Talk:F. Scott Fitzgerald

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I'm not sure where to put this but I thought it a good one. I got it from his letter to a Radcliffe student. p39 of What If? Writing Exercises for fiction writers, college edition: second edition, bernays, anne; Paineter, pamela; Pearson Longman 2004

Here is the quote:

"You've got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes to learn. When in short, you have only your emotions to sell."

if someone would place this properly that would be cool.

-dan Thanks dan

The attributed quotes has one that is from Tender Is The Night. The quote "Either you think -- or else others have to think for you..." is from that book. Not attributed.


  • "'Perhaps I can guess the other one,' she said; and reaching up on her tiptoes she kissed him softly in the illustration."
  • "Here was a new generation, a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success, grown up to find all gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths to man shaken."
  • "There seemed little doubt about what was going to happen. America was going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history."
  • "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
  • "I was the spark that lit up Flaming Youth, Colleen Moore was the torch. What little things we are to have caused all that trouble."
  • "There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice."
  • "Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy."
  • "Then I was drunk for many years, and then I died." —The Crack-Up, self-referential
  • "First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."

The following quotation is from The Rich Boy:

  • "I don’t think he was ever happy unless some one was in love with him, responding to him like filings to a magnet, helping him to explain himself, promising him something. What it was I do not know. Perhaps they promised that there would always be women in the world who would spend their brightest, freshest, rarest hours to nurse and protect that superiority he cherished in his heart."

The following quotations are from The Great Gatsby:

  • "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
  • " my father snobbishly suggested and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth."
  • "Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known"
  • "They are a rotten crowd," I shouted across the lawn. "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."
  • "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"
  • "The poor son of a bitch."
  • "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . . ."
  • "Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And one fine morning——— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

The Following quotation is from the short story Winter Dreams:

  • "He wanted not association with glittering things and glittering people — he wanted the glittering things themselves."

The following quotation is from Fitzgerald's fifth and final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon:

  • "Writers aren't people exactly. Or, if they're any good, they're a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person."

The following quotations are from Tender Is the Night:

  • "Somehow Dick and Nicole had become one and equal, not opposite and complementary; she was Dick too, the drought in the marrow of his bones. He could not watch her disintegrations without participating in them."
  • "But the brilliance, the versatility of madness is akin to the resourcefulness of water seeping through, over, and around a dyke. It requires the united front of many people to work against it."
  • "He supposed many men meant no more than that when they said they were in love - not a wild submergance of soul, a dipping of all colours into an obscuring dye, such as his love for Nicole had been."
  • "She felt the nameless fear which precedes all emotions, joyous or sorrowful, inevitably as a hum of thunder precedes a storm."

Ernest Hemingway once said of F. Scott Fitzgerald:

"His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings"

Hemingway is responsible for a famous misquotation of Fitzgerald's. According to Hemingway, a conversation between him and Fitzgerald went:

Fitzgerald: The rich are different from you and me.
Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

This never actually happened; it is a retelling of an actual encounter between Hemingway and Mary Colum, which went as follows:

Hemingway: I am getting to know the rich.
Colum: I think you’ll find the only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money.

The full quotation is found in Fitzgerald's words in his short story "The Rich Boy" (1926), paragraph 3: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand."


You may have heard about a legendary exchange between the American novelists F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) and Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961).

Usually, Fitzgerald is quoted as saying: “The rich are different from you and me.” And, Hemingway is quoted as responding: “Yes, they have more money."

In fact, this is a mythical quote-counterquote. Here’s how it became a legend…

In 1925, Fitzgerald wrote a short story titled “Rich Boy.” It was later published in a popular book of his short stories titled All the Sad Young Men (1936). The story begins with this passage:

"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."

Clearly, that’s not a favorable view of the rich.

But years later, Ernest Hemingway, who was supposedly a friend of Fitzgerald, mocked the famed opening lines of “Rich Boy” in his short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” In the original version of that story, printed in Esquire magazine in 1936, Hemingway wrote: “The rich...were dull and they drank too much, or they played too much backgammon. They were dull and they were repetitious. He remembered poor Scott Fitzgerald and his romantic awe of them and how he had started a story once that began, “The very rich are different from you and me.” And how some one had said to Scott, Yes, they have more money. But that was not humorous to Scott. He thought they were a special glamorous race and when he found they weren't it wrecked him as much as any other thing that wrecked him.”

Understandably, Fitzgerald was offended. He complained to Hemingway’s publisher and when the story was reprinted in a 1938 collection of Hemingway’s short stories, “Scott Fitzgerald” was changed to the name “Julian.”

But in his personal notebooks, Fitzgerald made the mistake of writing a cryptic entry that said: “They have more money. (Ernest’s wisecrack.)”

After Fitzgerald’s death, entries from his notebooks were included in The Crack-Up (1945), a book compiled from Fitzgerald’s writings by his friend Edmund Wilson.

Wilson added a footnote to the notebook entry about Ernest’s wisecrack that explained: “Fitzgerald had said, ‘The rich are different from us.’ Hemingway had replied, ‘Yes, they have more money.’”

After that, books began citing this footnote as if it were an actual conversation between Fitzgerald and Hemingway. And, thus a famous quote-counterquote myth was born.


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to F. Scott Fitzgerald. --Antiquary 18:37, 8 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Advertising is a racket, like the movies and the brokerage business. You cannot be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero.
  • An unread book is just a block of paper.
  • A series of scenes put in a particular order designed to leave the viewer with no choice but to feel one particular way.
    • On the art of moviemaking
  • At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide.
    • "Bernice Bobs Her Hair"
  • Baseball is a game played by idiots for morons.
  • First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.
  • Forgotten is forgiven.
  • Genius goes around the world in its youth incessantly apologizing for having large feet. What wonder that later in life it should be inclined to raise those feet too swiftly to fools and bores.
  • Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind.
  • He was one of those men who comes in a door and make any woman with them look guilty.
  • Riding in a taxi one afternoon between very tall buildings under a mauve and rosy sky; I began to bawl because I had everything I wanted and knew I would never be so happy again
  • I was the spark that lit up Flaming Youth, Colleen Moore was the torch. What little things we are to have caused all that trouble.
  • If you're strong enough, there are no precedents.
  • It is in the thirties that we want friends. In the forties we know they won't save us any more than love did.
  • Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.
  • No such thing as a man willing to be honest — that would be like a blind man willing to see.
  • Nothing is as obnoxious as other people's luck.
  • Nothing is beneath you if it is in the direction of your life.
  • Often people display a curious respect for a man drunk, rather like the respect of simple races for the insane... There is something awe-inspiring in one who has lost all inhibitions.
  • See that little stream, we could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a whole month to walk to it, a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind. And another empire walked very slowly backward a few inches a day, leaving the dead like a million bloody rugs.
  • She's got to be a loyal, frank person if she's got to bitch everyone in the world to do it.
  • Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.
  • The compensation of a very early success is a conviction that life is a romantic matter. In the best sense, one stays young.
  • The rhythm of the weekend, with its birth, its planned gaieties, and its announced end, followed the rhythm of life and was a substitute for it.
  • The world, as a rule, does not live on beaches and in country clubs.
  • There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination.
  • There are no second acts in American lives.
  • Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.
  • Young people do not perceive at once that the giver of wounds is the enemy and the quoted tattle merely the arrow.
  • At the heart of every great fortune lies a great crime.