"The Crack-Up" was first published by New Directions in and is now being rediscovered by a new generation of readers. Compiled and edited by Edmund Wilson shortly after Fitzgerald's death, "The Crack-Up" tells the story of Fitzgerald's sudden descent at age thirty-nine from a life of success and glamor to one of emptiness and despair, and his determined recovery/5(2). The Crack Up Download The Crack Up or read The Crack Up online books in PDF, EPUB and Mobi Format. Click Download or Read Online button to get The Crack Up book now. This site is like a library, Use search box in the widget to get ebook that you want. The Crack-Up of F. Scott Fitzgerald F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Critics F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short autobiographical sketch, “The Crack-Up,” first appeared in the February issue of Esquire without advance publicity of any kind. 1 This silence is surprising in part because of the.
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Scott Fitzgerald and published in one book by New Directions Publishing. They first appeared in Esquire magazine in the s. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick — the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.
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Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation — the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. Life was something you dominated if you were any good.
Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, or to what proportion could be mustered of both.
It seemed a romantic business to be a successful literary man — you were not ever going to be as famous as a movie star but what note you had was probably longer-lived — you were never going to have the power of a man of strong political or religious convictions but you were certainly more independent. Of course within the practice of your trade you were forever unsatisfied-but I, for one, would not have chosen any other.
As the twenties passed, with my own twenties marching a little ahead of them, my two juvenile regrets — at not being big enough or good enough to play football in college, and at not getting overseas during the war — resolved themselves into childish waking dreams of imaginary heroism that were good enough to go to sleep on in restless nights.
The big problems of life seemed to solve themselves, and if the business of fixing them was difficult, it made one too tired to think of more general problems.
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Life, 10 years ago, was largely a personal matter. If I could do this through the common ills — domestic, professional and personal — then the ego would continue as an arrow shot from nothingness to nothingness with such force that only gravity would bring it to earth at last.
For seventeen years, with a year of deliberate loafing and resting out in the center — things went on like that, with a new chore only a nice prospect for the next day.
I Now a man can crack in many ways — can crack in the head — in which case the power of decision is taken from you by others! William Seabrook in an unsympathetic book tells, with some pride and a movie ending, of how he became public charge.
What led to his alcoholism or was bound up with it, was a collapse of his nervous system. Though the present writer was not so entangled — having at the time not tasted so much as a glass of beer for six months — it was his nervous reflexes that were giving way — too much anger and too many tears. Moreover, to go back to my thesis that life has a varying offensive, the realization of having cracked was not simultaneous with a blow, but with a reprieve. Not long before, I had sat in the office of a great doctor and listened to a grave sentence.
With what, in retrospect, seems some equanimity, I had gone on about my affairs in the city where I was living, not caring much, not thinking how much had been left undone, or what would become of this and that responsibility, like people do in books; I was well insured and anyhow I had been only a mediocre caretaker of most of the things left in my hands, even of my talent.
But I had a strong sudden instinct that I must be alone. I had seen so many people all my life — I was an average mixer, but more than average in a tendency to identify myself, my ideas, my destiny, with those of all classes that I came in contact with.
I was always saving or being saved — in a single morning I would go through the emotions ascribable to Wellington at Waterloo. I lived in a world of inscrutable hostiles and inalienable friends and supporters.
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But now I wanted to be absolutely alone and so arranged as certain insulation from ordinary cares. It was not an unhappy time. I went away and there were fewer people. I found I was good-and-tired.
That is the real end of the story. What was the small gift of life given back in comparison to that? I realized that in those two years, in order to preserve something — an inner hush maybe, maybe not-I had weaned myself from all the things I used to love — that every act of life from the morning tooth-brush to the friend at dinner had become an effort.
I saw that for a long time I had not liked people and things, but only followed the rickety old pretense of liking, I saw that even my love for those closest to me was become only an attempt to love, that my casual relations — with an editor, a tobacco seller, the child of a friend, were only what I remembered I should do, from other days. I slept on the heart side now because I knew that the sooner I could tire that out, even a little, the sooner would come that blessed hour of nightmare which, like a catharsis, would enable me to better meet the new day.
There were certain spots, certain faces I could look at. Like most Middle Westerners, I have never had any but the vaguest race prejudices — I had always had a secret yen for the lovely Scandinavian blondes who sat on porches in St.
This is urban, unpopular talk.
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Trying to cling to something, I liked doctors and girl children up to the age of about thirteen and well-brought-up boy children from about eight years old on. I could have peace and happiness with these few categories of people.
I forgot to add that I liked old men — men over 70, sometimes over 60 if their faces looked seasoned. Well, that, children, is the true sign of cracking up. It is not a pretty picture. Inevitably it was carted here and there within its frame and exposed to various critics.
In spite of the fact that this story is over let me append our conversation as a sort of postscript:. So she said: Listen. The world only exists in your eyes — your conception of it. You can make it as big or as small as you want to. I felt a certain reaction to what she said, but I am a slow-thinking man, and it occurred to me simultaneously that of all natural forces, vitality is the incommunicable one.
I could walk from her door, holding myself carefully like cracked crockery, and go away into the world of bitterness, where I was making a home with such materials as are found there — and quote to myself after I left her door:. But if the salt hath lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?
This excerpt is reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing. The Crack-Up by F.