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Posts Tagged ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life”*…

 

“As ‘cocktail,’ so I gather, has become a verb, it ought to be conjugated at least once,” wrote the author of The Great Gatsby in a 1928 letter to Blanche Knopf, the wife of publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Who better to first lay out its full conjugation than the man who, as the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center puts it, “gave the Jazz Age its name”? Given that his fame “was for many years based less on his work than his personality—the society playboy, the speakeasy alcoholic whose career had ended in ‘crack-up,’ the brilliant young writer whose early literary success seemed to make his life something of a romantic idyll,” he found himself well placed to offer the language a new “taste of Roaring Twenties excess.”…

More at “F. Scott Fitzgerald Conjugates ‘to Cocktail,'” (where one will also find a larger image of the letter and an audio version).

* F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

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As we descend to declension, we might spare a thought for Albert Hofmann; he died on this date in 2008 (at the age of 102).  As a young chemist at Sandoz in Switzerland, Hofmann was searching for a respiratory and circulatory stimulant when he fabricated lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); handling it, he absorbed a bit through his fingertips and realized that the compound had psychoactive effects.  Three days later, on April 19, 1943– a day now known as “Bicycle Day”– Hofmann intentionally ingested 250 micrograms of LSD then rode home on a bike, a journey that became, pun intended, the first intentional acid trip.  Hofmann was also the first person to isolate, synthesize, and name the principal psychedelic mushroom compounds psilocybin and psilocin.

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Written by LW

April 29, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The rich are different than you and me”*…

 

Last year 12m people in the world had $1m or more in investible assets. That is 1m more “high-net-worth individuals” than in 2011. After falling in two of the previous five years, their combined wealth increased by 10% in 2012 to a record $46.2 trillion. America, home to 3.4m very rich folk, Japan (1.9m) and Germany (over 1m) account for more than half of the world’s wealthy. Of the 12 countries with the most super-rich people, only Brazil failed to swell its numbers last year, as its economy slowed. North America reclaimed its position from Asia-Pacific as home to more extremely wealthy people than any other region, but its lead is unlikely to last, as Asia has many of the fastest-growing economies.

The Economist

* Ernest Hemingway’s famous mis-quote of F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.

Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

It is an embellished retelling of an actual encounter between Hemingway and Mary Colum:

Hemingway: I am getting to know the rich.

Colum: I think you’ll find the only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money.

Fitzgerald’s actual sentiment is captured in his 1926 short story “The Rich Boy”: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.”

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As we rub two pennies together, we might recall that it was on this date in 1819 that the first “Savings Bank” in the U.S., The Bank for Savings in New York City, opened in the Old Alms House (also known as The New York Institution) in the Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan.

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Reasons to worry…

F. Scott Fitzgerald with his wife, Zelda and their daughter, "Scottie"

Having headed East with a post featuring Lists of Note, it seems only right to return with one revisiting our old friend, Letters of Note, which features this missve from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter:

La Paix, Rodgers’ Forge
Towson, Maryland

August 8, 1933

Dear Pie:

I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.

All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”

Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up aSaturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?

I will arrange the camp bill.

Halfwit, I will conclude.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about. . .

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,

Daddy

P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. “Egg Fitzgerald.” How would you like that to go through life with — “Eggie Fitzgerald” or “Bad Egg Fitzgerald” or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?

Love anyhow.

 

As we wonder if Fitzgerald actually used the lanyard that Scottie wove, we might recall that it was on this date in 1917 that Virginia and Leonard Woolf founded the Hogarth Press, named for their house on Richmond, where they launched the endeavor.  Originally an outlet for their hobby of hand-printing books, Hogarth Press ultimately became the publisher of many fellow members of the Bloomsbury Group, and became a leading outlet for books on (then-emerging field of) psychoanalysis and for translations of foreign (especially Russian) works.  It published the first U.K. edition of Eliot’s The Waste Land and  Laurens van der Post’s earliest work.

 “Hogarth House,” 34 Paradise Road, Richmond, London

Tonsorial Technology…

Hairdressing in the days of yore:  Ptak Science Books shares a series of photos from the late 20s [originally in The Illustrated London News, 20 October 1928, page 720]… it’s enough to curl your hair.

[TotH to Everlasting Blort]

As we wonder if Louise Brooks ever sat in such contraptions, we might wish an elegant (if slightly smashed) Happy Birthday to F. Scott Fitzgerald; the author of that seminal exploration of Twenties hairstyles, The Great Gatsby; he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on this date in 1896.  His parents named him in honor of his distant cousin, the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Keys.

Readers can ready themselves to bid on a rare dust jacket from a first edition of Gatsby to be auctioned next month at Sotheby’s – New York; it’s estimated to fetch about $175,000.  (The first edition book, worth a measly $5-7,000 is included gratis…)

Carl van Vechten’s 1937 photo of Fitzgerald (source)

“First Impressions”…

… was the tentative title with which Jane Austen worked before she settled on Pride and Prejudice.

source

 

George Orwell’s publisher convinced him that “The Last Man in Europe” simply wasn’t going to send copies flying off booksellers’ shelves, convincing Orwell to switch to his back-up title, 1984.

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Discover more literary “might-have-beens,” featuring F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Heller, Bram Stoker, and others– at Mentalfloss.

As we think again about our vanity plate orders, we might recall that it was on this date in 1943 that then-26-year-old poet Robert Lowell, scion of an old Boston family that had included a President of Harvard, an ambassador to the Court of St. James, and the ecclesiastic who founded St. Marks School, was sentenced to jail for a year for evading the draft.  An ardent pacifist, Lowell refused his service in objection to saturation bombing in Europe.  He served his time in New York’s West Street jail.

Lowell (left) in 1941, with (his then wife) novelist Jean Stafford, and their friend, novelist and short-story writer Peter Taylor, at Kenyon College, where they studied with John Crowe Ranson (source)

 

 

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