his personal life, which wasn't exactly plain sailing. 'The Beautiful and Damned' sits comfortably in-between this lot, lounged in the Ritz-carlton to be precise. With a cigarette in one hand, an I can't think of any writer other F. Scott Fitzgerald that has had such of a yo-yo effect on me. I thought 'Gatsby' was the real deal, 'This Side of Paradise' I gave up on, some of his short stories left a big impression on me, whereas, 'Tender Is the Night' felt like a bit of a mess. I put this down to his personal life, which wasn't exactly plain sailing. 'The Beautiful and Damned' sits comfortably in-between this lot, lounged in the Ritz-carlton to be precise. With a cigarette in one hand, and a cocktail glass in the other, not worrying about the tab, at least for now. Regardless of how I perceived much of his work, one thing about him does stands out, he WAS the voice of a generation. My first experience with Fitzgerald was something completely new, like tasting champagne for the first time, or putting on an expensive suit. The whole experience was plush, sensuous and dazzling. Although I didn't think the story here was that great, his writing at least felt less floppy and more tightly focused, not too far off Gatsby standard. Written during the golden age of jazz, his second novel looks at the rise and fall of young couple Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert, through their first meeting, courtship, and marriage. Like with all Fitzgerald's characters they are complex when it comes to relationships, and draws comparisons to the problems of himself and wife Zelda. At the core of it's story along with the couple, is money, and the problems of overspending, or living beyond ones means. Antony & Gloria live the high life, spending well at every opportunity, but eventually realizing their funds are dwindling. This is where Antony's ever so rich grandfather comes into play, he hopes to get his hands on a large fortune as Inheritance, but to his dismay is not written into the will, the couple start to feel the strain. With their bank balances and each other. It is a novel not of disillusion but of decay. What happens to the kind of people that Anthony and Gloria are has happened to the same kind of people over and over again. In our foolish optimism, our pride and certainty in progress, we like to forget that disintegration is a competing and often victorious force. And so, when we see signs of something uncommonly like it in the young generation, we think it has never happened before, the setting changes, of course, but since Fitzgerald has described our modern setting with its prohibition parties, socialites and promiscuous kissing in such magnanimous detail, we are apt to think that, because the scenery is startling, the scenario is a new one. Anthony Patch is built up in pages which, while blazing with clever irony, do not give us a picture of him in three dimensions. Later we find him using that mixture of standing aside and telling us what he says and does and acting as his intimate psychological confidant, which often betrays. Within rather large limits Anthony is clear, but clear as a type rather than a person. The most telling accounts of him, while real, could also seem real of other persons quite different from him in other ways. Gloria, admirably sharp and witty at first, deliquesces and loses her personality as Fitzgerald grows intimate with her, until toward the end we find her speaking very little as problems start to mount. She too, broadens into a person with too many characteristics which other characters could share with her and still be differential. The treatment of the two of them leaves the curious impression that Fitzgerald was at first inside Anthony's head before gradually exchanging positions. Also minor characters written about actually felt sharper than that of Antony and Gloria, even though in the novel they are limited to scenes here and there. There is the very small allowance for tenderness and proper love here, and even less of pity, contained within there is a lot of hatred and boiled over arguments that I guess goes with the territory. It's lively with epigrams, so many that one half suspects that their origin is less in a perpetually ironic state of mind than in a facility and joy in turning them out. He did get the fine line of using enough energy and weariness spot on in all the right places, and I really liked the last 30 or so pages, but the couple I seemed to love one minute and semi-despised the next. Had they lived in the 21st century, they would have racked up huge debts on twenty credit cards, whilst both having about five on-line affairs apiece. Well written, with some great moments, but over all it just lacked that something extra. 3.5/5 - minus the tip.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    A deeply flawed book. A good amount of editing would've greatly improved this book. However, Fitzgerald was coming off his huge success with "This Side of Paradise", so the publisher allowed him to publish this very uneven piece of work. This was the final Fitzgerald novel that I have read, and by far the worst. Yes, Fitzgerald writes beautiful prose. Eloquence for its own sake doesn't make a novel. Indulgent eloquence, uneven pacing, unsympathetic characters, a generally poor plot, and a terribl A deeply flawed book. A good amount of editing would've greatly improved this book. However, Fitzgerald was coming off his huge success with "This Side of Paradise", so the publisher allowed him to publish this very uneven piece of work. This was the final Fitzgerald novel that I have read, and by far the worst. Yes, Fitzgerald writes beautiful prose. Eloquence for its own sake doesn't make a novel. Indulgent eloquence, uneven pacing, unsympathetic characters, a generally poor plot, and a terrible ending made it difficult for me to even finish this book. We are first introduced to Anthony and Gloria, our "protagonists". Then, a seemingly endless array of vignettes aim to portray them as examples of the moral bankruptcy of the Jazz Age. Are Anthony and Gloria products of their environment, their upbringing, etc? I don't care, because I hated both of them 100 pages in and didn't want to read any more about them. Then, the book just keeps going, and going… It finally gets interesting when Anthony goes off to military boot camp (i.e. the first time anything actually happens in the plot other than Anthony and Gloria partying). Once he reunites the Gloria, the same tired plot starts up again. The pacing and tone has improved and tightened considerably at this point, and shows Fitzgerald's promise in later novels. This book is a bridge between "This Side of Paradise" and "The Great Gatsby" and is interesting in this aspect, but taken alone, not at all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940) The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. It explores and portrays New York café society and the American Eastern elite during the Jazz Age before and after "The Great War" and in the early 1920s. As in his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters in this novel are complex, especially with respect to marriage and intimacy. The work is generally considered to have drawn upon and b The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940) The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. It explores and portrays New York café society and the American Eastern elite during the Jazz Age before and after "The Great War" and in the early 1920s. As in his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters in this novel are complex, especially with respect to marriage and intimacy. The work is generally considered to have drawn upon and be based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with his wife Zelda Fitzgerald. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و دوم ماه نوامبر سال 2012 میلادی عنوان: زیبا و ملعون؛ اثر: فرانسیس اسکات فیتزجرالد؛ مترجم: سهیل سمی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، ققنوس، 1390، در 496 ص، ادبیات جهان 104، رمان 89، شابک: 9789643119348، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکایی سده 20 م رمان «زیبا و ملعون» همانند دیگر نگاره های فیتزجرالد، شیوه ی پخته شدن جوان‌های رمانتیک و خام را، در بستر جامعه‌ ی آمریکایی بیان می‌کند، و نشان می‌دهد که چگونه از آن‌ها توهم‌ زدایی شده، و به واقعیت‌های زندگی آمریکا وارد می‌شوند. این اثر و دیگر آثار فیتزجرالد، در واقع سوگ‌نامه‌ هایی برای پایان دوران رمانتیک هستند. «زیبا و ملعون» سه بخش اصلی دارد که با عنوانهای: «کتاب اول»، «کتاب دوم» و «کتاب سوم» نامگذاری شده‌ اند. هر بخش نیز خود به سه بخش دیگر تقسیم می‌شود. «آنتونی پَچ»، «تصویر زن افسونگر» و «خُبره احساسات» بخش‌های کتاب نخست هستند. در کتاب دوم هم، مخاطب بخش‌های: «ساعت درخشان»، «سمپوزیوم» و «عود شکسته» را می‌خواند. «مسئله تمدن»، «مسئله زیبایی شناسی» و «مهم نیست!» هم بخش‌های کتاب سوم این رمان هستند. ا. شربیانی

