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This Side of Paradise

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This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald's romantic and witty first novel, was written when the author was only twenty-three years old. This semi-autobiographical story of the handsome, indulged, and idealistic Princeton student Amory Blaine received critical raves and catapulted Fitzgerald to instant fame. Now, readers can enjoy the newly edited, authorized version of this early classic of the Jazz Age, based on Fitzgerald's original manuscript. In this definitive text, This Side of Paradise captures the rhythms and romance of Fitzgerald's youth and offers a poignant portrait of the "Lost Generation."

275 pages, Paperback

First published March 26, 1920

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About the author

F. Scott Fitzgerald

1,566 books22.6k followers
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 unfinished, and wrote dozens of short stories that treat themes of youth, despair, and age. He was married to Zelda Fitzgerald.

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Profile Image for Matt.
908 reviews28.1k followers
April 9, 2020
“Very few things matter and nothing matters very much.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

Reading The Great Gatsby was an important experience for me, coming as it did at a time when my love for reading was threatening to lapse. Having loved books from a very young age, high school English proved a bucket of cold water for my ardor. It wasn’t that I struggled. Quite the opposite, as I did extremely well with very little effort (the obverse being true in physics). Rather, it was a matter of taking something fun and making it into a chore. Instead of being a leisurely activity, reading became something I had to do within a given timeframe. More than that, the sensation of being forced to get something out of a book – to find the themes, the symbols, the meaning in the text, as though it were as objective an exercise as a “find the hidden objects” game in Highlights magazine – took away all the joy.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby kept alive that flicker of love – just barely – long enough to get me into early adulthood, when I could once again read for the pleasure of reading.

Why The Great Gatsby?

Of all the assigned reading I’ve ever done, I found it the most accessible, the smoothest, and the most entertaining. Unlike The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, who baffled me then and now, I understood Jay Gatsby’s desire to impress a girl. After all, I was in high school, and fruitless attempts to impress others took up most of my day. Sure, I was forced to write an essay on the symbolism, but that was easy, because the symbols were all right there, like shells on the beach at low tide, easy to find and pick up. But it wasn’t just the simplicity, it was the beauty. When Nick Carraway imagined the brooding Gatsby pondering the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, I could imagine it too, as clearly as anything in the world.

This is all a rather long way of saying that I was bound to be disappointed when I circled back from Gatsby to Fitzgerald’s first novel: the somewhat-weird, mildly annoying, ultimately worthwhile This Side of Paradise.

This Side of Paradise tells the story of Amory Blaine, a young boy who comes from a family with money and a good name. We meet Amory in preparatory school, follow him to Princeton, and eventually leave Amory adrift and searching. During this interim, Amory falls in and out of love, avoids combat in World War I, and carries on a series of dialogues – both internal and external – that has come to encapsulate a generation, even though it really only applies to a narrow cohort of white, privileged, upper class Ivy-leaguers with names like Amory.

Fitzgerald’s novel is semiautobiographical, weaving events and locations – St. Paul, Minnesota; Princeton; a lousy, heart-breaking breakup – into his fictionalized tale. If Amory is meant to be a stand-in for Fitzgerald, it is a relatively scathing self-portrait. Amory is a mostly-unlikeable protagonist: self-absorbed, overly-confident, thin-skinned, aimless and lazy.

Unlike the straightforward Gatsby, This Side of Paradise is constructed of three separate acts: two “books” separated by an “interlude.”

The first book, titled “The Romantic Egotist,” covers Amory’s matriculation. It is written in the third-person, from Amory’s point of view. Most of the time is spent at Princeton, where Amory is convinced that he has a bright future – and is equally convinced that he shouldn’t have to work for it.

I found the first book to be a bit of a chore, as Amory is a striking exhibit of undeserved privilege. He is fickle and prickly and generally unpleasant to spend time with. The peripheral characters, including Monsignor Darcy, with whom he exchanges letters, and Thomas Park D’Invilliers, a student and would-be poet, are thinly drawn at best. Certainly, none of Fitzgerald’s supporting cast leaves an impression as vivid as Tom Buchanan, with his “cruel body” clad in “effeminate” riding clothes.

(Since I clearly cannot get off the subject of Gatsby, I will note that the fictional D’Invilliers gave Gatsby its famous epigraph: “Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her…”).

The “interlude” portion of the novel, dividing books one and two, briskly covers Amory’s participation in World War I, where he served as an instructor. No further information is given regarding his military stint. Thus, unlike other postwar novels – such as The Sun Also Rises – the shadow of the war does not loom overlarge. To that end, it’s worth noting that Fitzgerald himself – unlike Hemingway – never went overseas.

The second book, titled “The Education of a Personage,” begins with a chapter written as a play, with stage directions and dialogue. No reason is given for this temporary shift in narrative style, but it works, despite desperately calling attention to itself. Here we learn about Amory’s courtship and love affair with a debutante named Rosalind (standing in for Zelda Sayre). The ebb and flow of this relationship, delineated by conversation, comes close to making Amory into a relatable, half-sympathetic human being, and salvaging him a bit from the first book.

For long stretches, I felt captive to Amory’s pompous proclamations. His long monologues can get a bit frustrating. Every once in a while, though, Fitzgerald slipped in a little grace note. Near the end of the novel, for example, Amory is shuffling down the road when a man in a limo offers him a ride. Amory then subjects the man to a tiresome disquisition on his economic theories. As the ride ends, it turns out that Amory went to Princeton with the man’s son, who is now dead:

"I sent my son to Princeton…Perhaps you knew him. His name was Jesse Ferrenby. He was killed last year in France.”

“I knew him very well. In fact, he was one of my particular friends.”

“He was – a – quite a fine boy. We were very close.”

Amory began to perceive a resemblance between the father and the dead son and he told himself that there had been all along a sense of familiarity. Jesse Ferrenby, the man who in college had borne off the crown that he had aspired to. It was all so far away. What little boys they had been, working for blue ribbons…The big man held out his hand. Amory saw that the fact that he had known Jesse more than outweighed any disfavor he had created by his opinions. What ghosts were people with which to work!

