The Current Issue

May 2017, Issue 453 Lucy Wooding on the Reformation * Tim Smith-Laing on Bruegel’s debt to Bosch * Jay Parini on F Scott Fitzgerald * Alan Judd on MI5’s greatest spymaster * Jonathan Meades on spectacular architecture * Frank McLynn on Pontius Pilate * Michael Burleigh on populism * Miranda Seymour on the palazzo non finito * Tanya Harrod on the letters of Ida John * Jane O’Grady on Henry Marsh’s further memoirs * Jacob Cockcroft on Airbnb and Uber * Clair Wills on Colm Tóibín * Anthony Cummins on Hanif Kureishi * Susanna Forrest on the age of the horse *  and much, much more…

Jay Parini

Tender Is the Writer

F Scott Fitzgerald is the most irresistible of modern American writers, and readers return to his pages time and again. When Paradise Lost landed on my desk for review, I had just, over the past year, read through Fitzgerald’s major novels and stories, work I’ve known and admired for half a century. But classic literature is, in Pound’s great phrase, ‘news that stays news’, and I continue to read Fitzgerald as compulsively as I read the daily headlines. The problem with Fitzgerald has never been the work; it’s been the writing about him. The standard biography for some time has been Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, a 1981 study by Matthew J Bruccoli. It’s a reliable and boring compilation of facts, not as well written as the first major assessment of the life and work, The Far Side of Paradise by Arthur Mizener (1951)... read more

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