  4. 5 out of 5

    Briynne

    Fitzgerald wasn't joking with that title. These people were completely screwed from the moment they hit the page, and it was fascinating to watch it all disintegrate. As I mentioned in the review I just finished for Tender is the Night , I found Anthony and Gloria to be some of the more unsympathetic characters I've encountered lately. They are both vain and shallow and utterly useless people in terms of anything practical. I can't imagine being friends with these people. This book worked for m Fitzgerald wasn't joking with that title. These people were completely screwed from the moment they hit the page, and it was fascinating to watch it all disintegrate. As I mentioned in the review I just finished for Tender is the Night , I found Anthony and Gloria to be some of the more unsympathetic characters I've encountered lately. They are both vain and shallow and utterly useless people in terms of anything practical. I can't imagine being friends with these people. This book worked for me primarily on the level that Fitzgerald managed to keep me hoping that they'd finally get their act together. Of course they don't, but that's not really the point. I kept caring about them even though I didn't particularly like them. I wanted to plead with the judge to give them the money, even though my better sense told me the money really wasn't as much of the problem as they were. I really enjoyed this book - also, an excellent cautionary tale on how not to handle your personal finances.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ilenia Zodiaco

    "E questo mi ha insegnato che non si può avere niente, non si può avere assolutamente niente. Perché il desiderio inganna. È come un raggio di sole che guizza qua e là in una stanza. Si ferma e illumina un oggetto insignificante, e noi poveri sciocchi cerchiamo di afferrarlo: ma quando lo afferriamo il sole si sposta su qualcos'altro e la parte insignificante resta, ma lo splendore che l'ha resa desiderabile è scomparso.."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    "The Beautiful and Damned" is the perfect title for this novel, as well as for the author's life with his wife Zelda. This is Fitzgerald's second novel, and he had become wealthy and famous. His protagonist and his wife--Anthony and Gloria Patch--move in a circle of rich, hard-drinking sybarites, who seem to move glibly from party to party. (On the first edition dust jacket, Anthony and Gloria are painted as Scott & Zelda) Anthony doesn't want to work. After graduating from Harvard, he wander "The Beautiful and Damned" is the perfect title for this novel, as well as for the author's life with his wife Zelda. This is Fitzgerald's second novel, and he had become wealthy and famous. His protagonist and his wife--Anthony and Gloria Patch--move in a circle of rich, hard-drinking sybarites, who seem to move glibly from party to party. (On the first edition dust jacket, Anthony and Gloria are painted as Scott & Zelda) Anthony doesn't want to work. After graduating from Harvard, he wanders around Europe for a few years, before moving to New York City to live. He finds a nice apartment, and lives well on his allowance, while waiting for his industrialist grandfather to die, at which point he'll be a bazillionaire. He meets Gloria, the young, beautiful cousin of his Harvard chum, Dick, and is smitten. As is she: the couple marry, enjoy a protracted honeymoon, and settle back into NYC's pre-War party scene. Gradually, their life together crumbles. The only consistent motifs are A) that they don't want to work, and B) that their investments are not producing enough income to cover their lifestyle. When Anthony's grandfather finally does die, he leaves not a dime to Anthony. All-too-soon, World War One looms, and Anthony applies, with his friends Maury and Dick, to go to officer training school. Anthony fails the medical. This doesn't prevent him from being drafted later, and he's shipped south for basic training. Far from home, Anthony finds affection in the arms of Dot, a local girl. The war ends before Anthony's unit can be shipped overseas, and he and Gloria are reunited. They quarrel over money, and find any excuse to drink, which seems the only way they can tolerate life and each other. They wait for Anthony's lawsuit against his grandfather's estate to settle. Their apartments get smaller, their clothes less-trendy and more frayed, and the need for alcoholic oblivion even stronger. What is disturbing about "The Beautiful and Damned" is how loathsome Fitzgerald obviously finds this society, especially himself. At one point, Anthony is talking to Dick--an author of great success--and Dick talks of how vapid modern fiction is, and how everyone asks him whether he's read "This Side of Paradise." Dick decries how detestible the characters in "Paradise" are. "This Side of Paradise," of course, was F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel. It's obvious that Fitzgerald and Anthony are both alcoholic, and that Gloria--like Zelda--is both a big drinker, and suffering from early stages of mental illness. Things hit rock-bottom: Anthony has bounced checks, and been thrown out of a club where he and his friends once held court. They're at the absolute bottom. Then he wins his lawsuit. He's rich again, but we sense--as the book concludes with Anthony and Gloria aboardship for Italy--that he really didn't "win" anything at all. This is not an easy book to read. Its tale of the bon vivant who loses everything reminded me of "The Magnificent Ambersons," but this was just so much sadder. Maybe part of it is knowing how similar is the author's life, that just three years later, he would publish "The Great Gatsby," which made it impossible for him ever to turn back. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote beautifully; he lived too fast, and died too young. Maybe that tragic darkness makes his sentences shine that much brighter.

  7. 4 out of 5

    leynes

    I know I said I wouldn't bother writing a review for this piece of trash but I couldn't resist to compile some of Scottie's 'greatest hits' just to give context for my dislike of this novel. Some of the lovely descriptions (from men) about our main protagonist Gloria:'Gloria's darn nice – not a brain in her head.' 'A sense of responsibility would spoil her. She's too pretty.' 'She's so utterly stupid.' 'Remarkable that a person [Gloria] can comprehend so little and yet live in such a complex civil I know I said I wouldn't bother writing a review for this piece of trash but I couldn't resist to compile some of Scottie's 'greatest hits' just to give context for my dislike of this novel. Some of the lovely descriptions (from men) about our main protagonist Gloria:'Gloria's darn nice – not a brain in her head.' 'A sense of responsibility would spoil her. She's too pretty.' 'She's so utterly stupid.' 'Remarkable that a person [Gloria] can comprehend so little and yet live in such a complex civilization. A woman like that …'Gloria about herself (brace yourself since the internalized misogyny is real with that one):'I value my body because you [her husband Anthony] think it's beautiful. And this body of mine – of yours – to have it grow ugly and shapeless? It's simply intolerable.' (BITCH WHAT?) 