Mostly, though, Amory is detestable. For instance:

"I detest poor people,” thought Amory suddenly. “I hate them for being poor. Poverty may have been beautiful once, but it’s rotten now. It’s the ugliest thing in the world. It’s essentially cleaner to be corrupt and rich than it is to be innocent and poor.”

To me, This Side of Paradise is a rough first effort by an extremely talented author. There is some experimentation at work, as Fitzgerald transitions from third-person narrative to a play, while also including letters, poetry and verse. You will have to decide for yourself whether you are dazzled or distracted by this shifting structure.

(Note: this “experimentation” might simply have been Fitzgerald stitching things together, since This Side of Paradise began life as a different, unpublished work).

My paperback copy is less than three-hundred pages long. Nevertheless, This Side of Paradise felt meandering and baggy and choppily episodic. There were portions where my eyes just glazed over. But just as often, I was transported by Fitzgerald’s lyrical, beautiful prose, his ability to describe a place by putting you right there:

At first Amory noticed only the wealth of sunshine creeping across the long, green swards, dancing on the leaded windowpanes, and swimming around the tops of the spires and towers and battlemented walls…

The Roaring Twenties live on in American imagination, at least as calculated by the number of Roaring Twenties parties I’ve attended in my life. This Side of Paradise fuels that flame. In retrospect, it has been credited – according to Professor Sharon Carson, who wrote the introduction to my copy – with establishing “the image of seemingly carefree, party-mad young men and women out to create a new morality for a new, postwar America.”

In reality, This Side of Paradise tells the story of only a thin tranche of America’s population. Those who were moneyed. Those who were white. Those who were living fast and high during Coolidge’s laissez-faire administration, unknowingly rushing towards their economic doom. Lost – or rather, ignored, completely – is any hint of a world beyond the elite. There are no minorities. There are no wage-earners. There is no indication that anyone from this time period got through life without an emotionally-jarring relationship with a flapper.

Because of the confluence of author, setting, and historical moment, This Side of Paradise will live forever. As for me, I started to forget about it right away.
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews698 followers
January 15, 2022
I wanted to like this book because it has all the trappings of books I tend to enjoy, including gradual disillusionment with life and a character who I relate to, i.e. bad work ethic and excessive emotional reactions. I think the issue is I can't stand when people are condescending or care about status and so it made it hard for me to like the character. On top of that I wasn't quite sure what the plot or purpose of the book was. There was a lot of random poetry included in between the prose and I didn't think the poetry was good to be quite honest. The book just felt meandering, the main character was unlikeable, none of the other characters were developed in any meaningful way and so I didn't really like this one. I liked this even less than The Great Gatsby. Mostly I just felt bored.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
January 20, 2022
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940)

This Side of Paradise is the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was published in 1920. Taking its title from a line of Rupert Brooke's poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post–World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is an attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature. The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status seeking.

Fitzgerald's first novel, was an immediate, spectacular success and established his literary reputation. Perhaps the definitive novel of that Lost Generation, it tells the story of Amory Blaine, a handsome, wealthy Princeton student who halfheartedly involves himself in literary cults, liberal student activities, and a series of empty flirtations with young women. When he finally does fall truly in love, however, the young woman rejects him for another.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و دوم ماه نوامبر سال2011میلادی

عنوان: این سوی بهشت؛ اثر: فرانسیس اسکات فیتزجرالد؛ مترجم: سهیل سمی؛ تهران، ققنوس، سال1389، در376ص، ادبیات جهان101، رمان86، شابک9789643118976، موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

در سی سالگی، «ایمری (آموری) بلین»، با ثروتی که با مرگ دو برادر بزرگ‌ترش، به او می‌رسد، احساس می‌کند دنیا مال اوست؛ پدرش «استیفن بلین» مردی نالایق، که به اشعار «لرد بایرون»، شاعر «انگلیسی» علاقه‌ ی بسیاری داشت، تزلزل، و دودلی ویژه ای برای پسرش، به ارث گذاشت، که او را انسانی سست عنصر، با صورتیکه نصفش پشت موهای ابریشمی و عاری از حیاتش، محو شده بود، نشان می‌داد؛ «این سوی بهشت» داستان زندگی پسرکی است، که تا پیش از ده سالگی، مادرش به او آموزش‌های فراوان داد؛ او در یازده سالگی می‌توانست روان، و راحت، یا شاید با لحنی یادآور «برامس»، «موتسارت»، و «بتهوون»، حرف بزند؛ پسری که به گمان مادرش، واقعا با فرهنگ و جذاب بود، و در عین حال خیلی ظریف، با زندگی در خانه‌ ای که همیشه تشریفات ویژه ی خودش را داشت؛ ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/03/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 29/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,209 followers
April 6, 2018
Entitlement courses through every word and hemorrhages forth with a youthful flair for dramatics. That a momentary blemish can nearly bring a girl to tears of despair, that looking into the very face of death wrangles only a moment's serious reflection before thoughts are turned back to the senior prom - these scenes seem too fantastical to believe. And yet, I am angered by them. I loath these characters' nonchalance about life and lives. If they were not authored into existence with such undeniable skill, I would not have wanted to charge into this book and wring their necks. This Side of Paradise is a triumph of decadence unveiled.
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,080 reviews6,895 followers
July 24, 2022
[Revised, shelves and pictures added, spoilers hidden 7/24/2022]

This was Fitzgerald’s first novel, published when he was 23. So it’s a coming-of-age novel and semi-autobiographical.


Our main character, Amory, is presented to us as a not-very-likable egotistical young god. “…he wondered how people could fail to notice he was a boy marked for glory…” He’s so “remarkable looking” that a middle-aged woman turns around in the theater to tell him so. He’s the football quarterback but hey, who cares, he gives that up. We are told older boys usually detested him.

He’s a big hit with the girls but he’s disgusted by his first kiss. There’s a lot of chasing of girls, drinking, partying, driving fast cars and a tragedy. The blurbs tell us that some young women used the book as a manual for how to be a jazz-age flapper – this in the 1920s. We even get a bit of goth when we are told that with one girl “evil crept close to him.”

The book is dense with themes, the main one being wealthy young men in an ivy-league environment – Princeton, where Fitzgerald went. So there’s a lot about college life and the competition among young men. We read of endless hours over coffee BS-ing about philosophy and their ‘rushing’ to get into the ‘right’ clubs.

