"Tender is the Night" and F. Scott Fitzgerald's Sentimental Identities (3rd)
By: Christian K. Messenger (author)Hardback
1 - 2 weeks availability
In this fascinating study, Chris Messenger posits F. Scott Fitzgerald as a great master of sentiment in modern American fiction. Sentimental forms both attracted and repelled Fitzgerald while defining his deepest nature in prose. Messenger demonstrates that the sentimental identities, refractions, and influences Fitzgerald explores in Tender Is the Night define key components in his affective life that evolved into a powerful aesthetic, which underwrote his stature as a major novelist. In "Tender Is the Night" and F. Scott Fitzgerald's Sentimental Identities , Messenger traces the roots of Fitzgerald's writing career to the deaths of his two infant sisters, a few months before his own birth. It was their loss, Fitzgerald wrote, that made him a writer. Messenger highlights how the loss of his siblings powerfully molded his writer's relation to maternal nurturing and sympathy as well as shaped the homosocial intimations visible in the care-giving protagonist of Tender Is the Night , psychiatrist Dick Diver. A concomitant grief and mourning was articulated and fueled by Fitzgerald's intimate and writerly battle with his often-institutionalized wife, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.
While sentiment is a discredited strain in high modernism, Fitzgerald nevertheless embraced it in Tender Is the Night to articulate this most poignant and beautiful successor to The Great Gatsby . Fitzgerald's aesthetic and emotional preoccupations came most vividly to life in this major novel. Messenger depicts how Fitzgerald, creating his character Nicole Warren Diver as a victim of paternal incest, finally found the sentimental key to finishing his novel and uniting his vision of the two narratives of "saving" the two sisters and reimagining the agony of his wife and their marriage. Fitzgerald's productive quarrel with and through sentiment brilliantly authorizes his career and Messenger convincingly argues that Tender Is the Night should be placed alongside The Great Gatsby as a classic novel.
Chris Messenger is the author of two books on sport and play in American fiction as well as The Godfather and American Culture: How the Corleones Became "Our Gang" (2002). He is professor emeritus of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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- ID: 9780817318536
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