Women in Fitzgerald's Fiction

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Contribution to Books

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F. Scott Fitzgerald is best known as a chronicler of the 1920s and as the writer who, more than any other, identified, delineated, and popularized the female representative of that era, the flapper. Though it is an overstatement to say that Fitzgerald created the flapper, he did, with a considerable assistance from his wife Zelda, offer the public an image of a modern young woman who was spoiled, sexually liberated, self-centered, fun-loving, and magnetic. In Fitzgerald's mind, this young woman represented a new philosophy of romantic individualism, rebellion, and liberation, and his earliest writings enthusiastically present her as an embodiment of these new values. Although she is often seen now as a mere fashion of the bygone Jazz Age, the flapper should be regarded as one of the great authentic characters in American history. A virtual emblem of American modernity, she and all she stood for were envied, desired, feared, and emulated throughout much of the Western world, and it was Fitzgerald's particular version of the flapper that "women imitated for more than four decades" (Solomon, Ain't We Got Fun?, 22).

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