Careless People

Careless People

Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby

eBook - 2014
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" Tracing the genesis of a masterpiece, a Fitzgerald scholar follows the novelist as he begins work on The Great Gatsby. The autumn of 1922 found F. Scott Fitzgerald at the height of his fame, days from turning twenty-six years old, and returning to New York for the publication of his fourth book, Tales of the Jazz Age. A spokesman for America's carefree younger generation, Fitzgerald found a home in the glamorous and reckless streets of New York. Here, in the final incredible months of 1922, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald drank and quarreled and partied amid financial scandals, literary milestones, car crashes, and celebrity disgraces. Yet the Fitzgeralds' triumphant return to New York coincided with another event: the discovery of a brutal double murder in nearby New Jersey, a crime made all the more horrible by the farce of a police investigation-which failed to accomplish anything beyond generating enormous publicity for the newfound celebrity participants. Proclaimed the "crime of the decade" even as its proceedings dragged on for years, the Mills-Hall murder has been wholly forgotten today. But the enormous impact of this bizarre crime can still be felt in The Great Gatsby, a novel Fitzgerald began planning that autumn of 1922 and whose plot he ultimately set within that fateful year. Careless People is a unique literary investigation: a gripping double narrative that combines a forensic search for clues to an unsolved crime and a quest for the roots of America's best loved novel. Overturning much of the received wisdom of the period, Careless People blends biography and history with lost newspaper accounts, letters, and newly discovered archival materials. With great wit and insight, acclaimed scholar of American literature Sarah Churchwell reconstructs the events of that pivotal autumn, revealing in the process new ways of thinking about Fitzgerald's masterpiece. Interweaving the biographical story of the Fitzgeralds with the unfolding investigation into the murder of Hall and Mills, Careless People is a thrilling combination of literary history and murder mystery, a mesmerizing journey into the dark heart of Jazz Age America"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, The Penguin Press,, 2014.
ISBN: 9780698151635
0698151631
1594204748
9781594204746
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxv, 399 pages)
Contents: Guest List
Preface
Prologue: 1924
September 1922. Chapter one: Glamour of Rumsies and Hitchcoks; Chapter two: Ash Heaps. Memory of 125th. Gt Neck
October 1922. Chapter three: Goddards. Dwanns Swopes; Chapter four: Vegetable Days in New York. Memory of Ginevra's Wedding
November 1922. Chapter five: The Meeting all an invention. Mary; Chapter six: Bob Kerr's Story. The 2nd Party
December 1922-December 1924. Chapter seven: The Day in New York; Chapter eight: The Murder (inv.)
1925-1940. Chapter nine: Funeral an invention
Envoi: The Orgastic Future.
Summary: " Tracing the genesis of a masterpiece, a Fitzgerald scholar follows the novelist as he begins work on The Great Gatsby. The autumn of 1922 found F. Scott Fitzgerald at the height of his fame, days from turning twenty-six years old, and returning to New York for the publication of his fourth book, Tales of the Jazz Age. A spokesman for America's carefree younger generation, Fitzgerald found a home in the glamorous and reckless streets of New York. Here, in the final incredible months of 1922, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald drank and quarreled and partied amid financial scandals, literary milestones, car crashes, and celebrity disgraces. Yet the Fitzgeralds' triumphant return to New York coincided with another event: the discovery of a brutal double murder in nearby New Jersey, a crime made all the more horrible by the farce of a police investigation-which failed to accomplish anything beyond generating enormous publicity for the newfound celebrity participants. Proclaimed the "crime of the decade" even as its proceedings dragged on for years, the Mills-Hall murder has been wholly forgotten today. But the enormous impact of this bizarre crime can still be felt in The Great Gatsby, a novel Fitzgerald began planning that autumn of 1922 and whose plot he ultimately set within that fateful year. Careless People is a unique literary investigation: a gripping double narrative that combines a forensic search for clues to an unsolved crime and a quest for the roots of America's best loved novel. Overturning much of the received wisdom of the period, Careless People blends biography and history with lost newspaper accounts, letters, and newly discovered archival materials. With great wit and insight, acclaimed scholar of American literature Sarah Churchwell reconstructs the events of that pivotal autumn, revealing in the process new ways of thinking about Fitzgerald's masterpiece. Interweaving the biographical story of the Fitzgeralds with the unfolding investigation into the murder of Hall and Mills, Careless People is a thrilling combination of literary history and murder mystery, a mesmerizing journey into the dark heart of Jazz Age America"-- Provided by publisher.

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FederalWayEdna Jun 19, 2015

Albeit a bit slow reading for me, this was an interesting biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald showing the effects of the era of "loose" living during America's prohibition period (Jazz Age) along with the lack of investigative sophistication of police work and the new mass-media style of reporting a 1922 murder that is remarkably similar to Fitzgerald's Gatsby. More interesting were the numerous words and terms that were created and that we still use today.

k
KarenW
Aug 04, 2014

There are not many books that so perfectly capture the term non fiction that reads like fiction and this is one! Not only does it capture the time period of the 1920s, it also brings to light many details and indescrepencies that exist about the Fitzgerald novel. And this only broadens my admiration for one of the most stunningly beautiful and insightful books ever written. Then to find a book that also gives such insight and detail to this era where so many rapid changes where taking place and where the media's perception of the cold blooded crime of murder was coming into focus is truly like finding a treasure.

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