Fitzgerald's Last Pages

While F. Scott Fitzgerald was working on a new novel on December 21, 1940, he suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 44. He left behind his novel-in-progress, The Last Tycoon. Although the published manuscript exhibits the power of Fitzgerald's prose and it reveals a new direction in his work, it is not complete. Most obviously in that only 6 of the planned 9-plus chapters are present, but also because, knowing the outlined vision and the work-in-progress nature of the storytelling, gaps in pace are still discernible.

That said, it is an engrossing read. Fitzgerald's power with characterization and economy of description are compelling, even 65 years - a World War, television, the Beat Generation, rock 'n roll, the British Invasion,Truffaut's New Wave, Watergate, Panavision, VHS, Spielberg, Lucas, DVD, the Internet, YouTube, Twitter - later.

Producer Monroe Stahr is a significant contribution to Fitzgerald's stable of literary characters. And the sense of the day-in, day-out Hollywood motion picture industry culture  he recreates on the pages is accurate in terms of my own experience of life and work on the Warner Brothers and Sony lots.

Considering the half-life of most novels, the fact that The Last Tycoon (Scribner's) remains in print nearly seventy years after the author last touched pencil to paper suggests this work has enduring literary merit.

Writer's NotesThe Last Tycoon (1969 Hardcover)

The NOTES section at the back of this edition read like a graduate seminar.

Rewrite from mood. Has become stilted with rewriting. Don't look [at previous draft]. Rewrite from mood.

There are chapter specific notes.  For example, the following note on "the episode with the director at the beginning of this chapter:..."

What is missing in Ridingwood scene is passion and imagination, etc.  What an extraordinary thing that it should all have been there for Ridingwood and then not there.

The Outlines are case studies of how to envision and re-envision story.