What We’re Reading Today: The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English
“The Beautiful and Damned” is a classic 1922 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, which features a recurring theme of works, the excess and profligacy of the Jazz Ara.
The book is Fitzgerald’s second novel, set in 1920s Prohibition-era New York City, which tells the story of Anthony Patch, a Harvard-educated trust fund socialite, and his nonconformist wife and rebel Gloria Gilbert.
Patch’s close friend from Harvard, Richard Caramel, introduces him to Gilbert, who sees an infatuation slowly becoming an obsession for his vanity and recklessness.
The young couple fall prey to primal human instincts in an endless frenzy of bacchanalian hedonism.
Patch is an orphan, albeit heir to his grandfather’s wealth, but finds himself left out of the will due to his lack of purpose and direction.
The couple’s pleasure-seeking behavior backfires as the Great War ensues and they find themselves on the verge of poverty.
The book challenges the couple’s idleness and morality, as their friends succeed in life as they descend into decadence and decadence; their lavish lifestyle wears off and feuds set in as their finances deteriorate.
Due to their poverty, Gilbert tries to become an actress, but is rejected for her age, and Patch is drafted into the army as the United States enters the war.
Fitzgerald’s association with expatriate artists after World War I caused him to coin the phrase “lost generation” in reference to the post-war lack of direction and meaningless wandering of his youth.