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Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  418 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The standard work on Fitzgerald, revised, enlarged, and updated; Since its first publication in 1981, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur has stood apart from other biographies of F. Scott Fitzgerald for its thoroughness and volume of information. It is regarded today as the basic work on Fitzgerald and the preeminent source for the study of the novelist. In this second revised edi ...more
Paperback, Second revised edition, 696 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by University of South Carolina Press (first published 1981)
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4.20  · 
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 ·  418 ratings  ·  49 reviews


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John
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend Professor Bruccoli's book to anyone who wants an in depth understanding of Fitzgerald. Some might dismiss the book on the basis that Bruccoli is an unabashed fan. But I would say so what if he's a fan--he's got some great insight in Fitzgerald's psyche. And even though he's a fan, he doesn't (in my opinion) observe Fitzgerald with rose colored glasses.


Fitzgerald was so complex. He could be brutal in his personal relationships, he struggled with demons (mainly alcohol) for most
...more
Whitney Milam
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Was just going back through this pulling bookmarked quotes and realized I never actually reviewed on here - this is essentially the definitive FSF biography, and with good reason: the breadth and scope and collection of primary sources (so many letters and notes and photos I'd never seen - extremely exciting for me as a Fitzgerald obsessive who thought she'd seen just about everything) are unparalleled. I have nothing on Bruccoli, though - he was the world's foremost Fitzgerald scholar as well a ...more
Brian Budzynski
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a re-read, which is not a common circumstance with me w/r/t non-fiction (though it is for fiction, as re-reading is the true reading), biography in particular, as I usually err toward Updike's notion that a biography is a posthumous form of secondhand dishonesty--but this is the finest, and maybe only truly fine, biography I have ever read, and one that redresses many misconceptions about the subject, as did the Carver bio, which was published a few years back. FSF was a terribly hopeful ...more
Elisha
This is regarded as the definitive biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald and therefore, when I saw it in my university's library, I knew that I had to read it immediately. Despite my fascination with all things Fitzgerald, I'd yet to have read a biography of him, and this seemed like a good place to start. It didn't disappoint me in the slightest.

Even though I already knew a lot of the details of Fitzgerald's life, it was so nice to finally sit down and read an official life story about him, one w
...more
Christopher
First, a confession of bias: I am an F. Scott Fitzgerald nut. To me, there is no one in 20th Century letters that writes with such compelling grace and honesty, no one who wrote in such a way with such flippant disregard. Of all my literary gods, he sits highest on Olympus for me.



That being said, when I undertook SOME SORT OF EPIC GRANDEUR by Matthew J. Bruccoli, I was thrilled and excited to sink my teeth into the life of Fitzgerald. And I was not dissappointed. Bruccoli mixes details with spee
...more
Bernard Rodriguez
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Matthew Bruccoli's biography on one of the greatest novelists this world has ever known is a must read for anyone with an interest F. Scott Fitzgerald and his work. Bruccoli assembles a history and a text primarily from letters to and from the great author. (As a side-note, Fitzgerald's letters are an incredible joy to read and are collected in Bruccoli's book "A Life in Letters") The narrative that he weaves re-contexulizes Fitzgerald from gifted writer turned Hollywood hack, to a much sadder m ...more
Kate
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best of all the Fitzgerald biographies. Matthew Bruccoli is a gift to all of us FSF fans.
Brian Willis
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This definitive biography by the great Fitzgerald scholar covers the meteoric rise and fall of one of the great prose writers of all time. The Great Gatsby has always been near and dear to my heart, and the short stories are full of such exquisite prose that I have always been a major Fitzgerald fan. I knew most of these details from various general readings, but it is still thrilling to read how the stories developed in his mind and it is absolutely heartbreaking to read of his helpless descent ...more
Frank Spencer
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought that we had an original idea to do whatever we wanted in the sixties. It looks like the twenties did start the whole thing. In this book, you will learn about Fitzgerald's wife Zelda, and her mental health struggles, not to mention his. Fitzgerald had a lot to say to his daughter about her education; the title of the book comes from a letter to her from him. I learned about the preliminary writing he did in his notebooks for a novel. That method was never explained to me in a writing c ...more
Mark
Jul 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Now this was a biography. Cleverly written, though with a forgiving hand, it distills one of the most celebrated and sorrowful figures in american lit. I had read many of Fitzgerald's works, knew his troubles with Zelda, and that he died before his last book was complete, but to get it all, in one lovingly put together tome- the epitome of heartbreak. Most interesting fact- the author made a little over $13 dollars in royalties from his published books the year of his death- only 7 copies of Gat ...more
Dan
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Startlingly complete. Read this biography and, for all their various charms, the others will begin to seem familiar to you—because I'm not sure Bruccoli left a single source or kind-of-source out of "Some Sort of Epic Grandeur." You could probably write a satisfying new biography of Fitzgerald without citing anything else.

