F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories are the most critically undervalued and ignored segment of his fiction. Despite the fact that most of his short fiction has been published in various extant collections, critics nonetheless continue to focus primarily on his novels. Moreover, even when they turn their attention to Fitzgerald's stories, they tend to deal with the half dozen most frequently anthologized to the exclusion of the vast majority.
This volume presents twenty-three previously unpublished essays on Fitzgerald's "other" stories. The first section contains close readings of individual stories and ranges chronologically over his entire career--from "The Spire and the Gargoyle" (published in 1917, when Fitzgerald was at Princeton) through such early efforts as "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" (1920) and "John Jackson's Arcady" (1924) down to late stories such as "An Alcoholic Case" (1937) and "The Lost Decade" (1939). The second section includes essays on Fitzgerald's three story groups--the Basil and Josephine stories, the Count of Darkness stories, and the Pat Hobby stories.
By placing these stories within the context of Fitzgerald's total fictional achievement, this collection serves as a resource for a deepened understanding of the intensely autobiographical nature of Fitzgerald's work, offering insights into his methods of composition and his aims, both artistic and human.
The roster of contributors includes long-time Fitzgerald critics such as John Kuehl, Scott Donaldson, and Ruth Prigozy, along with distinguished critics of modern American literature such as Robert Merrill, Alan Cheuse, and James Nagel, and younger scholars like Gerald Pike and Heidi Kunz Bullock. The editor, Jackson R. Bryer, deliberately chose such a diverse group to ensure a variety of critical perspectives. The resulting volume is not the "last word" on these neglected stories; rather, these are the "first words" on stories that will now begin to receive more attention in what will be a continuing discovery of the pleasures in the full range of F. Scott Fitzgerald's fiction.