'Women soil easily,' she said, 'far more easily than men.'Some of the lovely descriptions about other women in the novel:She had no sense of humour, but, to take its place, a happy disposition that made her laugh at the proper times when she was with men. Her bosom is still a pavement that she offers to the hoofs of many passing stallions, hoping that their iron shoes may strike even a spark of romance in the darkness. (This is honestly one of my favorites like what kind of crack was Fitzgerald smoking?)Scottie also had a wilde sense of 'healthy' relationships:Then Anthony knew what he wanted – to assert his will against this cool and impervious girl, to obtain with one magnificent effort a mastery that seemed infinitely desirable. 'Hit me!' she implored him – wildly, stupidly. 'Oh, hit me, and I'll kiss the hand you hit me with.' (the fuck outta here)Don't get me wrong, I'm aware that Fitzgerald knew that he was writing about fucked up relationships. However, he constantly propagates the notion that Gloria (and later Dot) want Anthony to seize the power and control their bodies and actions. The emotional manipulation is also quite real with these two. After Anthony hits his wife at a train station (classy, I know), this happens:Yet in the morning, coming early into her room, he knelt down by her bed and cried like a little boy, as though it was his heart that had been broken.Anthony is also the one cheating in the relationship. However, when he suspects that Gloria cheated on him as well (which she didn't) he gets super aggressive and accusatory and makes her feel like a whore for pleasing men etc. It was truly sickening to read. In general, Fitzgerald portrayed the women in his story as the properties of men, rather feeding than questioning that fucked up trope. Oh, and at one point suicide is used as a form of blackmail and Anthony says some pretty anti-semitic things. I won't even begin to fully cover the blatant racism in this novel. It made my skin crawl. The skin colour of a character was only mentioned to showcase that POC were subservient to whites. We encounter 'a coloured doorman', 'a glib Martinique Negro, with an incongruous British accent and a tendency to be surly, whom Anthony detested' and sidewalks peopled 'by an intermittent procession of ragged, shuffling, subservient Negroes'. None of these characters are given a voice (speech part) in the book. Dot considered working for the Red Cross,Trouble was she had heard that she might have to bathe Negroes in alcohol, and after that she hadn't felt so patriotic. (I hope you burn in hell)And when she and Anthony went out to dance, they saw a tragic Negro made yearning, aching music on a saxophone until the garish hall became an enchanted jungle of barbaric rhythms. Barbaric rhythms? Dude was playing the saxophone, so can ya'll chill. In conclusion, the book is way too fucking long and needed some serious editing. Its exploration of themes is hella messy and the story isn't coherent at all. The ending was such a clusterfuck and made me want to throw the book across the room. I have nothing against narratives featuring unlikeable characters (heck, I usually find them fascinating) but you somehow have to make me care. The Beautiful and Damned is painfully unnecessary. Nothing happens except rich kids whining about the hardships of life. Sorry, can't relate. There's nothing left to say except BITCH, THE DOOR. Also, where is my award for finishing this piece of trash?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    This book was... heavy. I read it in a couple days, but it's so emotionally and mentally exhausting it was just painful most of the time. Fitzgerald almost viciously pulls the rug out any time there's a slight chance of things getting better for Gloria and Anthony who, rather than confronting their flaws and getting their shit together, seem to alternate between wallowing and reveling in their self-destructive boredom and self-pity. It's a study in absolute misery. It reminded me more than a lit This book was... heavy. I read it in a couple days, but it's so emotionally and mentally exhausting it was just painful most of the time. Fitzgerald almost viciously pulls the rug out any time there's a slight chance of things getting better for Gloria and Anthony who, rather than confronting their flaws and getting their shit together, seem to alternate between wallowing and reveling in their self-destructive boredom and self-pity. It's a study in absolute misery. It reminded me more than a little of Dickens' Bleak House, watching Richard and Ada's downward spiral as the lawsuit eats up any ambition or practicality they ever had. Unlike Richard and Ada, however, Gloria and Anthony aren't particularly deserving or likable, and that's probably one of the bigger flaws for many of this book's detractors. For a lot of people it must be like watching a car crash which also happens to make you late for work...frustrating and a bit tragic. But I actually found them quite sympathetic (if not the most well-defined characters) and even relatable at times, which made their decline all the more real, disturbing, and frightening to me. There are a lot of horrible aspects of their personalities and thoughts that I can't imagine would be easy to relate to, or to admit relating to, for most people, but I certainly could and can't be the only one. Ultimately I found it moving, yet somewhat raw and hollow, and though I didn't like it as much as This Side of Paradise or Gatsby it didn't do anything to lessen my admiration of Fitzgerald and his beautiful prose. "Say things to the world that are true": though I don't know much about its author, that quote has been stuck in my mind since I first saw it, but never so much as when I was reading this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    I'll Be Damned How could the same F. Scott Fitzgerald who composed such a brilliant novel in The Great Gatsby have preceded it with such a lifeless moral tale? A bantam-cock and his haughty hussy, Anthony and Gloria Patch, squander their days for more than a decade of their lives anticipating an inheritance of a large part of the estate of Anthony's grandfather, a Rockefeller-type magnate, who excludes them from his Last Will and Testament because of their debauched style of living. It's just hard I'll Be Damned How could the same F. Scott Fitzgerald who composed such a brilliant novel in The Great Gatsby have preceded it with such a lifeless moral tale? A bantam-cock and his haughty hussy, Anthony and Gloria Patch, squander their days for more than a decade of their lives anticipating an inheritance of a large part of the estate of Anthony's grandfather, a Rockefeller-type magnate, who excludes them from his Last Will and Testament because of their debauched style of living. It's just hard to be captivated by two despicable anti-heroes. The gritty sand before the pearl.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emilio Berra