There are a lot of excerpts of poetry he was reading and writing and one-sentence judgments about the classics they had to read in those days. And a bit about writing: “…I get distracted when I start to write stories – get afraid I’m doing it instead of living…”

Hanging over all these young men is not just the usual ‘what am I going to do with my life,’ but first, waiting to survive being drafted into World War I. Our main character is conscious of the changing of the generations and their different values: The Victorians are dying out and the WW I generation is in. They are playing with socialism.

He’s prescient when he tells us “Modern life changes no longer century by century, but year by year, ten times faster than it ever has before…” It sounds as if he’s talking about the age of the internet.

By the end of the book

At one point Amory tells us “I detest poor people” because he saw “only coarseness, physical filth, and stupidity.” Was he a Democrat or a Republican? LOL.


Almost noir and a good book. You can see Fitzgerald’s emerging genius.

Coincidentally I happened to be reading A Separate Peace by John Knowles, while reading Paradise. There were many similarities. Rich young men coming of age (at a prep school instead of university) while a war goes on (WW II instead of WW I) with the draft hanging over them.

Top photo of Princeton in 1915 from princetonarchives.tumblr.com
The author (1896-1940) from thefamouspeople.com
Profile Image for Baba.
3,530 reviews791 followers
February 4, 2022
Amory Blaine, a mid-Westerner and middle class, begin what feels like the start of the rest of his life, in the place he feels he is meant to be, and on his arrival at Princeton (university) he feels at his life's greatest moment. This is his story, via a mix of narrators, styles, even genres, the story of his painful intellectual and sexual awakening as part of the 'Jazz Age' in the shadows of and after the Great War (World War I), as America begins to find itself moving to Superpower status, whilst it's young as ever question the empowered way of life, and in this case the superpowered to be way of life.

Fitzgerald's quasi autobiographical bildungsroman debut novel is everything: showing the genius to come; showing the failings that would impede his future success; overall thematically looking at America at it's perceived best, and realised worst; dysfunctional romantic liaisons; and at its heart a quest for identity. Loathed by some critics (even now), but loved by readers at the time (his best seller in his lifetime!!!!), this starts with a strong erudite man-on-campus feel that evolves into a lot more. The first Fitzgerald read that I've enjoyed that may now lead me to rereading and reading his other works. Worth reading alone for the final chapters when Amory throws contrary opinions at the monied classes in such a delightful way, with arguments that could still be used today! 7 out of 12.

2022 read
Profile Image for Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile.
2,025 reviews580 followers
August 22, 2020
Bleh, I tried. I tried SO HARD to like this book! I ended up skimming the last 1/3 or so of it. I love Fitzgerald’s other work, but this first book he wrote was so blasé, with no real plot or emotional connections. It was quite vapid and selfish. It reminded me of A Separate Peace or Catcher in the Rye, neither of which I enjoyed. Life is too short for boring books! On to better reading.
Profile Image for Jared Logan.
11 reviews8 followers
December 31, 2012
The Great Gatsby is colossal. It's one of those books from your high school reading list that you probably still like. I do. I love Gatsby. When I saw the Baz Luhrman movie was coming out I remembered that I once promised myself I would read all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels. This Side of Paradise is his first novel, published in 1920.

It's not a good book, but it's a sincere book. It's an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink book. You can tell young F. Scott Fitzgerald put EVERYTHING HE HAD into this book. His life, his loves, his poetry, every idea, every experience--he crammed it all in here and called it a novel. A lot of it doesn't fit together. Not all of it is interesting. Some of it is truly puzzling. The saving grace is that behind it all there's this exuberance and passion that keeps you turning the pages.

There's not much plot to speak of. At first you're reading a bildungsroman, the story of a young american, Amory Blaine, coming of age at Princeton University. Then the story seems to focus on his love life and becomes very episodic, with touches that show you this is a very autobiographical book. The last third of the book gets...experimental. Part of it is written as a one-act play. One brief section is stream-of-consciousness (the introduction says Fitzgerald was inspired by Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man). Then there are the poems. Loads and loads of poems. Some of them are just sort of hanging there in the middle of the chapter, without a lot of context as to what they're doing there. Oh, and there are reading lists of the hip authors Amory and his friends are reading at Princeton. Huge swaths of the novel are just discussions between Amory and his classmates about literature.

So, yeah, all the freshman mistakes are here. I can tell F. Scott Fitzgerald is a first-time novelist here because he makes the mistake new comedians make. They do stand-up comedy ABOUT stand-up comedy. Here, Fitzgerald is writing about writing before he knows how to write.

He's still more brilliant than you or I will ever be. Each section, by itself, is obviously the work of a very precocious young genius in the offing. They don't make a novel when you glue them all together, but taken a piece at a time there's a lot of fascinating stuff here. I particularly liked the section where Amory Blaine meets the devil. And some of the Princeton bits reminded me so much of my own college experience, how your mind develops and your ideas change during that time.

But what I take away is how ON FIRE Fitzgerald was to write, to get it all down, to get it all out there. That excitement is there in every line. That's the lesson of the book and it's a good one.

Oh, and I also take away that 'Amory Blaine' is a terrible name for a character.
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,521 followers
April 29, 2015
An Apprentice Work, With Flashes Of Genius

This Side Of Paradise was Fitzgerald’s first novel, the one that made him, at age 23, a literary star, the unofficial chronicler of the flapper era. It was such a success that his ex-girlfriend, Zelda Sayre, agreed to marry him. And we know how that turned out.

Autobiographical protagonist Amory Blaine is insufferably narcissistic and egotistical. Fitzgerald was clearly aware of this, and there’s more than a bit of satire to his portrait of the vain golden boy; he titled an earlier version The Romantic Egotist. Structurally, the book is all over the place, a collection of vignettes, impressions, poems… there’s even something resembling a one-act play near the end. WWI is oddly glossed over in an interlude.

It’s a coming of age novel with an experimental feel; at one point Fitzgerald refers to Joyce’s A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, and you can sense its influence, especially in the second half.