Tone-wise, Bruccoli's an unabashed defender of Fitzgerald's work and life—he's not a booster, but he's determined that the art Fitzgerald left us is more important—on a basic
...more
Brittany Batong
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent read for anyone curious about the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Brucolli conveys Fitzgerald's life using only information that can be solidly backed by either Fitzgerald's own accounts, reliable family/collegue accounts, or by existing data. It is especially interesting that he uses Fitzgerald's accounting ledgers to gain insight into the author's life. Bottom line: Fitzgerald was a great writer with often disappointing personal beliefs who made tragic life choices. Not a gos ...more
Dan Pecchenino
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While it is generally true that a biography is only as interesting as the life of its subject will allow, a well-written biography can transform a fascinating life into a consequential one. SOME SORT OF EPIC GRANDEUR rises to this level, turning Fitzgerald's notoriously vagabond and sad story into a lens through which we are able to view the artistic marketplace of the 1920s and 1930s.

For a slightly longer review, please go here: http://yetanothercocktailparty.wordpr...
Kirk
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
The standard Fitzgerald biography, first published in 81 and twice updated since. Bruccoli is less interested in the Scott/Zelda psychodrama than in facts about the writing career, so you get a lot of itineraries, dates, and dollars---often right down to the decimal points. What the book lacks in a compelling portrait of FSF's mindset it more than compensates for in scrupulousness and precision.
Susan
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sad to think that those who see Great Gatsby this year will think that it reflects his life style. Though far from mediocre, his life was a constant struggle; real success and appreciation came too late.
This book is a thorough account of the highs and lows.
A story that deserves to be read by those thriving on the Jay and Daisy hype!
Sean O'Brien
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like some of the other reviewers, I am a Fitzgerald worshipper of sorts. I knew something of his life, but I was hoping that there would be some twinkle of light in his life. The stories of those whose gifts are not appreciated during their life are heartbreaking. This is magnified for someone like Fitzgerald who sought recognition so desperately. I am not entirely sure of why I give this only four stars. I suppose I had hoped to glean a sense of the workings of this great artist's mind, but tha ...more
Tom
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author probably knows more about Fitzgerald and his work than anyone else on the planet. Does that make for a good biography? If nothing else, Bruccoli sets the record straight on some popular Fitzgerald myths and legends. Certainly this is more up to date and factual than the Mizener and Trumbull books. It remains the standard Fitzgerald biography/compendium,for now.
Penny Tunnell
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Completely engrossing and so well done. This is considered the definitive bio of FSF and deservedly so. Fascinating from the first page to the last.
Spencer
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bruccoli's biography is, in my opinion, the definitive biography of FSF. And because Zelda was such an integral part of his life, Bruccoli wove the events of her life into that of Scott. Relying upon the notebooks and scrap books of the Fitzgeralds, as well as interviews with noted writers, publishers, editors, critics and other notables, Bruccoli leaves a record that is unsurpassed.

We see how Fitzgerald at a young age would write character sketches of friends and acquaintances, with the intenti

...more
Quiet
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Matthew Bruccoli's gigantic biography of Fitzgerald, "Some Sort of Epic Grandeur," has for long been the most acclaimed, most proofed, and most essential biography of the legendary American writer.