    ' La fiera delle vanità ' Fitzgerald pubblicò questo libro nel 1922, quando aveva appena 26 anni. Un giovane, alienato dal benessere, e una donna che si crede emancipata, ma priva di quell'emancipazione da se stessi che è condizione basilare per una vita serenamente consapevole. "Avevamo scoperto di avere in comune molte idee fisse e stranezze e bizzarrie mentali". Senza progetti, se non quello di 'essere felici'. Con l'egocentrismo del 'tutto e subito', "pareva che nulla diventasse rancido in fre ' La fiera delle vanità ' Fitzgerald pubblicò questo libro nel 1922, quando aveva appena 26 anni. Un giovane, alienato dal benessere, e una donna che si crede emancipata, ma priva di quell'emancipazione da se stessi che è condizione basilare per una vita serenamente consapevole. "Avevamo scoperto di avere in comune molte idee fisse e stranezze e bizzarrie mentali". Senza progetti, se non quello di 'essere felici'. Con l'egocentrismo del 'tutto e subito', "pareva che nulla diventasse rancido in fretta quanto il piacere". Una coppia del genere offre un impietoso ritratto di quella gioventù in perenne girotorndo intorno al vuoto che deve aver caratterizzato l'America 'da bere' , da cui la letteratura ha potuto trarre vari spunti. Tema centrale: la dissipazione, che è innanzitutto dissipazione di se stessi. Il primo sintomo che individui come loro sono in grado di percepire è la noia. Feste, balli, ubriacature : e poi? Cominciano ad avvertire che "lo stare a casa era noioso" ; "preferivano invece andarsi ad annoiare a una commedia musicale stupida o recarsi a cena con i conoscenti più insignificanti, purché ci fossero abbastanza coppie da impedire che la conversazione diventasse del tutto insopportabile". Dalla passione allo smarrimento di due personaggi senza spessore. Ma la vicenda ci riserva ancora ben altro ; anche i sentimenti sono soggetti a trasformazione. Poi un finale di svolta, rappresentato con una punta di sarcasmo e una pennellata di pittoresco. Il libro può facilmente coinvolgere il lettore, e anche farlo riflettere (buona l'analisi relazionale). La lettura è agevole. Ma come pare ancora lontano "Il grande Gatsby" con la sua meravigliosa scrittura!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    I went to my friend's room to discuss about songs and movies and there my eyes caught its glimpse. It's cover and title were eye pleasing that I immediately wanted to finish it up. This was the very thing I wanted at that time. And This Book found Me. The story revolves around a couple Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert and their 'friends' and is about how their marriage and everything around them falls into abyss because of their idleness and recklessness. The story told me how much it is really I went to my friend's room to discuss about songs and movies and there my eyes caught its glimpse. It's cover and title were eye pleasing that I immediately wanted to finish it up. This was the very thing I wanted at that time. And This Book found Me. The story revolves around a couple Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert and their 'friends' and is about how their marriage and everything around them falls into abyss because of their idleness and recklessness. The story told me how much it is really important to have a career and being independent. "The victor belongs to the spoils." speaks for itself. The victor here is at some point Anthony and spoil is Gloria but another moment Anthony is spoil and Gloria is victor. In initial pages I didn't found much interest, maybe because I wasn't used to Fitzgerald's style of writing. But it gets interesting when Gloria enters into the picture. Two moments while reading this book, when I felt like hugging myself again and again - 1. I was thinking about the question my roomie asked me "What are classics?", I told her what they were, she seemed satisfied but I didn't rest easy. I wasn't feeling happy and kept thinking about it so much that I finally forgot it. And when reading this book I came to an answer - "A classic,' suggested Anthony, 'is a successful book that has survived the reaction of the next period or generation. Then it's safe, like a style in architecture or furniture. It's acquired a picturesque dignity to take the place of its fashion." 2. These days, I kept wondering about two quotes by Oscar Wilde a) There are two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want and another is getting it. b) When God wishes to punish us, He answers our prayers. These two statements, I read in different places and different times but somehow I decided to combine them and make some sense out of it. I tried my best to articulate them but I felt my conclusion was incomplete, and then this book talked about the same thing, that fascinated me- "Dot,” he whispered uncomfortably, “you’ll forget. Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know—because once I wanted some-thing and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot.And when I got it it turned to dust in my hands.” “All right.”Absorbed in himself, he continued:“I’ve often thought that if I hadn’t got what I wanted things might have been different with me. I might have found something in my mind and enjoyed putting it in circulation. I might have been content with the work of it, and had some sweet vanity out of the success. I suppose that at one time I could have had anything I wanted,within reason, but that was the only thing I ever wanted with any fervor. God! And that taught me you can’t have anything, you can’t have anything at all. Because desire just cheats you. It’s like a sun-beam skipping here and there about a room. It stops and gilds some inconsequential object, and we poor fools try to grasp it—but when we do the sunbeam moves on to something else, and you’ve got the inconsequential part, but the glitter that made you want it is gone—” He broke off uneasily. Who Can Read This Book - I liked the way how Fitzgerald had used adjectives, and wrote it so beautifully. I found many words I read in a GRE book. Anyone who has ever wished to be mesmerized by the use of words, will find this one well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    Aside from the Great Gatsby this is the only other novel I've read by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Years ago when living on a small Caribbean island, with limited things to do, I read a large collection of books that I had had the foresight to bring with me (it got dark at 6pm every evening after which it wasn't safe to leave my apartment). One book was a collection of Fitzgerald's short stories and I enjoyed them immensely. This book I also enjoyed. The Beautiful and the Damned starts like most of his s Aside from the Great Gatsby this is the only other novel I've read by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Years ago when living on a small Caribbean island, with limited things to do, I read a large collection of books that I had had the foresight to bring with me (it got dark at 6pm every evening after which it wasn't safe to leave my apartment). One book was a collection of Fitzgerald's short stories and I enjoyed them immensely. This book I also enjoyed. The Beautiful and the Damned starts like most of his short stories. Young man falls hopelessly in love with young, beautiful, charming, highly intelligent yet distant girl. Her beauty, her charm draw the young man in like a siren's call. Her smile, which is no more than a mask of aloofness, lets no one in and drives him mad, almost to despair. Fitzgerald invented the prototype of the Manic Pixie Girl that is so popular in Romantic movies of today. You know the type, she's sweet, sexy, devil-may carish. She dances in the rain, sings along in movie theaters and other behavior that would be considered irresponsible and weird in real life but comes across as funny and sexy in the movies. The man is mesmerized and the fact that she's just out of reach emotionally keeps him reaching for her. Today's aggressively eager woman might learn a thing or two from these girls. Don't chase the boy, run away and have him chase you. Ah, but I'm hopelessly old-fashioned. I'm also happily married, but that's a topic for another time. Most of Fitzgerald's short stories end with the boy finally catching the girl. I don't say they all end happily, they're more complicated than that, but they don't continue into married life. The Beautiful and the Damned does. The boy in this story, Anthony Patch, does finally catch the girl he passionately pursues but that is half the story. The rest of their story is about their married life. It is not a pretty tale, it is a tragic, but fascinating one. The interest does not lie in the storyline per se. I suppose lots of authors have written about drunk people racing toward destruction, but Fitzgerald's writing simply bubbles and flows like an icy, clear water brook down a mountain side. His insight into the human soul, his ability to lucidly display its depraved nature, its desperate longing for greater things and its inability to save itself both repels while it simultaneously draws the reader in. Anthony and Gloria get married. They soon discover that what, on Anthony's part at least, manically attracted them to the other person was not enough to sustain a marriage. Gloria is still lovely to look at, but her impulsive behavior,self-absorption and strong will have lost some of their allure. We are not entirely sure why Gloria married Anthony. He perhaps bored her less than the other men who sought her attention. She doesn't seem to have much of a conscience or reason to do anything except have a good time. And what is a good time to Anthony and Gloria? Getting pleasantly inebriated with friends. This naturally costs money and neither of them have much. Anthony is counting on an inheritance he will receive at his grandfather's death. Anthony is both contemptuous of his grandfather and also fears him because a wrong move could cost him millions of dollars. His grandfather points out Anthony's lack of ambition and also employment. He offers to provide Anthony employment. Anthony is a writer. His grandfather can get him a job as a war correspondent. (WWI has just started). Anthony immediately protests. He could never desert Gloria! At the same time he imagines himself in uniform and the glamour this kind of work would give him. Gloria would also like to work. A friend who produces Hollywood movies would like to give her a screen test. But Anthony absolutely refuses to permit it. His wife will never degrade herself like that. So what do they do? Live on what little stipend and savings they have, but mostly they spend it on alcohol and parties with friends. They also make very foolish decisions such as renting both a country house and apartment in New York City. They see that they are acting foolish but cannot seem to stop themselves. They know they must stop holding and attending parties, but when the evening rolls around, the empty life they see around them impels them to the social amusements. Life isn't worth living until after the fifth or sixth drink. This cannot last and it doesn't. The grandfather dies, but unfortunately he dies shortly after walking in on a typical gathering of Gloria and Anthony's and everyone there is quite sloshed. The grandfather, a strong prohibitionist, goes home, cuts Anthony from his will and dies. Anthony retains an expensive (and I mean very expensive) lawyer to contest the will. The court case drags on for years in Bleak House-ian style. In the meantime, Anthony is drafted, travels south for training but luckily avoids actual service since the war ends before he finishes boot camp. He returns to Gloria and they carry on. The two slide steadily toward the abyss. A few unexpected things happen toward the end and I won't deprive you of a good read by spoiling it. Anyone familiar with Fitzgerad's real life can see obvious autobiographical connections. I was constantly reminded of Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" where Hemingway describes Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda in a way not very different from Anthony and Gloria. Because they were close friends who spent a lot of time together in Paris, I found myself comparing Hemingway's writing to Fitzgerald's. I can only describe Hemingway's writing as a large, heavy, aggressive predator and Fitzgerald's as a lightweight boxer who rapidly and gracefully dances around his opponent getting jabs in that are only painful to himself. Hemingway enjoyed slaughtering his perceived enemies. Hemingway's stories may pack a punch, but Fitzgerald's go down as smoothly as one of the alcoholic beverages his characters are forever imbibing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kat (Lost in Neverland)