The book covers Amory’s comfortable midwest childhood, his Princeton years and the restless post-war Jazz Age generation. Throughout there’s the search for all those things you rhapsodize about when you’re very young: love, beauty, spirituality, fulfillment. The narrator occasionally drones on, telling us stuff, like some pedantic teaching assistant outlining a course.

But while the book is clearly, at times painfully, an apprentice work, it shows a ton of potential; you can see why legendary editor Maxwell Perkins agreed to publish it, despite the protests of his less enthusiastic colleagues at Scribner’s.

The book has an undeniable vitality, a spark of originality and the occasional flash of genius. You feel that Fitzgerald is attempting to capture his generation, one unshackling itself from pre-war mores. What it needs is a Nick Carraway figure, an outsider among the privileged to comment on the action. Amory is living in the eye of his own dramatic hurricane, and it’s hard to get a balanced point of view.

What’s eerie, though, is how many prescient passages there are. Like this one:

“Amory, you’re young. I’m young. People excuse us now for our poses and vanities, for treating people like Sancho and yet getting away with it. They excuse us now. But you’ve got a lot of knocks coming to you.”

Indeed he does.

Also included is one post-breakup bender that foreshadows the author’s later alcoholism. An elegiac feeling suffuses the book, especially near the end. When Amory revisits Princeton after the war, full of early disillusion, Fitzgerald gives us this stunning passage.

Long after midnight the towers and spires of Princeton were visible, with here and there a late-burning light – and suddenly out of the clear darkness the sound of bells. As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen youth from the muddled, unchastened world, still fed romantically on the mistakes and half-forgotten dreams of dead statesmen and poets. Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a reverie of long days and nights, destined finally to go out into the dirty grey turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all God’s dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken…

Fitzgerald's obvious lyrical gift is on display, but there’s also a knowledge of the currents and rhythms of life that, even at so young an age, he intuitively grasped.

In short: there’s real artistry.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews45.7k followers
August 2, 2022
here is my original short review of this book from a hundred years ago (both when it was published and when i wrote about it):

"i read it in pieces during the summer, and it was good brain food in the middle of wispy beach fiction."

i used to actually, like, try at this. there was a time when i didn't just crack weird jokes and talk about myself.


part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Profile Image for David Fleming.
Author 9 books856 followers
November 16, 2014
So how is it that this novel, despite it’s shortcomings, was still able to be successful? Ask any New York agent to represent your literary novel with a male protagonist and he'll tell you: “Literary novel’s with a male protagonist are hard sells.” And they are. Think about it: How many literary novels with male protagonists have you enjoyed in the last, say, five years? Probably zero. The key to the success of This Side of Paradise is in Fitzgerald’s mastery of the Male Protagonist in a Literary Novel Problem. But why should this even be a problem at all? It’s my belief that males generally don’t relate to one and other. They dominate each other. The question of ‘do you respect a full grown man?’ really comes down to: ‘is he dominate in some way?’

In a literary novel, a male protagonist is essentially going after the status quo. He’s saying that the society in which you live needs to change. We’re not apt to give credence to a full grown male who thinks things should change and yet is not in a powerful situation. We’ll assume it’s sour grapes. So, in a literary novel, a male lead must be powerful enough to have an unbiased view of the problem he sees with society. The difficulty is that powerful, dominant men generally don’t tend to be sensitive and open-minded enough to appreciate a societal problem. What’s needed in a literary male protagonist is a delicate balance of sensitivity and strength that we don’t normally see in the real world.

Many a would-be author will pen a male protagonist who just isn’t strong enough for us to feel sympathy for him. And striking this balance, or countermining this principle, has been the secret struggle of many a literary author. Shakespeare’s Hamlet was a whinny, emotional punk… but he was the king of Denmark; T.S. Garp was a famous author; most all of Hemingway's male leads were war veterans or soldiers or, in the case of The Old Man and the Sea, handicapped with age. Other ways to get around the unsympathetic male protagonist is with youth, ie, Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Finn, or insanity, (see: Hamlet, yet again), Lolita, Moby Dick (Captain Ahab) and Slaughter House Five.

The average, weak and sensitive male is to be avoided at all costs by the would-be author of literary fiction. History shows us that it is only kind to those that follow this principle and This Side of Paradise is no exception. Where Fitzgerald succeeds is with his execution of what I’ll call the Snob Narrator (something that he wasted no time in establishing in The Great Gatsby). Armory Blaine is sensitive and weak in many ways—for example his vanity—but since he is a Princeton student and literary scholar, we know he also has dominance. It’s this balance of sensitivity and strength (much like Shakespeare’s Hamlet) that convince us through the 268 pages of this novel until the very end that Armory Blaine might have the solution to what is wrong with society. SPOILER ALERT: He didn’t. Fun read though. And very inventive.
Profile Image for Lorna.
653 reviews352 followers
March 10, 2021
This Side of Paradise was the debut and coming-of-age novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that heralded a new and dynamic author into writing about the gilded age and the emerging jazz age in 1920. This novel is purported to be semi-autobiographical, and at times not a very flattering portrait. And at times the book seems disjointed as Fitzgerald experiments with different structures in the novel resulting in long passages of poetry and prose focusing on socialism, religion and relationships. Amory Blaine is a privileged young man but struggling to find his core. He attended a preparatory school in Minnesota and then went to Princeton. But in his early life, what it so endearing is his relationship with his neurotic mother whom he calls Beatrice, and the beautiful and emerging relationship with Monsignor Darcy. It becomes clear that the Monsignor regarded him as a son and some of the best parts of this novel are the meetings and letters between them. One of the most beautiful passages:

"They slipped into an intimacy from which they never recovered."

And the essence of this novel is very much a romantic tale, but we see F. Scott Fitzgerald's instinct for the tragic view of life as we follow Amory Blaine through his years at Princeton and beyond. After all, we are looking at lives in the aftermath of World War I. I loved this book and all of the promise that this young author at the age of 23-years of age brought forth. F. Scott Fitzgerald's brilliance is apparent within these pages.

One of the most poignant moments in this book and my favorite is with Amory Blaine at loose ends and trying to find himself as he is pondering social class issues in American society and where he fits. As he is walking back to Princeton and feeling driven that that is what he must do, he is given a ride by a limousine driver. It is in this riveting conversation between these men that we learn so much, not only about Amory Blaine, but about ourselves and our beliefs.

