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The Basil and Josephine Stories

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  482 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Fourteen of F. Scott Fitzgerald's best-loved and most beguiling stories, together in a single volume
In 1928, while struggling with his novel Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald began writing a series of stories about Basil Duke Lee, a fictionalized version of his younger self. Drawing on his childhood and adolescent experiences, Fitzgerald wrote nine tales that were publis
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 24th 1997 by Scribner (first published 1928)
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Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)
Like always,Fitzgerald takes one small part and adds his own sense of grandeur and makes it a delicacy. This one doesn't have a good plot but the author makes up for it with his dialogues. Here's an example- "It isn't given to us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can either or heal. A moment too late and we can never reach them anymore in this world. They will not be cured by our most efficacious drugs or slain with our sharpest swords."
A pleasant quick
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Andy Miller
Fitzgerald wrote a series of stories for the Saturday Evening Post that traced the growth of young Basil, starting when he was ten and ending when he was a freshman at Yale. A common theme of these stories is his trying too hard to move up the society latter and trying too hard for the unobtainable girl, with him slowly maturing from story to story until he becomes somewhat comfortable in his own skin in the last story He then wrote a similar series featuring Josephine, a beautiful daughter from ...more
Deniss
Ojalá hubiera leído este libro hace algunos años, es fantástico. Una razón más para admirar profundamente a Scott.
Briynne
I admit that I hadn't even heard of this collection of stories until I was prowling the Fitzgerald section of the public library this weekend. They were interesting, in that they deal with childhood and adolescence, but they didn't have quite the same punch of his novels. However, I'm much more a novel person than a short story person, so that judgment is probably only worth so much.

The Basil stories irritated me pretty often. The writing and plots were typically good, but Basil himself drove m
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Ben
3.5 stars. I have difficulty plowing through collections of short stories with the same speed that I could go through a novel. Even though this work centers on two characters -- Basil in the first series of stories, and Josephine in the second -- it was not very gripping. This is also at least partly because I had great difficulty sympathizing with Fitzgerald's characters -- two spoiled kids, one middle class boy who aspired to be among the upper classes of society (based on his own boyhood in M ...more
Clarissa
"Last night in bed I was thinking of the sort of man I really could love, but he'd be different from anybody I've ever met. He'd have to have certain things. He wouldn't necessarily be very handsome, but pleasant looking; and with a good figure, and strong. And he'd have to have some kind of position in the world or else not care whether he had one or not; if you see what I mean. He'd have to be a leader, not just like everybody else. And dignified, but very posh, and with lots of experience, so ...more
Lily
I finally finished Fitzgerald's short stories!! They were quite amusing and old-timey. I love Fitzgerald's writing style. The plot can a bit boring and predictable from time to time but for the most part they were enjoyable. Also, the ones with Basil were way more fun than the ones with Josephine to be honest.
Kieran Evans
Brilliant. I could really relate to Basil, despite being a century and a continent away from him. Whereas I absolutely detested Josephine Perry and Minnie Ermine. Eurgh. I could have thrown either of them into the sea.
Lily
For the most part, I really enjoyed these short stories. I'm especially glad I read them before beginning The Great Gatsby, as they seem a natural precursor to the novel. The stories deal mainly with growing up (primarily with childish romance) and with wealth. However, I really could only read one story per day because of the incessant flightiness of Fitzgerald's protagonists that is a key part of his commentary on life for the American wealthy. If I had to choose a favorite story, it would be ...more
Dan
Jun 21, 2007 Dan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: stories
In which Fitzgerald fictionalizes his own adolescence. Like his Pat Hobby sequence, these stories are probably a lot more satisyfing collected than they would be separately, even though they were originally published that way. Together, they read as episodes in the characters' lives, and there's less pressure for each story to be self-contained, which they aren't, really.