    Anthony is young, lazy, handsome, and bored with the world. He spends his days having meals with his companions, Maury and Richard, and participating in the art of 'doing nothing'. When Richard introduces Anthony to his cousin Gloria, the world is suddenly a bit less boring. Gloria is beautiful, with childish features and, like Anthony, bored easily. But Anthony is the first man in a long string of dull romances that she does not tire of. The two marry and are at the height of their lives. But An Anthony is young, lazy, handsome, and bored with the world. He spends his days having meals with his companions, Maury and Richard, and participating in the art of 'doing nothing'. When Richard introduces Anthony to his cousin Gloria, the world is suddenly a bit less boring. Gloria is beautiful, with childish features and, like Anthony, bored easily. But Anthony is the first man in a long string of dull romances that she does not tire of. The two marry and are at the height of their lives. But Anthony and Gloria are almost too much of alike to be compatible. Both are incessantly bored and restless, neither wanting to get a job but continuing to spend money lavishly. The Beautiful and Damned is accurately named, as it follows the slow but steady decline of a middle-upper class 1920's couple. I've said it before and I'll say it again; I love F. Scott Fitzgerald. I will read anything he writes and am unable to dislike it. His stories seem rather pointless at first but become something more as the novel goes on. (Sort of. I don't really have a reason for loving the guy so much. Other people might think differently.) He writes a tale almost frighteningly similar to his own sad life to come; a failing marriage, a secret affair, Anthony's addiction to alcohol, Gloria's growing mental unstability, etc. Scott heavily takes his own life experiences out and into the book. It's as if he's foreshadowing his own demise. Anyway, Fitzgerald makes unlikeable characters surprisingly likeable. I'm mostly talking about the defiant, sassy as hell Gloria. Anthony can go jump off a building for all I care. Gloria's such a naive, unsympathetic character that I can't help but adore her simply for her moments of weird outbursts and occasional sass. She's spoiled and at times unreasonable but there's just something about her that I like. Anthony had a problem with not being able to say 'no' or to stand up for himself. I sympathized with him at first but he grew to be a real dick (Caramel -snickers-). Once again, Fitzgerald has written an enjoyable novel of the 1920's, proving that boredom and laziness can be a dangerous habit with unpleasant consequences.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    There is no doubt that F. Scott Fitzgerald can handle language. He writes in such a delicious manner that he can keep you going for a long time on that alone, no substance required. That is exactly what he does for the first half of The Beautiful and the Damned. I fully admit that I became weary of this novel by the halfway point, then, in that manner that is also so very Fitzgerald, he began to focus the story and I was lured to go forward to the end. If any author can invent characters that are There is no doubt that F. Scott Fitzgerald can handle language. He writes in such a delicious manner that he can keep you going for a long time on that alone, no substance required. That is exactly what he does for the first half of The Beautiful and the Damned. I fully admit that I became weary of this novel by the halfway point, then, in that manner that is also so very Fitzgerald, he began to focus the story and I was lured to go forward to the end. If any author can invent characters that are unappealing in themselves, Fitzgerald is the guy. I found absolutely nothing redeeming in either Anthony Patch or his wife, Gloria. The two of them are pretty much the epitome of spoiled, selfish, wasteful lives, people who contribute nothing and suck up everything around them. If we are meant at any point to feel sorry for them, it was a miss for me. We watch them deteriorate from a point that might have seemed itself to be rock bottom. Gloria is a woman who depends 100% on her looks, her beauty, to carry her through life. Anthony is a man who feels no need to accomplish anything in life because he believes he is going to inherit millions from his grandfather. As a result, they live lives devoid of any meaning or purpose. Gloria is too selfish to want children, Anthony is too self-centered to stoop to work. You can’t help thinking that society and their families have set these two up for failure, and failure in a worse form than mere financial failure. I read this too quickly on the heels of Tender is the Night. I have Fitzgerald burnout. I’m glad he wrote Gatsby, otherwise I think I would not be able to regard him as a great writer, but only a sufficient one. I always hate closing a book and saying to myself, “glad that is behind me.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    What is special about this novel is the author’s ability to make the most despicable of characters interesting. The reader is jogged into another world. There are two central characters – Anthony and Gloria. I never came close to feeling even the slightest pinch of empathy for either. Their values are opposite to my own. I sat and watched, fixated, glued to the end, but not for a second thinking that either my views or theirs would change. It is like watching a train crash. So why did I watch? I What is special about this novel is the author’s ability to make the most despicable of characters interesting. The reader is jogged into another world. There are two central characters – Anthony and Gloria. I never came close to feeling even the slightest pinch of empathy for either. Their values are opposite to my own. I sat and watched, fixated, glued to the end, but not for a second thinking that either my views or theirs would change. It is like watching a train crash. So why did I watch? I watched because Fitzgerald, through his words, has the ability to capture an era, a group of people and places as through a movie camera. We observe millions of small thing each perfectly portrayed - light slanting through blinds, nasty arguments, NYC on a hot summer night, cocktail parties with insipid, meaningless chatter. The reader recognizes a world that does exist. I liked this realism and it is this that drew me to the book. It is the author’s writing that I like. At the same time, the writing is definitely patchy. There are sections that are a total bore. The beginning is horrible. It took me quite a while before I knew I would not abandon the book. Anthony is lazy, self-centered and shallow. Gloria she is lazy, self-centered and shallow too. Anthony does not want a vocation; he can’t possibly think of anything he wants to do. No goals and no aspirations, except maybe having a beautiful wife by his side, alcohol in unlimited quantity and being entertained by others. Gloria, for her beauty is everything. Her guiding principle is to never do anything for another. You don’t give a damn about me and I don’t give a damn about you – that is her life philosophy in a nutshell. The two are married. They are waiting for an inheritance from Anthony’s grandfather. An inheritance that will give them millions and insure that they need never work or do anything that doesn’t please them. And if that dream comes true, what then? There is humor to be found in the lines. It is cynical. It is full of irony. Intellectualism is scoffed at. Here follow some examples: -They were in love with generalities. -Happiness is only the first seconds after the alleviation of misery. -I don’t care about truth; I want happiness. -I don’t want to spend money in driblets. -His imagination was almost incapable of sustaining a dialog. -Everyone had something to talk about and they all enjoyed it. (This was about war.) Not all of the humor is serious though. Try this: -10 o’clock bumped stuffily into 11. What I am saying again, in just another way, is that the writing has a style of its own and it is special. Just so you are warned - the book is a product of its own time. It was published in 1922 and draws the era before and after the First World War. It has racist lines. What is assumed and taken for granted then does not represent how we think today. Well, for most of us. The audiobook is narrated by William Dufris. He turns this into a theatre production. I would have preferred a simple reading of the lines. He dramatizes; he interprets the text for you. I’d rather think for myself. (My trick for getting around this is to repeat the lines in my head, thereby squashing the narrator’s exasperating intonations.) I have to admit though, that at times he did have me laughing. I kind of got used to the narration; while at the beginning it drove me nuts, by the end I was desensitized. So what am I thinking as I complete the book? You simply cannot change people! Is that what Fitzgerald wanted to say? I have read that the book is based on his life with Zelda. Is he observing and recording? The book certainly has something to say about work and life goals, but this message is so obvious there has to be more.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    A thousand taxis would yawn at a thousand corners, and only to him was that kiss forever lost and done. In a thousand guises Thais would hail a cab and turn up her face for loving. And her pallor would be virginal and lovely, and her kiss chaste as the moon... Can anyone write as gorgeously as Fitzgerald about illusion and the ephemeral nature of beauty, loss of love and failure, toxic marriages and breakdowns? The first time I started this book, it didn't work for me. But it's been nagging at A thousand taxis would yawn at a thousand corners, and only to him was that kiss forever lost and done. In a thousand guises Thais would hail a cab and turn up her face for loving. And her pallor would be virginal and lovely, and her kiss chaste as the moon... Can anyone write as gorgeously as Fitzgerald about illusion and the ephemeral nature of beauty, loss of love and failure, toxic marriages and breakdowns? The first time I started this book, it didn't work for me. But it's been nagging at the margins of my consciousness and so I went back to it via an audiobook and this time we clicked. So much so, in fact, that I had to get the book out again as there are passages that really deserve to be read - slowly - rather than just listened to. In lots of ways, FSF is writing the same book over and over again: this one has elements of This Side of Paradise and looks forward to Tender is the Night, the latter my favourite book of his. This still feels young and a bit uneven in its craft: the 'play scenes' don't really work and feel somewhat awkward; the shifting emphases on Gloria and Anthony, especially the long stretch during which he's in the army, can make the storyline feel a bit ragged - but there are places where the mature Fitzgerald comes startlingly into focus: Gloria's flight to the station at night, her moments of transcendence, the slow breakdown at the end. And this is funny! FSF's irony makes a fine showing here, and there are places that had me sniggering out loud (Richard Caramel and 'The Demon Lover'!) But the mood overall shifts between glamorous optimism and an kind of aching melancholy. This is no morality tale and is probably not for readers who need to like characters to enjoy a book. I find it fascinating that for all the constrictions on women at the time, in Fitzgerald's books they somehow survive better than the male protagonists - a biased (and self-pitying?) commentary on Fitzgerald's own marriage? Not quite the story Zelda tells in her 'Save Me the Waltz'. In any case, I loved this book: it sets up its characters as wealthy, beautiful, privileged, educated (the men, at least), imbued with imagination and lovely dreams only to have them squander everything from money to love, illusions overturned, harsh reality crushing them. Gorgeous, glorious writing from Fitzgerald.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    I found this book fascinating and also really problematic. Fitzgerald's class prejudices and racism are on parade, and it's a horrifying parade. It's much less censored than in *Gatsby*, and in that sense it's more interesting. Fitzgerald surveys and mocks different "types," social and racial, and in that catalog we glimpse what moves and terrifies *his* kind. So when his hero and heroine start to come apart, we understand that it's bigger than Anthony's alcoholism or Gloria's spending . . . the I found this book fascinating and also really problematic. Fitzgerald's class prejudices and racism are on parade, and it's a horrifying parade. It's much less censored than in *Gatsby*, and in that sense it's more interesting. Fitzgerald surveys and mocks different "types," social and racial, and in that catalog we glimpse what moves and terrifies *his* kind. So when his hero and heroine start to come apart, we understand that it's bigger than Anthony's alcoholism or Gloria's spending . . . there is something rotten at the core of their world. It's really interesting to note how Anthony's troubles presage Fitzgerald's own. These are the best and most convincing parts of the book, too. Actually, the degeneracy is a bit harrowing at times, but sometimes I enjoy a good harrowing. Fitzgerald really understands both privilege and failure, and so if you're interested in this combination, The Beautiful and Damned is an excellent exploration of the two.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby so I was looking forward to this, being especially lured in by the fabulous title. Sadly, this turned out to be the only good thing about the book as it turns out that reading about bored, boring people tooling about being bored is incredibly boring. So boring, in fact, that I've even bored myself writing this, so I won't bother with any more.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)