"I sent my son to Princeton,"
"Did you?"
"Perhaps you knew him. His name was Jesse Ferrenby. He was killed last year in France."
"I knew him very well. In fact he was one of my particular friends."
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
558 reviews3,846 followers
April 27, 2020
Por primera vez en su vida deseaba que la muerte se llevara a toda su generación, borrando sus mezquinas fiebres y luchas y alegrías
Esta fue la primera novela de Fitzgerald y no la recomiendo para empezar con el autor (mejor 'El gran Gatsby'). Creo que es un libro que se disfruta mucho más si ya has leído otras de sus novelas antes y conoces su estilo y vida... Porque una vez más, 'A este lado del paraíso' tiene mucho de relato autobiográfico, y aquí Fitzgerald libera toda la decepción y disgusto que siente ante el mundo.
La novela relata los años en la universidad de Princeton del joven Amory cuando era un joven adinerado y egocéntrico, hasta la llegada de la Primera Guerra Mundial y el cambio que supuso en la sociedad y especialmente en su generación.
Sorprendentemente la guerra no tiene una importancia real para Amory (igual que para Fitzgerald) pero sí nos muestra sus consecuencias.
Como me ha ocurrido con todas las novelas que he leído de este autor, es un libro que me ha dejado más poso del que esperaba y sus últimas 100 páginas me han gustado muchísimo por lo críticas e inconformistas que son.
Aunque durante la mayoría de la historia los personajes resultan bastante odiosos por ser unos jóvenes millonarios caraduras yo me divertí mucho con sus andanzas, e incluso en los trágicos amoríos de Amory encontré un poso de reflexión sobre la situación de la mujer, tan terriblemente limitada.
Otra cosa a destacar es la maravillosa prosa de Fitzgerald, siempre insuperable, aún en su primer escrito, y además aquí hay que añadir lo original que resulta este libro que intercala cartas, poemas e incluso un pequeño drama teatral que encaja a la perfección.
Sea como sea, no me parece una de sus grandes novelas, pero me hizo disfrutar y sorprenderme una vez más de la habilidad con las palabras de este gran autor.
Profile Image for Oriana.
Author 2 books3,261 followers
August 6, 2013
after reading: Meh. Meh, meh, meh. See, this is the problem with re-reading books that shine so bright in your memory — sometimes they just don't live up. I mean, there's really no reason I shouldn't have loved this book. It's filled with philosophical musings and snappy, flirty dialogue; it's pleasantly disjointed, very slice-of-life-y; it's definitely full of verve and probably powerful ideas.... but I just couldn't get into it. I was in fact very impatient throughout. I found Amory Blaine to be a bit of a narcissistic bore, all the female characters thoroughly self-obsessed and false, and most of the other characters either inconsistent, un-memorable, or not believable.

I nearly always feel guilty about not liking a book. In this case my guilt is compounded by the fact that someone who once meant a great deal to me loved the shit out of Fitzgerald, and this book in particular; in fact, it's his copy, full of his underlinings and nearly destroyed due to the number of times it's been caught in in rainstorms, that I still have.

But Nick, I'm sorry. F. Scott, I'm sorry. I just don't love this like I used to.
Profile Image for Майя Ставитская.
1,259 reviews123 followers
September 4, 2022
Francis Scott Fitzgerald, unlike Nekrasov, who: "dedicated the lyre to his people," did not swing at such large-scale projects, having cut out for himself in the gardens of world literature a plot of influence of money, big money, very big money on the individual and Personality (like this, with a capital one). And that's good, thanks to his lyre we have "The Great Gatsby".

"This Side of Paradise" is Fitzgerald's first book, which immediately brought him literary fame as the youngest novelist of the Scribners publishing house and the author of the generational manifesto. And the financial success that came with her made it possible to resume the engagement with Zelda Sayre - in the novel she is depicted in the image of Rosalind - and determined the further themes of creativity. Then Fitzgerald will write all the time about the rich, the young, the beautiful, the talented, the carefree. About the world of expensive exquisite things in which they live. About the specific problems they have to face. About the sufferings of people who are excluded from the opportunity to be equal among equals in the society of the inhabitants of the earthly paradise who enter these circles.

Богатые люди - особые люди
И мудрость мало утешает
По эту сторону от рая...
Well this side of Paradise! ....
There’s little comfort in the wise.
Tiare Tahiti by Rupert Brooke

Фрэнсис Скотт Фицджеральд, в отличие от Некрасова, который: "лиру посвятил народу своему", на такие масштабные проекты не замахивался, выкроив для себя в садах мировой литературы делянку влияния денег, больших денег, очень больших денег на индивидуума и Личность (вот так, с заглавной). И это хорошо, благодаря его лире у нас есть "Великий Гэтсби".

"По эту сторону от рая" первая книга Фицджеральда, которая тотчас принесла ему литературную славу самого молодого романиста издательства "Скрибнерс" и автора поколенческого манифеста. А пришедший с ней финансовый успех позволил возобновить помолвку с Зельдой Сейр - в романе она выведена в образе Розалинды - и определил дальнейшую тематику творчества. Дальше Фицджеральд все время станет писать о богатых, молодых, красивых, талантливых, беззаботных. О мире дорогих изысканных вещей, в котором они обитают. О специфических проблемах, с которыми им приходится сталкиваться. О страданиях людей, отлученных от возможности быть равными среди равных в обществе обитателей земного рая, вхожих в эти круги.

История Эмори Блейна, происходящего из богатой, но беднеющей на протяжении романа до полного разорения к финалу семьи: его детства, его отношений со взбалмошной красавицей матерью, с однокашниками, с наставником, с женщинами - во-многом автобиографична. Так чаще всего и бывает, дебютант пишет первую книгу с себя. В свете этого критичность автора в отношении мотиваций молодого эгоиста ("Романтический эгоист" - первоначальное название романа, под которым рукопись отклонили издательства) выглядит симпатичной. В то время, как бесконечные упоминания красоты героя производят несколько комичное впечатление.

