Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days

Scott Donaldson, Author . Columbia Univ. $32.50 (511p) ISBN 978-0-231-14816-0

In this collection of 24 essays written during a long career as a literary biographer (Archibald MacLeish ), Donaldson analyzes numerous aspects of the careers and lives of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The volume serves as an unconventional dual biography for serious readers of the two writers, both of whose lives have previously been exhaustively chronicled and dissected. Donaldson moves effortlessly between the “works” and “days”—a pair of essays highlights the materialism of The Great Gatsby and the snobbery of Nick Carraway; immediately following is a piece that lays bare the confluence of these factors in the writer’s own life. Meanwhile “The Crisis of 'The Crack-Up’ ” traces the genesis and aftermath of Fitzgerald’s pioneering confessional essay. Donaldson’s selection of essays about Hemingway is no less generous, tracing his evolution as a reporter for the Toronto Daily Star and Star Weekly , evaluating the significance of the sums of money owed and exchanged in The Sun Also Rises and charting Hemingway’s passionate support of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. The last two essays in the book, on Hemingway’s relationship with fame and his suicide, are a sad coda to an exemplary selection. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/01/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
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