This book displays the life of married people. Inheritance and succession issues are talked about here. This book is good for anyone who likes to explore domestic fiction.
The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner’s in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel. It explores and portrays New York café society and the American Eastern elite during the Jazz Age before and after “the Great War” and in the early 1920s. As in his other novels, Fitzgerald’s characters in this novel are complex, especially with respect to marriage and intimacy. The work is generally considered to have drawn upon and be based on Fitzgerald’s relationship and marriage with his wife Zelda Fitzgerald.
The Beautiful and Damned tells the story of Anthony Patch, a 1910s socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoon’s fortune, and his courtship and relationship with his wife Gloria Gilbert. It describes his brief service in the Army during World War I, and the couple’s post-war partying life in New York, and his later alcoholism. Gloria and Anthony’s love story is much more than just a couple falling in love. Their story deals with the hardships of a relationship, especially when each character has a tendency to be selfish. Joanna Stolarek suggests, Fitzgerald draws on “Zelda, the object of the writer’s literary passion” (Stolarek et al. 53).
Toward the end of the novel, Fitzgerald sums up the plot and his intentions in writing it somewhat, even referencing his own first novel, when a financially successful writer friend tells Anthony:
“You know these new novels make me tired. My God! Everywhere I go some silly girl asks me if I’ve read ‘This Side of Paradise’. Are our girls really like that? If it’s true to life, which I don’t believe, the next generation is going to the dogs. I’m sick of all this shoddy realism. I think there’s a place for the romanticist in literature.”
Anthony Patch: He is an heir to his grandfather’s large fortune, and is unmotivated to work, though he tries various careers. He is entranced by Gloria and falls in love with her immediately. He is drafted into the army but does not see active service. Throughout the novel he compensates for a lack of vocation with parties and increasing alcoholism. His expectations of future wealth make him powerless to act in the present.
Gloria Gilbert: A beauty who takes Anthony’s heart, breaking a heart or two along the way. She is a socialite but entertains notions of becoming an actress. Gloria is self-absorbed but loves Anthony. Her personality revolves around her beauty and a (not unjustified) belief that this makes her more important than everyone else. She simultaneously loves Anthony and hates him. Like Anthony she is incapable of being an agent in the present. In Gloria’s case it is because she cannot imagine a future beyond her first flower of beauty.
Richard “Dick” Caramel: Richard is an aspiring author, and is one of Anthony’s best friends. During the course of the book he publishes his own novel, The Demon Lover, and basks in his glory for a good amount of time after publication. He is Gloria’s cousin and is the one who brought Anthony and Gloria together.
Mr. Bloeckman: Bloeckman is a movie producer who is also in love with Gloria, and hopes she will leave Anthony for him. Gloria and Bloeckman had a relationship in the works when Gloria and Anthony were introduced. He is a friend of the family, but Gloria falls for Anthony instead. He continues to be friends with Gloria, giving Anthony some suspicion of an affair.
Dorothy “Dot” Raycroft: Dorothy is the woman that Anthony has an affair with while training for the army. She is a lost soul looking for someone to share her life with. She falls in love with Anthony despite learning that he is married, causes problems between Gloria and Anthony, and leads to decline in Anthony’s mental health.