Однако тут следует помнить, что богатство само по себе: дающее обладателю рычаги влияния, возможность созидательной деятельности и улучшения общественных институтов - мало интересует Фицджеральда. Его приоритет в эстетической сфере, отсюда утрированное желание подчеркнуть внешнюю красоту Эмори и Розалинды. Деньги ценны возможностью красиво и неограниченно тратиться на прекрасные сумасбродства. Не случайно их с Зельдой брак стал материальным выражением такого рода взглядов.

Атмосфера ревущих двадцатых, как нельзя лучше подходящих для передачи такого рода образа мыслей и действий, воссоздана в романе с детальной подробностью, а чтение Игоря Князева подсвечивает повествование, которое иногда может показаться чересчур снобским, мягкой самоиронией.

Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,113 reviews8,046 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
May 10, 2016
DNFing this one. Maybe it's because I'm not in the mood, or maybe it's just slow and not my jam in general. Either way, just thinking about picking this book up was not inspiring me to read so I'm done.
Profile Image for Lee Klein .
794 reviews838 followers
February 29, 2008
Of all the writing by writers in their early 20s I've read (and written), this book is down the street and around the corner from most. I wish I'd read about the Romantic Egotist before I wrote a book called Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World that also takes place in the Princeton area. (I loved when Amory Blaine biked at night with a friend from P'ton to my hometown.) Fitzgerald writes sharp, swervy, gorgeous, clever sentences, pretty much always with his eyes on the socio-existential prize. Also, really funny: 30 LOLs, at least. Self-consciously episodic in structure, with a conventional, linear, there-and-back again, rising arc (NOT lacking structure, as so many muffinheads on here say; the plot is propelled by Amory's thoughts about his emotional/intellectual progression more than old-fashioned conflict/resolution). Also, I think he's conscious of most of the things people on here level at him re: class -- he seems to me more often critical than complicit (eg, the end of his relationship with Rosalind, not to mention the final rant in the car). It's a lot like Tolstoy's Confession, but here the Egotist steps into the labyrinth of the rest of his life and realizes he knows himself and nothing else. Looking forward to the other F. Scott novels and then re-re-re-reading Gatsby.
Profile Image for Matthew Ted.
689 reviews567 followers
August 15, 2021
85th book of 2021.

2.5. This is Fitzgerald's messy and juvenile debut from 1920. It's told through vignettes mostly with no real semblance of "plot". It reads of its time and reminds me of numerous other novels from the same sort of period (Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Woolf's Jacob's Room, Nabokov's Glory). The most prominent flaw in the first half of the book is its seemingly complete lack of self-awareness: where later Fitzgerald works value vapidness as a theme, This Side of Paradise feels only vapid, without the dissection of it. This is rectified by the end somewhat but it's a lot of detached prose to read with a self-centred and fairly unlikeable protagonist Amory Blaine doing nothing. He goes to Princeton (as Fitzgerald did) and talks incessantly about his world view, what books he likes. . . These are things I usually like to read but Fitzgerald's delivery is poor. Frankly, it reads as if Fitzgerald had done and said everything that is in the book and simply recorded it all. At one point a character accuses Amory of writing things down and saving them for later, and maybe that's what Fitzgerald actually did. Other than being lifeless, the structure is mostly a smorgasbord is stuff: random numbered lists, several chapters that drop into the structure of a script with no apparent benefit, even a Question and Answer page (the latter two both appearing as chapter styles in Ulysses which I find interesting as this was published two years before). The Introduction does suggest that Joyce's Portrait must have been a great influence for Fitzgerald and he naturally tried to downplay that. Despite all its faults this novel was an instant success in 1920 and "overnight" sent Fitzgerald into money and literary fame. Just two books later he would write The Great Gatsby so somehow he learnt the craft fast. Very fast. There are tiny, tiny flashes of his later genius in here with some beautifully structured sentences in an otherwise hurricane of bland characters, bland happenings and dizzying structure.
Profile Image for Kim.
426 reviews507 followers
August 11, 2013

When published in March 1920, this - Fitzgerald's first novel - was an immediate critical and popular success. It led to success for Fitzgerald in another way too, because when it was accepted for publication Zelda Sayre, who had ended her relationship with Fitzgerald the previous year, agreed to marry him. After the first print run sold out within three days of publication, Fitzgerald wired for Zelda to come to New York City to marry him that weekend. She agreed and they married a week after the novel was published. The pair then fell headlong into the life of celebrity which contributed so much to their ultimate downfall.

In some ways it's difficult to understand why this work was so well received. It has "first novel" stamped all over it. The writing is uneven in quality and patchy in tone, clearly cobbled together from pieces which don't always fit together harmoniously. Fitzgerald combines standard prose narrative, narrative in the form of a play, free verse and rather pedestrian poetry to tell the story of Amory Blaine, a young mid-Westerner who believes he will achieve extraordinary success in life. He goes to boarding school and then to university, falls in and out of love, drinks too much, tries to write, goes to war, works briefly in an advertising agency and endlessly philosophises alone and with his friends.

Amory is squarely based on Fitzgerald and much of the action is autobiographical. While what appealed to critics about the novel in 1920 was the exploration of young American manhood in the aftermath of World War I, it is the autobiographical flavour of the novel which is probably of most interest to modern readers. Fitzgerald's ego and his insecurities, his relationship with Zelda, his desire for success, the cynicism of the age are all there in the text. Amory Blaine's self-obsession is Fitzgerald's self-obsession, not the less real for being insightful. In a moment of introspection, Blaine reflects:
He knew tht he could sophisticate himself finally into saying that his own weakness was just the result of circumstance and environment; that often when he raged at himself as an egotist something would whisper ingratiatingly "No, Genius!". That was one manifestation of fear, that voice which whispered that he could be both great and good, that genius was the exact combination of those inexplicable grooves and twists in his mind, that any discipline would curb it to mediocrity. Probably more than any concrete vice or failing Amory despised his own personality - he loathed knowing that tomorrow and the thousand days after he would swell pompously at a compliment and sulk at an ill word like a third-rate musician or a first class actor. He was ashamed of the fact that simple and honest people usually distrusted him; that he had been cruel, often, to those who had sunk their personalities in him - several girls, and a man here and there through college, that he had been an evil influence on people who had followed him here and there into mental adventures from which he alone rebounded unscathed.
Knowing that Fitzgerald did not continue to rebound unscathed from those mental adventures adds a certain poignancy to reading this novel. However, nothwithstanding the beautiful prose, the evocation of the age with which Fitzgerald has become synonymous, and the autobiographical insights, this is not a work I have any particular interest in reading again. Most of the problem with the novel is, I think, that clever young men are never quite as interesting as they think they are. Two stars for Amory's story and another one because of the insight it provides into the workings of the young Fitzgerald's mind.
Profile Image for Sarah.
729 reviews73 followers
May 26, 2016
I strongly disliked this book and I'm saying no more lest it turn into a rant.