It's a very large book though; the biography itself is a little over 500 pages, while there are 200 pages of notes and sources and quite a lot of other intimidatingly authoritative components.

I've been looking at this book for a while, weary of its size, and only recently tried it---

In two days I read
...more
Susan
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
By far, the best of the F. S. F. biographies, the Bruccoli account is comprehensive, neither patronizing nor critical, and reveals that the story of Fitzgerald's life truly is, in Scott's own words, "Some sort of epic grandeur". Caught up in the Jazz Age, or perhaps partly responsible for it, Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda pursued the path of glamour, charm and celebration everywhere they went: in New York, Paris, the French Riviera and every sparkling place to be in the post WWI years, all ...more
Patrick  O'Rourke
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some sort of Epic Dissipation.

Bruccoli is not in doubt about FSF's greatest as a writer, but is unsparing in his presentation of the evidence of the causes of his decline. And it is painful to read his descent into a booze filled world of disappointment and recrimination against Zelda. Bruccoli gives us a lot of detail and sometimes the minutiae of FSF's life gets in the way of the larger themes. It reminds me of the criticism of his biography of John O'Hara's, that it was a 'data dump'. While
...more
Ryan Williams
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Fitzgerald kept a ledger for almost all his life as a professional writer, detailing how much he made, and what from. The figures lifted from it are the only things this biography has that Andrew Turnbull's superb biography does not. They're rarely interesting, and merely detail what you already knew. Fitzgerald's biggest rewards came for the least of his work. His early masterpiece 'May Day' brought in $200, while the trashy ephemera he wrote for The Saturday Evening Post brought in $4,000 a st ...more
Edward W.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
The perfect example of a well-researched biography that sticks close to the bare facts. Broccoli excels in bringing the famous American author Fitzgerald back to life with detailed recollections from as early as his Princeton years to his declining health, and self-imposed exile with Sheilah Graham. A very long literary treat that stimulates the furthest corner of curiousity, while never leaving the essential truths about an author so under appreciated today. A standard among biographies and hig ...more
Rob
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well-researched including this gem of a footnote: "The publication of A Moveable Feast resulted in public calibration of Fitzgerald's penis. Two witnesses--Arnold Gingrich, who once saw Fitzgerald with his bathrobe open, and Sheila Graham, who slept with him--attested that it was normal." -Page 275.

And Fitzgerald's postcard to himself written and posted while he was living in Hollywood made me smile and feel sad at the same time.
Bette
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Bruccoli's book is comprehensive and very readable. He is a fan but shows Fitzgerald's foolishness as a young man and his many negative characteristics as he aged and sank deeper and deeper into alcoholism. I learned a lot from reading the book--especially how truly close FSF's work is to his life and the people he knew. I don't think he's a great critic of FSF's work, but he's a good biographer.
Chip Klose
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being." Fitzgerald's own words (from THIS SIDE OF PARADISE) seem to resonate throughout his own life. His biographer paints a vivid, nuanced picture of a tortured artist. More afraid of success perhaps than he is of failure. Hands down, one of the best biographies I've ever read.
Erin
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a well-researched, comprehensive look at Fitzgerald's life. At points my interest waned, but overall it was a great biography that gave me a good sense of what Fitzgerald's life was like and what sort of man he was.
Diane
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Actually on last third. Huge bio and Bruccoli doesn't cut Fitzgerald many breaks. Broke away to read "Winter Dreams" and amazed at how the bio clarified the story. "WD" is a must read for FSF fans-major work in the "Gatsby Cluster."
Barbara Mader
Sep 23, 2007 rated it liked it
pretty good, I thought.
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Matthew Joseph Bruccoli was an American professor of English at the University of South Carolina. He was the preeminent expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald. He also wrote about writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe and John O'Hara, and was editor of the 'Dictionary of Literary Biography'.

Bruccoli's interest in Fitzgerald began in 1947 when he heard a radio broadcast of Fitzgerald's short story
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“An ardent anti-Nazi, he was excited by the outbreak of World War II---which he had been predicting---and followed the war news closely. [On F. Scott Fitzgerald]” 0 likes
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