    I'm going to say this now. Reading this book caused me to not only fall into an extreme reading slump, it also was the book that got me back into the book blogging world. There is an extreme rant review for this one over on my blog: https://marriedtobooksreviewsandblog.... Please note that my rant review does contain a couple of spoilers regarding the storyline. I don't put spoiler reviews onto my Goodreads, hence why I won't be copying my review for The Beautiful and the Damned over. If you are I'm going to say this now. Reading this book caused me to not only fall into an extreme reading slump, it also was the book that got me back into the book blogging world. There is an extreme rant review for this one over on my blog: https://marriedtobooksreviewsandblog.... Please note that my rant review does contain a couple of spoilers regarding the storyline. I don't put spoiler reviews onto my Goodreads, hence why I won't be copying my review for The Beautiful and the Damned over. If you are interested in reading the review, click on the above link! If you would like to subscribe to my blog, you can either through a WordPress account or a valid email address.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Messina

    Mi domando se Fitzgerald scrivendo Belli e Dannati non stesse delineando con largo anticipo il crollo della sua esistenza. Mi domando se Fitzgerald, guardandosi allo specchio, non vedesse riflesso lo sguardo sanguinante di Anthony Patch. Mi domando se, rileggendo le parti dedicate alle descrizioni di Gloria, non riscoprisse ogni volta tutto quello che amava e odiava di Zelda. Se dovessimo rispondere a questi quesiti basandoci sul flusso incalzante, perfetto, naturale della scrittura e sull'eviden Mi domando se Fitzgerald scrivendo Belli e Dannati non stesse delineando con largo anticipo il crollo della sua esistenza. Mi domando se Fitzgerald, guardandosi allo specchio, non vedesse riflesso lo sguardo sanguinante di Anthony Patch. Mi domando se, rileggendo le parti dedicate alle descrizioni di Gloria, non riscoprisse ogni volta tutto quello che amava e odiava di Zelda. Se dovessimo rispondere a questi quesiti basandoci sul flusso incalzante, perfetto, naturale della scrittura e sull'evidente e destabilizzante sfogo riversato in ogni pagina, allora dovremmo indubbiamente arrenderci al fatto che questo romanzo non è altro che l'auto-indagine turbolenta di un uomo perfettamente consapevole della propria fragilità. Nonostante questo, però, riesce ad essere squallidamente sincero: non c'è nulla che non dica, non c'è un solo dettaglio scabroso della pigra esistenza di Anthony e Gloria che lui ometta. Anzi, preferisce denudarli entrambi, mostrandoli come vittime impotenti dei loro sentimenti e vizi, perfettamente curvati sotto il peso soffocante della noia, così giovani eppure soggetti ad un'inevitabile caducità. Belli e Dannati è una storia che non vorremmo leggere, è una storia che infrange le speranze, è una storia che illude e disillude con tempestività crudele. In Belli e Dannati è descritto un amore che non sa durare e che lotta debolmente finendo col soccombere all'ebrezza e all'incapacità di aggirare guerre, povertà e ricchezza; in Belli e Dannati è descritto un uomo che vorrebbe tante di quelle cose e le ottiene tutte, per poi perderle in tanti piccoli e atroci modi; in Belli e Dannati è descritta una donna bellissima che vorrebbe rimanere tale per sempre, oltre il tempo e i tormenti, una donna bellissima e volubile che preferirebbe non amare mai davvero, anche quando finisce col farlo sfrenatamente raggiungendo un punto di non ritorno. E' un romanzo limpido sotto ogni punto di vista, tranne che in uno: l'intenzione. Qual è la vera intenzione dell'autore? Condannare l'inettitudine o giustificarla? Slanciare l'amore verso vette spesso taciute o denigrarlo? L'epilogo vuole stare ad indicare una punizione o un sollievo? Per questo capolavoro, quindi, dovremmo condannare o perdonare Francis Scott Fitzgerald? Non so voi, ma io sento che potrei perdonargli tutto.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jules C

    Fitzgerald left me gasping for breath, depressed at the end of the novel. The demise of Gloria and Anthony Patch and their ill-fated relationship incredibly drawn out. But the intricacies of each character is highly developed. I thought I was actually friends with these characters. It's an excellent read though it's not the most action-packed. I loved the dense descriptives, and the way he portrays Gloria's vanity: "Beauty is only to be admired, only to be loved -- to be harvested carefully and Fitzgerald left me gasping for breath, depressed at the end of the novel. The demise of Gloria and Anthony Patch and their ill-fated relationship incredibly drawn out. But the intricacies of each character is highly developed. I thought I was actually friends with these characters. It's an excellent read though it's not the most action-packed. I loved the dense descriptives, and the way he portrays Gloria's vanity: "Beauty is only to be admired, only to be loved -- to be harvested carefully and then flung at a chosen lover like a gift of roses. It seems to me, so far as I can judge clearly at all, that my beauty should be used like that... " (329).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric Kinney

    F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is a novel Im sure everyone is familiar with from high school, and in my case was the only book I ever picked up from the author until I came across "The Beautiful and Damned". Unlike other books that were recommended by friends and acquaintances, reading Fitzgerald's second novel derived from my curiosity for a rarely mentioned era of American history; one encompassing the age of wild jazz, speakeasies, and the notorious flappers. As an author, Fitzgeral F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is a novel Im sure everyone is familiar with from high school, and in my case was the only book I ever picked up from the author until I came across "The Beautiful and Damned". Unlike other books that were recommended by friends and acquaintances, reading Fitzgerald's second novel derived from my curiosity for a rarely mentioned era of American history; one encompassing the age of wild jazz, speakeasies, and the notorious flappers. As an author, Fitzgerald is most well-known today for his literary depiction of urban life in the early 19th century, while vividly defining the vanity, recklessness, and materialism engulfing its youth. "The Beautiful and the Damned" is no exception along these lines, but nonetheless remains a truly memorable work for it's universal morals on money, marriage, intimacy, and self-worth. Fitzgerald focuses his story on the frivolous and apathetic Anthony Patch, who happily enjoys his bachelorhood in Manhattan while awaiting the prospects of inheriting his grandfather's $30 million estate. Though a Harvard graduate with doors of opportunity, Anthony frequents his evenings at nightclubs and theaters, enjoying a few drinks with his ne'er-do-well friend, Maury, and Dick, the aspiring novelist writing a romance. In the mornings, he describes his immaculately decorated and tasteful apartment, and the attendance of his own private valet. Because of his family stock, Anthony earns a good sum of income every year and finds no reason to spend his youth climbing the corporate ladder as his grandfather advises him to. Soon, he becomes enraptured by Dick's beautiful cousin, Gloria Gilbert. Her seamless perfection and rebellious, free-spirited attitude enflames Anthony's obsession for her and he eventually decides to marry her off. Their honeymoon across the states and first year together in a summer home outside of New York is a perfect match to their desires for ease and comfort. However, when Anthony's grandfather passes away leaving him destitute by his will, their anticipated future of privilege slowly deteriorates between time-consuming court appeals and insurmountable debts. Their lives descend into indolence and alcoholism, and Anthony's attempts to reprieve himself of his slovenly past yield nothing but a disgraced military venture and his pitiless failure as a door-to-door salesman. "The Beautiful and Damned" can be a difficult novel to enjoy considering the selfish nature of it's protagonists and their wasteful, degrading lifestyles. Though we feel inclined to sympathize for Anthony's dying self-esteem, and Gloria's squandered attempts in becoming an actress, while trying to maintain her crumbling relationship with her husband, "The Beautiful and Damned" is not meant to be a novel of romantic or sentimental values. Fitzgerald's book serves as a commentary on the repercussions of excess and the hypocrisy of entitlement and social ranking in a world less deserving of such prestige. Amidst this gloomy and daunting tale of fading passions, domestic struggles, and mental decadence comes a complex story of illusory hopes and dreams.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    A slap to read absolutely in our decade: how our lifestyle choices betray us or, rather, how we betray the gift of our lives by an accumulation of choices that obstruct access to our childhood dreams. The writing is elegant - as almost always with FSF - and reaches full maturity. I Quote: "So matured and gave up the beauty of the lovely illusions. My mental fiber became rough and my ears, tremendously sharp. Life sprang like a sea around my island, and, shortly, I swam. (.. .) Boredom, which is bu A slap to read absolutely in our decade: how our lifestyle choices betray us or, rather, how we betray the gift of our lives by an accumulation of choices that obstruct access to our childhood dreams. The writing is elegant - as almost always with FSF - and reaches full maturity. I Quote: "So matured and gave up the beauty of the lovely illusions. My mental fiber became rough and my ears, tremendously sharp. Life sprang like a sea around my island, and, shortly, I swam. (.. .) Boredom, which is but another name and a frequent guise of vitality, became unconscious leverage all my acts. The beauty, I had passed, you understand. I matured."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This novel is said to be a "fierce parable about...the ruin wrought by time." I like the phrase. One could say that phrase encapsulates the singularness of Fitzgerald's novels. "Anthony Patch with no record of achievement, without courage, without strength to be satisfied with truth when it was given him. Oh, he was a pretentious fool, making careers out of cocktails and meanwhile regretting, weakly and secretly, the collapse of an insufficient and wretched idealism. He had garnished his soul in This novel is said to be a "fierce parable about...the ruin wrought by time." I like the phrase. One could say that phrase encapsulates the singularness of Fitzgerald's novels. "Anthony Patch with no record of achievement, without courage, without strength to be satisfied with truth when it was given him. Oh, he was a pretentious fool, making careers out of cocktails and meanwhile regretting, weakly and secretly, the collapse of an insufficient and wretched idealism. He had garnished his soul in the subtlest taste and now he longed for the old rubbish. He was empty, it seemed, empty as an old bottle-" At age twenty-four, Fitzgerald was an acclaimed writer. Fourteen years later, he was an alcoholic living in a cheap motel and his wife was being treated for schizophrenia. Unable to write, he had a nervous breakdown. "The Crack-Up," which he wrote during his brokenness, is one of the most profoundly illuminating essays I've read. This is his second novel. Anthony, the main character in this novel, tries to make sense of life, love, money, and relationships. There is heedfulness to surroundings, a main character who is curious, lonely, and perceptive. But those moments stray. Often, the dialogue is laborious. Anthony is difficult to stick with because he appears flat, his female counterpart unconvincing, and the plot inflexible.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Afshi