Edit: Okay, some friends have requested the rant, so here goes. I never connected with the main character. The only time we really get insight into what he's thinking is when he's thinking about how much better he is than everybody else. (gag) We follow his romantic adventures as he falls in love repeatedly and we have no idea how he really feels or why he's doing this. The motivations of all of the characters make no sense to me. They're all paper dolls, doing weird things with no understandable motivations. "Oh, I killed my horse! Sometimes I just go mad and do things like that!" (context makes this make a tiny bit more sense)

And oh, the poetry! It's like Fitzgerald being a pretentious ass and trying to get lame (to me) poetry into a book way too many times. One or two would be fine, but I seriously wanted to close my eyes and bang my head against a wall every time it cropped up. However, that would have given me a hell of a headache because there was a lot of it.

Oh, yes, how could I possibly forget the political ranting in favor of socialism? It went on and on and on and on...

The interesting thing is how extreme my reaction was. Last year I read The Beautiful and Damned for a classics challenge, and not only did I give it some five star love, it was also one of my favorite books last year. A favorite of both the challenge and a 2015 top 10. So I was understandably extremely excited about this book. His first published book, and a book that took the world by storm. A book that was so popular that he makes a comment in The Beautiful and Damned about how all of society is talking about it and it's a must read for them. Arrogant and self-centered but it made me really want to read this. And then I do and I hate it as much as I loved the other. I've also read The Great Gatsby and had a sane, normal 3.5 star reaction to it. So why do these two books provoke such a powerful reaction?
Profile Image for Jenna .
137 reviews181 followers
September 7, 2014
"It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being."

Thinking back in time, I believe that I must have had ADD as a kid because when I was presented with all of the classics in school, I just didn't appreciate them like I am now, with the exception of Poe. Since I finished reading Of Human Bondage, I have had a thirst for devouring the classics and lucky me: it's like an extended Christmas since there are so many!!

When deciding on which classics to read my mind went first to F. Scott Fitzgerald, but not because he is considered one of the greatest novelists of all time, but because he settled for a time in North Carolina (my home state), while his wife Zelda was in an institution for schizophrenia. He stayed in Asheville at the Omni Grove Park Inn in room 441, which has not been remodeled since his time there and people can rent this room out to this day and feel the presence of Fitzgerald himself. I have actually had dinner here where you can eat on a veranda that overlooks the mountains and at one time could view the hospital where Zelda once was before it burned down taking her life with it. Enough about that though and on to the book...

This is a story told from the POV of Amory Blaine. It starts out when he is an adolescent and ends when he is a young man. As with many of the classics that I have been reading lately, this is mainly character-driven and he seems to be on a quest to understand his place in the world and to understand life itself. Of course, as with the other classics, this leads to deep introspection once he fails first at love, career, and convention. Once he is stripped of these things it leads him to finally think:

"I know myself, but that is all."

That one sentence really packs a punch and narrows down the entire book. What I loved far more than the story or the characters within was Fitzgerald's poetic prose and I am not one for saying such things.

For a minute they stood there, hating each other with a bitter sadness. But as Avory had loved himself in Eleanor, so now what he hated was only a mirror. Their poses were strewn about the pale dawn like broken glass. The stars were long gone and there were left only the little sighing gusts of wind and the silences between...but naked souls are poor things ever, and soon he turned homeward and let new lights come in with the sun."

Also as with most of the great classics there is the philosophy that decorates the pages and this one wasn't short of them,

"Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don't. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn't want to repeat her girlhood-she wants to repeat her honeymoon. I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again."

"To hold a man a woman has to appeal to the worst in him." That was the thesis of most of his bad nights...

I love reading stories about the rich, or so Amory was in the beginning, that just wander the Earth looking for introspect. They tend to get heavy at times, but I love to read the rattlings of their minds.

Profile Image for Adrianne Mathiowetz.
248 reviews219 followers
November 4, 2007
Someone needed to tell F. Scott Fitzgerald to stop writing poetry and including it in this book as the work of his characters. You have to read it, because it's freaking F. Scott Fitzgerald and you don't skim the man's work, but honestly this was insufferable.

There were passages in this book that I loved, and parts that I couldn't put down: but overall the work seemed uneven. The plot structure wasn't really there. The whole focus of the book is simply one character's development as a person from childhood to mid-twenties, and that development isn't always believable.

That said, there was a lot of playfulness in this book that made it fun to read. Midway through, you suddenly have three chapters that are written entirely in play format. Towards the end you enter Amory Blaine's head with a series of questions and answers he's asking and answering for himself, followed by a page of stream of consciousness. These deviations, while abrupt, give effective, fascinating glimpses into the characters' lives that traditional prose could not deliver.

Recommended kinda!

Profile Image for Charity.
632 reviews441 followers
February 28, 2012
This Side of Paradise primarily suffers from not being The Great Gatsby. And while I know that This Side of Paradise is Fitzgerald's first foray into writing, The Great Gatsby is most people's first foray into Fitzgerald. People have expectations, you know? This Side of Paradise just doesn't measure up. One of TSoP's main flaws is that it has virtually no plot. It does contain the rare snippets of brilliance, but you have to wade through a whole lot of tosh to find them. Still, I can't say that I hated it, however, I've definitely had naps that were more stimulating.
340 reviews54 followers
May 3, 2016
Brilliant dialogue that still rings true after many years of being published. One has to wonder what he would have accomplished if F Scott Fitzgerald had not died so young ?
Profile Image for Phee.
558 reviews58 followers
February 23, 2018
“I know myself,’ he cried, ‘but that is all.”

