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The Basil and Josephine Stories

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  511 Ratings  ·  46 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
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 24th 1997 by Scribner (first published 1928)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,043)
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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
Andy Miller
Feb 06, 2014 Andy Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 08, 2013 Deniss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ojalá hubiera leído este libro hace algunos años, es fantástico. Una razón más para admirar profundamente a Scott.
Sep 02, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
Basil Duke Lee, from age 11 to 17, is the subject of the first set of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald. "He Thinks He's Wonderful" stands out as a heartrending and wonderful story of adolescence. Basil's goal is to be the most admired and popular boy of his social circle and he thinks he has hit upon a tactic that will work to attract Minnie Biddle, the most popular belle of the St. Paul Summitt Avenue set that season. But not all of Basil's social experiments work in his favor. Just when he ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Spencer rated it it was amazing
Though originally published in "The Saturday Evening Post" in 1928-1930, and originally intended to be published as a collection, it was not done so until many years after Fitzgerald's death in 1940. Basil is a thinly disguised FSF, and Josephine is a not so thinly disguised Ginevra King. Fitzgerald admitted as much when he revealed that he was still bleeding from the loss of Ginevra in 1917 when he wrote "This Side of Paradise." She is laced through many of his works. And Ginevra revealed in 19 ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Briynne rated it liked it
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
May 03, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it
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
Mar 22, 2007 Clarissa rated it it was amazing
"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
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
Jun 30, 2014 Kieran Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
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.
"So far there is innocence and the will to know the world and have fun.
Thus far."
Oct 31, 2010 Lily rated it really liked it
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
Jun 21, 2007 Dan rated it liked it
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
Mar 21, 2015 Desislava rated it liked it
“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
Apr 28, 2008 Blake Nelson rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 16, 2009 Arthur rated it liked it
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
May 07, 2014 Zack rated it it was amazing
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 Blake
Sep 06, 2008 Ashley Blake rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 18, 2015 Zainab rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
carl  theaker
Feb 10, 2011 carl theaker rated it really liked it
Shelves: fancy-fiction

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.
Feb 12, 2010 Alwa rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 24, 2009 suzy rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 22, 2008 Whitney rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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.
Jan 18, 2010 Katherine rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2013 Megan Kaeb rated it liked it
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.
Jun 24, 2015 Lydia rated it liked it
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
May 13, 2009 Tom Eldridge rated it it was amazing
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!!
May 08, 2013 Dulcie rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 04, 2013 Kiah rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 25, 2007 Samantha rated it it was amazing
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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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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