    It’s easy to dismiss this book as one of Fitzgerald’s lesser novels, but it’s actually a gem and I like it much more than The Great Gatsby. This follows the lives of two characters as they come together in a time filled with drinking and dancing, and fall apart when vanity and alcoholism take over in later years. The story is extremely descriptive written with meticulous attention to detail, and often moves between being manic; brilliant and exciting, to being depressive with illustrations of ch It’s easy to dismiss this book as one of Fitzgerald’s lesser novels, but it’s actually a gem and I like it much more than The Great Gatsby. This follows the lives of two characters as they come together in a time filled with drinking and dancing, and fall apart when vanity and alcoholism take over in later years. The story is extremely descriptive written with meticulous attention to detail, and often moves between being manic; brilliant and exciting, to being depressive with illustrations of chaos and hatred.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    As you may know, Reader, I struggled to get through George Eliot's masterpiece (cue massive eyeroll) Middlemarch. Refer to my review for a detailed explanation, or just read the next sentence of this one. It was boring, basically. There isn't really a plot, it's just a description of some people going about their daily lives with nothing very dramatic ever happening. The same can be said of the plot (term is used loosely here) of The Beautiful and Damned: rich people are miserable, make poor mar As you may know, Reader, I struggled to get through George Eliot's masterpiece (cue massive eyeroll) Middlemarch. Refer to my review for a detailed explanation, or just read the next sentence of this one. It was boring, basically. There isn't really a plot, it's just a description of some people going about their daily lives with nothing very dramatic ever happening. The same can be said of the plot (term is used loosely here) of The Beautiful and Damned: rich people are miserable, make poor marriage and life choices, continue to be miserable, the end. (I can't say with authority that that's how Middlemarch ends because I didn't finish it, but that's what happened in the first 500 pages) So, logically, I should have hated this book as much as I hated Eliot's. But I didn't, and I think I know why: Fitzgerald's characters are interesting, and their self-destruction is a lot more fascinating than the people at Middlemarch. In that one, Dodo and company were more like unsuspecting tourists wandering too close to the edge of a cliff, about to tumble over without ever knowing what hit them. Anthony and Gloria, the main characters in this book, take a different approach: they run, roaring drunk and screaming, right for the cliff's edge and never look back. It's much more compelling and amazing and sad, and I'm still going to be mean and give the book just three stars because I am adamant that good books should have plots, dammit. Also, I'm just going to say this and then hide from the Eliot fans' scorn and fury: Fitzgerald is a better writer. And he's funnier. Before you start flaming me in the comments about how I don't know what I'm talking about (well, DUH), I will present the following quotes from The Beautiful and Damned to support my claim: "A stout woman upholstered in velvet, her flabby cheeks too much massaged, swirled by with her poodle straining at its leash - the effect being given of a tug bringing in an ocean liner. Just behind them a man in a striped blue suit, walking slue-footed in white-spattered feet, grinned at the sight and catching Anthony's eye, winked through the glass. Anthony laughed, thrown immediately into that humor in which men and women were graceless and absurd phantasms, grotesquely curved and rounded in a rectangular world of their own building. They inspired the same sensations in him as did those strange and monstrous fish who inhabit the esoteric world of green in the aquarium." "In 1913, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended upon him. Irony was the final polish of the shoe, the ultimate dab of the clothes-brush, a sort of intellectual "There!" - yet at the brink of this story he has as yet gone no further than the conscious stage. As you first see him he wonders frequently whether he is not without honor and slightly mad, a shameful and obscene thinness glistening on the surface of the world like oil on a clean pond, these occupations being varied, of course, with those in which he thinks himself rather an exceptional young man, thoroughly sophisticated, well adjusted to his environment, and somewhat more significant than any one else he knows. ...In this state he considered that he would one day accomplish some quiet subtle thing that the elect would deem worthy and, passing on, would join the dimmer stars in a nebulous, indeterminate heaven half-way between death and immortality. Until the time came for this effort he would be Anthony Patch - not a portrait of a man but a distinct and dynamic personality, opinionated, contemptuous, functioning from within outward - a man who was aware that there could be no honor and yet had honor, who knew the sophistry of courage and yet was brave."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gitte

    I’ve always looked on criticism as a sort of envious tribute. – Gloria Patch The Dandy, Anthony Patch, falls in love with the most sought-out girl: the beautiful and aloof Gloria. They marry and become the it couple everyone wants to be with. Their nights are full of champagne and parties, and the days are spent in idleness, waiting for the next party to fill the void. Anthony’s inheritance is endangered because of their wildness. What now? They can’t imagine a life without luxury. Nor is Anthony I’ve always looked on criticism as a sort of envious tribute. – Gloria Patch The Dandy, Anthony Patch, falls in love with the most sought-out girl: the beautiful and aloof Gloria. They marry and become the it couple everyone wants to be with. Their nights are full of champagne and parties, and the days are spent in idleness, waiting for the next party to fill the void. Anthony’s inheritance is endangered because of their wildness. What now? They can’t imagine a life without luxury. Nor is Anthony capable of holding on to a job. The Beautiful and Damned was an incredible reading experience. Fitzgerald’s craftsmanship has always impressed me, but this time it took my breath away. The writing was so beautiful that it took me ages to read this book. I turned the pages carefully and read passages over and over again, devouring each word like a delicious piece of chocolate. Some parts demanded to be read aloud. They were stars on this stage, each playing to an audience of two: the passion of their pretense created the actuality. I loved Fitzgerald’s depiction of the Lost Generation. The clash between the wild nights and the empty days fascinated me. The weird characters who think luxury is a birth right but cannot degrade themselves to take a job were brilliantly described. I also wanted to slap them out of their idleness. Get a hobby, you morons! Get excited about real things in life and not just fleeting things like champagne and beauty. In other words, Grow Up! I want to marry Anthony, because husbands are so often ‘husbands’ and I must marry a lover. The character Gloria amazed me. The way she was introduced as an almost supernatural Goddess was so cleverly done. I’ve been curious about her ever since reading the novel about Zelda Fitzgerald who was often compared to Gloria. In Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, we even get to see Zelda posing as Gloria, giving interviews as the character. Marriage was created not to be a background but to need one. Mine is going to be outstanding. It can’t, shan’t be the setting – it’s going to be the performance, the live, lovely, glamorous performance, and the world shall be the scenery. My blog: The Bookworm's Closet

