In 1929 F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote Ernest Hemingway that because his short stories now earned $4000 a pop he was "an old whore" who had "mastered the 40 positions" when "in her youth one was enough." But were the upwards of 180 stories he cranked out when not writing The Great Gatsby really the work of a literary prostitute selling out his talent for a fast buck? Kirk Curnutt and Robert Trogdon don't think so. Each episode they draw a random title from a hat and explore its place in Fitzgerald's career, in the magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post or Esquire where it may have appeared, and in the overall development of the American short story. Along the way, they talk literary politics, history, and gossip from the 1920s and 1930s, rediscovering the lively personalities and rivalries that tried to define the porous boundaries between commercial and artistic fiction, between the popular and the avant-garde, between the forgotten and the canonized.
Most fans agree that "May Day" is among Fitzgerald's all-time greatest stories: certainly Top 10, arguably Top 5, quite possibly No. 2 behind only "Babylon Revisited." Some might even argue that this ambitious "novelette," first published in The Smart...
I Got Shoes
Our second episode looks at one of the most obscure of Fitzgerald's 178 stories, "I Got Shoes." Published in 1933, this eighth-to-last of the author's 60+ contributions to The Saturday Evening Post tells the story of a proud actress, Nell Margery, who...
The Lees of Happiness
As F. Scott Fitzgerald's debut novel, This Side of Paradise, becomes a Jazz Age rage in 1920, the Chicago Tribune invites the twenty-three-year-old writer to contribute an original short story to its Blue Ribbon Fiction Sunday section. The result is...