Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Life in Letters” as Want to Read:
A Life in Letters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Life in Letters

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A vibrant self-portrait of an artist whose work was his life.
In this new collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald's letters, edited by leading Fitzgerald scholar and biographer Matthew J. Bruccoli, we see through his own words the artistic and emotional maturation of one of America's most enduring and elegant authors. A Life in Letters is the most comprehensive volume of Fitzge
Paperback, 528 pages
Published May 3rd 1995 by Scribner (first published March 1st 1980)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Life in Letters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Life in Letters

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  209 ratings  ·  17 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's Life of Lettersfor two reasons:
1) Because I have been studying Fitzgerald's works for most of my college career, so I wanted to hear about his life in his own words
2) Because the book is such a dry read, I'd only push myself to read it under the context of a undergrad book report. Thankfully, I've received that opportunity.

No doubt, Matthew Broccoli is an F. Scott Fitzgerald expert. His task of collaging a comprehensive collection of letters in a chronologic
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book had so many insights into the life of a literary genius. I've been reading it off and on for over a year, and as long as you know the general narrative of Fitzgerald's life it's an easy book to come back to after a period of absence. The letters toward the end of his life were kind of hard for me to read because of the bleakness of his life. He'd gotten into such crushing debt, his wife was institutionalized, his career was failing, etc. that it was just so sad to read. Then he starts ...more
Janna Maron
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fascinating stuff. Inside the heart and soul of one of America's most epic writers. To read this book is to understand that Fitzgerald was a true romantic and -- as most writers are -- his own worst critic.
S.M. Thayer
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is about the most depressing book that I've read in ages. Fitzgerald's letters of the 1930s are full of despair. There's one particular exchange of letters exchanged between Scott and Zelda in 1930 that are particularly heartbreaking.

Maybe twenty years ago, I read the Andrew Turnbull-edited THE LETTERS OF F. SCOTT FITZGERALD collection that was originally published in 1963. This newer volume, while not containing all of Fitzgerald's letters known to exist, contains 211 letters not containe
I have a whole new appreciation for FSF's earlier work now, having read his doubts, worries, exacting notes to his publisher, concerns that nobody would "get" it.

I reread Gatsby while reading this, and given his personal financial worries, apologies to those he owed money to, etc, I have a different take on it now than I did before - partly influenced also by my advancing age and events of the last decade or so. I wonder if Fitzgerald - great American novelist - didn't wonder, from time to time,
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I have a love of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work, starting with the Great Gatsby, but going far beyond that. I picked up this book eagerly because I have always wanted to read his own letters about his life, particularly his relationship with Zelda.

I'm somewhat disappointed by the book. I find the one sidedness of the letters, we only read Fitzgerald's letters with a few exceptions, to leave me wanting. I don't feel the full picture, and it feels as though part of the story is missing. I also would
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
How does one fairly review a compilation of letters? I have decided to rate it based on the editor's compilation rather than Fitzgerald's content, which was never intended for such a vast audience. It felt false giving it five stars, but I wish I'd read this years ago. There are so many gems of wisdom for how to live and write. Especially in his later letters to his daughter, Fitzgerald's analysis of literature and writing will forever influence the way I read and write.

I believe a lot of the l
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't think there is a better way of knowing who a person was than reading his hand written letters. There was much to know of Fitzgerald and what was going on in his life that contributed to such wonderful, dramatic and colorful stories that so many people love and continue to read. I will forever refer back to this book and many specific letters as they are inspirational and contain powerful words. I highly recommend this book to lovers of the early 1900's, poetry and/or Fitzgerald.
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book for so many reasons. It gave me insights into Fitzgerald's process as a writer. I learned about his relationship with his daughter. I felt part of the trajectory of his life and I feel so sad at how quickly it all ended. This is a book I would read over and over.
Rebecca Dunbar
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
An excellent compilation of primary source material from Fitzgerald's Princeton years to his final years in Hollywood.
Sarah Hannan
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fitzgerald, favorites
This book is going out of print!! It is the closest thing to an FSF autobiography we have. Grab this gem before you are no longer able!
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Whining elevated to an art form. Unfortunately, I have no patience for whining.
Hannah Jackson
Extremely helpful for English Literature context revision for F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Jun 16, 2014 marked it as to-read
how 'bout a nice cover?
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book I've read in ages.
Donny Martel
rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2015
Kate Feline
rated it it was amazing
Jun 13, 2013
Ronald Wise
rated it liked it
Oct 16, 2017
rated it really liked it
Nov 08, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jan 07, 2017
rated it liked it
Aug 25, 2016
rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2008
Gregory T.  Janetka
rated it it was amazing
Aug 20, 2011
rated it really liked it
Apr 28, 2012
TX Poppet
rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2008
rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2016
rated it liked it
Jun 09, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Oct 16, 2017
rated it liked it
Oct 09, 2008
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Romantic Egoists: A Pictorial Autobiography from the Scrapbooks and Albums of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
  • Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald
  • Selected Letters 1917-1961
  •  Palm Sunday/Welcome to the Monkeyhouse
  • The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Letters of T.S. Eliot: 1898-1922
  • Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A Marriage
  • The Brontës: A Life in Letters
  • A Life in Letters
  • Hemingway: The Paris Years
  • Orson Welles, Vol. 2: Hello Americans
  • Hemingway: A Biography
  • The Major Works: Including Songs and Sonnets and Sermons
  • Ty Cobb
  • Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985 - Updated Edition
  • Scott Fitzgerald
  • William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible
  • Black Watch
See similar books…
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
“To daughter Scotty Oct. 20, 1936 p. 313

Don't be a bit discouraged about your story not being tops. At the same time, I am not going to encourage you about it, because, after all, if you want to get into the big time, you have to have your own fences to jump and learn from experience. Nobody ever became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter - as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.

Let me preach again for a moment: I mean that what you have felt and thought will by itself invent a new style, so that when people talk about style they are always a little astonished at the newness of it, because they think that it is only style that they are talking about, when what they are talking about is the attempt to express a new idea with such force that it will have the originality of the thought. It is an awfully lonesome business, and as you know, I never wanted you to go into it, but if you are going into it at all I want you to go into it knowing the sort of things that took me years to learn.”
“Remember in all society nine girls out of ten marry for money and nine men out of ten are fools.” 2 likes
More quotes…