Some will argue that Miller's choice for analysis of the Malcolm Cowley, "author's-final-intention" edition of Tender Is the Night, which reestablishes the novel's chronological sequence of events, is unfortunate in that this edition works against Miller's thesis.
But the issue of which Tender Is the Night is "best" has become one for critical examination in itself, and with or without his chapters on Tender Is the Nigh and The Last Tycoon, Miller's study is seminal, situating Fitzgerald as it does in the mainstream of the development of literary theory and practice.
His Trojan countrymen paid him no attention, and Athena called serpents from the sea to destroy Laocoon and his sons.
Sklar, taking Lowry's cue, suggests that Fitzgerald warned the American people against the enemy that would destroy them--the loss of "chivalry and decency"--but he, like Laocoon, was ignored and finally killed for delivering his message.
Miller establishes a context for his theories about Fitzgerald's artistic development by first clarifying his definition of the term "technique." Rejecting narrow definitions of the term as concerned simply with point of view, Miller settles on Mark Shorer's comprehensive definition: "Everything is technique which is not the lump of experience itself, and one cannot properly say that a writer has no technique or that he eschews technique, for, being a writer, he cannot do so." Miller, therefore, examines Fitzgerald's technique in broad terms of "the development of theme, point of view, and the manner of representing events." At the core of Miller's thesis is a belief that Fitzgerald's development as a writer can be followed in relation to his belief in the novel of saturation or the novel of selected incident; in effect, in terms of Fitzgerald's shifting position in the H. Wells-Henry James debate, which squarely confronts the positive and negative aspects of these theoretically different kinds of novels.
American Women Short Story Writers A Collection Of Critical Essays
Miller convincingly argues that Fitzgerald moved steadily away from the novel of saturation, of which This Side of Paradise is a good example, toward the Jamesian and Conradian novel of selected incident.Scott Fitzgerald, University of Missouri Press, 1995).Counting Eble's book and Miller's 1964 revised volume, the decade of the 1960's saw fifteen books devoted exclusively to Fitzgerald's work published in the United States, more book-length critical studies on Fitzgerald than have been published in any other single decade.Eble systematically examines the novels and the stories against the backdrop of Fitzgerald biography, finally drawing conclusions about the relative strengths of the works, particularly the novels, by new-critical standards.He typically proceeds in chronological order, though in the case of groups of stories like the Basil Duke Lee series, written in the late Twenties, his analysis comes early since these retrospective autobiographical works cast light on Fitzgerald's life as an adolescent.In the process it clearly frames the major issues for extended critical debate of the body of Fitzgerald's work.EBLE's book does what few introductory works in a series such as the Twayne Series are able to do: it provides a comprehensive overview of the canon; it breaks new ground, particularly in its stylistic analysis of major works; and it provides, as we can now see in retrospect, a blueprint for the direction of Fitzgerald studies in the three decades that follow it.You may also enjoy Favorite Short Story Collections or search The Short Story Library You may also be interested in Ready for more?You may enjoy our Favorite Short Stories Collection. Try one of these Short Short Stories, sorted to suit your mood. Scott Fitzgerald: American Novelist and Short Story Writer, Reader's Guide to Literature in English, London: Fitzroy-Dearborn, 1995, pp. Reprinted with permission of Fitzroy-Dearborn Publishers. During his lifetime only a handful of serious critics conscientiously debated Fitzgerald's artistic development, and though they were quick to point out weaknesses as well as strengths, their assessments now have the eerie feeling of prophesy in predicting the status of Fitzgerald's posthumous literary reputation and the direction of the critical response that has established it during the five decades since his death. Since 1940 there have been hundreds of journal articles, a dozen biographical studies, and more than thirty critical volumes devoted to Fitzgerald and his work. Scott Fitzgerald (1957) is the first book-length critical study devoted exclusively to Fitzgerald's work. The fifty odd years of careful scrutiny of the body of Fitzgerald's work have more than borne out the confidence of those few contemporary critics who, in his lifetime, saw for him a permanent place among the immortals of American literature.