F. Scott Fitzgerald proposed a collection of his personal essays to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Charles Scribner's Sons, twice during the last decade of his life—once in 1934 and again in 1936. Perkins was unenthusiastic on both occasions, hoping that Fitzgerald would instead write a "reminiscent book" about the 1920s. But in 1940 the great writer died without having published an autobiographical memoir of any kind. Now, compiled and edited by James L. W. West III, this comprehensive collection, called A Short Autobiography, reveals the author in his own words.
The volume covers Fitzgerald's entire literary career, beginning with "Who's Who—and Why" (1920), written shortly after This Side of Paradise had made him famous, and ending with "My Generation" (1940), a look back at the times through which he had lived and the people who had shaped his era. The collection of nineteen items charts Fitzgerald's progression from exuberance and cockiness in "What I Think and Feel at 25" to mature reflection in "The Death of My Father" and "One Hundred False Starts."
Witty, wise, and illuminating, these essays offer much insight into the life and mind of this iconic American writer and provide an intriguing self-portrait of a great American literary artist.