The Basil Lee stories are much better than the Josephine Perry stories. (Fitzgerald, it seems, doesn't know much about female
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Desislava
“Suddenly she realized that what she was regretting was not the lost past but the lost future, not what had not been but what would never be.”
Blake Nelson
This is my favorite book in the world and I just re-read it on the plane and I was dumbstruck by how brilliant it is. F. Scott was embarrassed by it because it was about kids which is hilarious because that's where his best stuff usually came from. It is all about this boy and this girl, they each get their separate set of stories. One of them is a stand in for Fitzgerald himself, and the other is a "speed" that's 20s slang for hipster, who is hot and gets with guys a lot. It is a history lesson ...more
Arthur
A few short stories each about the teenage characters Basil and Josephine. The Basil stores are really fantastic. The final two stories in the Basil series are really poignant and could almost be Salinger stories. The Josephine stories unfortunately are bitter and less carefully written. I've been reading a lot of Fitzgerald short stories recently and unfortunately their quality is uneven. The worst are contrived, and obviously driven by commercial interests. I can recommend the Basil stories as ...more
Zack
This collection of short stories (featuring two protagonists—Basil and Josephine) contains some of F. Scott's best writing. While the stories are inconsistent, they brilliantly capture the early years of the 1900s and of (presumably) F. Scott's life. It's a shame he never finished this work and was unable to combine the stories into a single narrative, but for any fan of Fitzgerald it's a definite "must" to read. You will be re-reading certain sentences over and over again and marveling at their ...more
Ashley Herring Blake
Wrote while he struggled with, in my opinion, his sub-par novel Tender is the Night, Fitzgerald wrote the 9 stories about Basil and 5 stories about Josephine. His character development is rich and real and deeply moving. I favored the Josephine stories, perhaps because I am a woman, but the Basil ones were excellent as well. I highly recommend this look into the young Americans of the 1910's.
carl  theaker



FSF's popular books and stories reflect the lives of up and coming,
or trying to anyway, 20 somethings, just like FSF was when he wrote them.
His end of the career Pat Hobby stories record a crashed career 40yr old,
just as he was at the time.

The Basil & Josephine stories differ in that they look back to
his childhood & adolescent days. Though Basil seems like a confident
of his success 25 yr old, in short pants.
Alwa
Kind of interesting how people seem to come down hard for either Basil or Josephine—not both. I'm on Team Basil, as it happens (the Josephine stories are told with a little too much bitterness; sorry some hot little "speed" broke your heart in high school, Scott, but you really do need to get over it). Both are a little too irritating to fully enjoy, which might just mean I'm too close still to my own adolescence.
suzy
I fell in love with the Josephine Stories (screw you, Basil) when I was seventeen, as they ring so true in how silly/awful it is to be a swoony sixteen year old girl, not to mention the gorgeous 1920's Chicago/Lake Geneva backdrop they take place in. I'm currently trying to push them onto my own sixteen-year-old sister as a measure of self-awareness, but she'll have none of it. Of course.
Whitney
It started out strong, but started to become a little repetitive. Not a problem when publishing in the short story format, but as a collection it's better read in sections. The Basil section was much more interesting than the Josephine section, which is too bad because I was looking forward to a good girl coming-of-age story. I guess I'll just have to stick to Ramona Quimby.
Katherine
I enjoyed the Basil stories more than the Josephine ones. I found Josephine to be annoying, childish (I know she's a child, but still), and superficial. But the ending to the Josephine stories was probably the most satisfying thing I will ever read. I actually yelled out in glee.
Megan Kaeb
I have become a fan of F Scott Fitzgerald this year. I love his writing style and his sense of humor. This collection of stories was okay. I enjoyed the characters more when I started than when I finished and liked reading about Basil more than Josephine.
Lydia
I liked the Basil stories better than the Josephine stories. The introduction said that the last story brought Basil and Josephine together, so I was surprised when it (apparently) didn't. The last story had no mention of Basil.
Tom Eldridge
Marvelous period stories of Basil Duke Lee (thinly disguised younger F. Scott), and other stories about Josephine Perry. Witty, lovely, and charming short stories. God, could the man write!!
Dulcie
I preferred the Basil stories to the Josephines, but enjoyed them all.I found Basil endearing and his stories were wonderful and heartbreaking at times.
Kiah
The windows into an era in American history that Fitzgerald creates in these short stories is beautiful, and hard to put down. Really enjoyed this read.
Samantha
crisp and to the point, no namby-pambying with these two. read them while on spring break visiting abby in chicago. appropriate setting.
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A Night at the Fair
The Scandal Detectives
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Aaron K
these stories feel like prototypes for later adolescent lit. Holden is sort of a more introspective, sad, and sharp Basil.
Blake Nelson
I don't know why this isn't taught in schools. Way better and more relevant to young people than GREAT GATSBY ....
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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled "Lost Generation," Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfini ...more
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