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kaloyana

    Фицджералд пише красиво и мъдро. Той не се прокрадва в душата, а влиза с гръм и трясък. Настанява се и край - ето ти любов завинаги. Толкова беше вълнуващо да чета Красиви и прокълнати (повече ми харесва от Гетсби), че препрочитах по няколко пъти много страници, виждах героите му и мисля за тях. Чудя се как може да е бил толкова мъдър, талантлив, чувствителен и толкова млад и прокълнат. Искам да познавам този човек, искам да ми приятел. Искам да му звъня вечер и да му споделям, да плача точно на Фицджералд пише красиво и мъдро. Той не се прокрадва в душата, а влиза с гръм и трясък. Настанява се и край - ето ти любов завинаги. Толкова беше вълнуващо да чета Красиви и прокълнати (повече ми харесва от Гетсби), че препрочитах по няколко пъти много страници, виждах героите му и мисля за тях. Чудя се как може да е бил толкова мъдър, талантлив, чувствителен и толкова млад и прокълнат. Искам да познавам този човек, искам да ми приятел. Искам да му звъня вечер и да му споделям, да плача точно на неговото и да знам, че ме разбира. Това прави Фицджералд - оживява всеки път като го четеш и ти обещава, че не си сам. И ти дава надежда, че все пак някои хора са с красив ум и дълбока душа за толкова много хиляди други, които трябва да търпиш. Огромно благодаря на Фицджералд. Казвам му наздраве с цялата ми любов.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chiara Pagliochini

    « In questa calamità furono come due pesciolini rossi in una boccia dalla quale fosse stata tolta tutta l’acqua; non riuscivano neanche a nuotare l’uno verso l’altro ». Non posso dire – ed è bene precisarlo nella prima riga – che questo romanzo si sia fatto leggere con grande simpatia. E non è colpa di Fitzgerald né, tanto meno, della sua penna. La colpa sta, semmai, nell’esser riuscito a comunicare in pieno il suo messaggio: un messaggio di decadenza, di sfacelo morale che lascia il lettore fia « In questa calamità furono come due pesciolini rossi in una boccia dalla quale fosse stata tolta tutta l’acqua; non riuscivano neanche a nuotare l’uno verso l’altro ». Non posso dire – ed è bene precisarlo nella prima riga – che questo romanzo si sia fatto leggere con grande simpatia. E non è colpa di Fitzgerald né, tanto meno, della sua penna. La colpa sta, semmai, nell’esser riuscito a comunicare in pieno il suo messaggio: un messaggio di decadenza, di sfacelo morale che lascia il lettore fiaccato e insoddisfatto. Tentiamo di spiegare il perché. In ‘Belli e dannati’ Fitzgerald racconta l’avventura matrimoniale di Adam Patch, giovane ereditiere e parassita sociale, e di Gloria Gilbert, bellissima e piena di spirito. Attraverso la descrizione del loro primo incontro e dei successivi, dei primi anni di matrimonio, di festini e case in affitto, cause, poi la guerra, e ancora feste, soldi scialacquati, abbruttimento, la penna di Fitzgerald ci conduce dalle vette della felicità possibile all’abisso della possibile infelicità. E il lettore non avrebbe nessun problema ad accettare tutto ciò – quando mai un lettore si trova a disagio nello spiare l’abisso di un altro? – se non fosse per la sensazione che, tutto sommato, questo abisso assomiglia più a una giusta punizione che a un accanimento del fato. Sì, perché Adam e Gloria sono belli, sono intelligenti, sono ricchi. La loro vita, per giunta coronata dal reciproco amore, non manca di nulla. Di nulla. Eppure questa somma di virtù e di beni si trasforma, in appena una manciata d’anni e qualche ruga in più, in un covo di vizi e di livore. E perché tutto questo? Per il senso dell’assoluta inutilità della propria esistenza. Adam e Gloria sembrano voler dirci che, poiché la vita non ha un senso, poiché cercare un senso è faticoso e non conduce a nulla, allora tanto vale auto-distruggersi, sprofondare nell’alcool, in feste di cui non si ricorda nulla, tradire l’amore che si porta per l’altro. Non c’è un significato? Bene, allora è legittimo buttare tutto all’aria. Ecco, io questa posizione non posso e non voglio condividerla. E non sono riuscita a capire se Fitzgerald la condividesse, se la sua rappresentazione di Adam e Gloria fosse parziale oppure oggettiva, fredda descrizione di uno sfacelo esecrabile. Non sono in genere una moralista, ma questo libro mi ha fatto scoprire di avere una morale, che si esprime perlopiù nell’assunto: ‘vuoi auto-distruggerti senza un motivo? Fallo pure, ma non aspettarti la mia compassione’. Ecco, non c’è compassione – o almeno non ce n’è stata da parte mia – nell’osservare Gloria e Adam navigare spensieratamente verso il nulla. Anzi, più di una volta, soffocando un mezzo sbadiglio, li ho incoraggiati a spicciarsi e farla finita. Tutto questo, voglio ripeterlo ancora una volta, non ha nulla a che fare con Fitzgerald. Il mio problema è con la storia, non con lui. Della sua penna poco si può dire senza scadere nello sviolinamento, tanto i suoi guizzi, le sue pennellate incantano e deliziano il lettore dal palato sensibile. Di lui mi piacciono soprattutto due cose: la capacità di penetrare la psicologia femminile e la dolcezza con cui sa parlare d’amore. Frasi tenere, frasi spezza-cuore, frasi che fanno fremere e spalancare gli occhioni e sorridere di tanta delicatezza. Il problema – ed è questo uno dei tristi messaggi che Fitz sembra voler comunicarci – è che a volte l’amore non basta. Nemmeno l’amore basta, quando siamo determinati ad affrettare il nostro declino. E questo è un peccato, un peccato, un peccato. So solo, Fitz, che la prossima volta che ci vedremo, tu starai brandendo contro di me Il grande Gatsby. Ti aspetto al varco. Ti aspetto trepidante.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    Fitzgerald projected himself into his novels as protagonist, probably more than any other author I have read. And he usually dragged his wife and a few friends onto the pages with him. In The Beautiful and Dammed, his second novel, we meet Anthony and Gloria, two of the most miserable and unhappy characters you've ever met. Actually, they are very much like the characters in all of Fitzgerald's novels. They are young, beautiful, rich on some level, and they have absolutely nothing to do except Fitzgerald projected himself into his novels as protagonist, probably more than any other author I have read. And he usually dragged his wife and a few friends onto the pages with him. In The Beautiful and Dammed, his second novel, we meet Anthony and Gloria, two of the most miserable and unhappy characters you've ever met. Actually, they are very much like the characters in all of Fitzgerald's novels. They are young, beautiful, rich on some level, and they have absolutely nothing to do except drink and party. Sounds good to me, but in a Fitzgerald novel it always leads to destruction. Of Fitzgerald's four major novels, this is my least favorite. That's not to say I didn't like it, I did. It just speaks to the quality of his other work. This story is a train wreck of young hope and expectation gone awry, but you just can't look away.

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