Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fitzgerald a GKC Friend?

A collection of the letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald shows a number of references to Chesterton as the writer struggled in 1917 with his unsuccessful first draft of This Side of Paradise. He wrote Edmund Wilson that the novel "shows traces of Chesterton," and that he put "Barrie and Chesterton above anyone except Wells." Fitzgerald complained to biographer Shane Leslie of "gloomy, half-twilight realism," asking "Where are the novels of five years ago?" Fitzgerald included Chesterton's Manalive on his approved novel list, and also confided to Leslie that he was planning to quote some Chesterton gibberish on his new novel's title page ("Highty-ighty, tiddly-ighty, tiddley-ighty, ow!" from The Club of Queer Trades). [A Life in Letters, Edited by Mat-thew Bruccoli, Scribner's 1994, pp. 12-20]

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