This was Fitzgerald’s first novel and the one the catapulted him into fame and riches at the young age of 23. Whilst I don’t like it quite as much as I do The Great Gatsby, this still holds all the depth and details that I love in Fitzgerald’s work.

In this book we follow Amory Blaine throughout his young years, growing up and going to Princeton, and his young adult life trying to find his way. We see his many attempts at love and his failings and we see him try to understand himself as he learns more and more about the world and the way it all works. Fitzgerald really captures that sense of the unknown when you are in your early twenties and trying to figure out the path you want to carve in life. This book is pretty satire and Fitzgerald’s witty and lyrical prose is a pleasure to read.
His usual themes are present; wealth, doomed love, faith, society and even socialism. I must say I did find it a little jarring at times as the way the story is written changes and various intervals. There are pages of poetry, letters, even a segment written like a play. But overall it ended up just showing his merits and skill as an author.

I do hope to read all of Fitzgerald’s novels this year as he is one of my favourite authors. I can’t wait to experience some of his other stories.
Profile Image for Britany.
951 reviews413 followers
November 22, 2015
Equal parts loathed and loved this book by America's most beloved author. I loved the dreamlike quality and the switching of verses from the standard novel, stories, poetry, play, and even a section drafted in Q&A format. Original and provocative, especially given that Fitzgerald was only 23 when he wrote this book. I could feel the greenness of his life, and how frightened he must have been of what the world had to offer.

I hated the arrogance and conceited attitude of the main character Amory Blaine- for I can't think of another protagonist that I hated as much I hated Amory. I also tend to hate novels filled with philosophizing and seemingly meaningless ramblings. For those things noted, I had to veer to three stars for this one.

Profile Image for Faith Simmons.
23 reviews1,099 followers
April 20, 2021
Wow, what a tale of opulence and young angst - allow me to explain. In this semi-autobiographical novel of Fitzgerald's, the narrative follows a young Amory Blaine from his teenage years until his mid-twenties. It is a story of young love, loss of innocence, and tragedy, all compiled into one, admittedly elitist, work. Fitzgerald's opulent taste is evident throughout, and his high-class upbringing makes for a main character that is at times dislikable but also ultimately lovable. Although I found the ending abrupt and not giving of closure, the journey through Blaine's years was enjoyable and afforded me a wonderful bit of escape into an entirely different era than our own. 3.5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Tom.
325 reviews29 followers
November 5, 2012
There's no denying that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a gifted writer, even in the beginning.

A lot of his problems lay in the thinly-veiled autobiographical nature of his novels.

In "This Side of Paradise," the protagonist--he certainly never does anything heroic--is Amory Blaine. Like Fitzgerald, Amory was born into a family with money, went to prep school then Princeton, drank too much, couldn't find the right woman, and briefly wrote for an ad agency.

The problem with using a bright, young man as a protagonist is that bright young men can be so infernally tedious. Amory and his friends discuss ideas and literature with wearying solipsism, as if they were the first people ever to think.

Again, much if not most of Fitzgerald's novels are autobiographical, and I usually find his work brilliant. The problem with "This Side of Paradise" is that Fitzgerald the author hadn't yet become sufficiently interesting as Fitzgerald the person. Once the alcohol, Zelda, and fame-fueled eccentricity manifested, the stories "showed" us a world apart from our own. "Paradise" does a whole lot of tedious "telling." The potential is obvious, especially if we've read Fitzgerald's later works. Sadly, this is just a long 280 pages of an intelligent boy, who loafed through college, dated a few interesting girls, had and lost a job, and spent a decade of his life telling himself, his peers, and us readers just how damn clever he is.
Profile Image for Seth.
111 reviews
October 20, 2012
One of the things I loved about this book was the character development. We first encounter the protagonist Amory Blaine as a privileged young boy and we accompany him on his journey to prep school, university, and early career. Essentially, this is a coming-of-age novel featuring all of the customary rites of passage.

From the beginning, Fitzgerald describes Amory as a romantic egotist. Only in the last chapter does the egotist evolve into a personage, as he achieves self-understanding. One of the most fascinating elements of the maturation process is that Amory, whose first letter is a juvenile response to an invitation to a children's apple bobbing party, gradually becomes more sophisticated in his ability to communicate. Fitzgerald's ability to capture this linguistic evolution in all its subtlety is one of his singular achievements as an author.

Another fascination that the book has for me is its depiction of Princeton University (my alma mater) before, during, and after World War I. In the period of pre-war innocence, Amory was drawn to Princeton "with its atmosphere of bright colors and its alluring reputation as the pleasantest country club in America." Little did he suspect that his classmates would soon be marching in uniform in the gymnasium and shipped off to war in Europe.

The chapter describing his arrival on campus is called "spires and gargoyles." Amory is a dreamy, undisciplined student and social climber who wanders the campus in a daze and eventually pays the price for his lassitude by failing a class in solid geometry. He is still a dreamer upon graduation, but at least one who is better read than when he arrived.

As much as Princeton has changed since Fitzgerald's day, some of the campus traditions described in the book still exist. For example, ambitious students still try out for the Triangle Club (a musical group that tours the country over the holidays), the chairmanship of the Daily Princetonian (the student newspaper known as "the Prince"), and the eating clubs of their choice. Incredibly, reunions were already being held (the author recounts the quiet presence of a class that graduated shortly after the Civil War). Already back then, previous university president Woodrow Wilson had failed to abolish the eating clubs in an effort to raise Princeton's academic standards. However, Wilson did not entirely fail. He left behind two legacies: an undergraduate senior thesis requirement and discussion classes known as "preceptorials." Nevertheless, as far as traditions and some perceptions are concerned, the cliche still fits: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

At the end of the book, having hit rock bottom in work and romance, a chastened Amory returns to campus--itself now transformed by the war just ended--because he considers it to be his real home. More than that, it represents a mecca and source of inspiration. Fitzgerald captures Amory's mood:

"Long after midnight the towers and spires of Princeton were visible, with here and there a late-burning light--and suddenly out of the clear darkness the sound of bells. As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen youth from the muddled, unchastened world, still fed romantically on the mistakes and half-forgotten dreams of dead statesmen and poets. Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken..."
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