quinta-feira, 23 de abril de 2015
Flappers and Philosophers
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
On the whole, "Flappers and Philosophers" represents the triumph of form over matter, just as, on the whole, Mr. Fitzgerald's novel, "This Side of Paradise," represented the triumph of matter over form. As in his previous book, Mr. Fitzgerald deals with the adolescents of America. But his eight short stories range the gamut of style and mood with a brilliance, a jeu perle, so to speak, which is not to be found in the novel. Therefore, with his first book running to the ranks of best sellers with a seventh edition, there is no telling what good fortune awaits this volume of excellent short stories-a form more to the liking of the American people than the novel.
It is fortunate that Mr. Fitzgerald begins his "set of eight" with his most romantic story, "The Offshore Pirate," for if the reader safely pulls out of the pirate's reach he can weather the remainder of the book with plain sailing and huge enjoyment. Mr. Fitzgerald realizes the nature of his story, however. He knows what he is about, and his first three words, "This unlikely story," show this plainly.
Probably the best stories of the octet are "Head and Shoulders," The Cut Glass Bowl," "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" and "Benediction." That Mr. Fitzgerald realized this when he flanked them with two others at each end seems more than likely. If a choice may be made between stories so different in character it is to "Benediction," then, that the choice falls. Here, it seems, Mr. Fitzgerald has most finely fused the best of the Russian school which he irradiates, with the O. Henry tinge which may be observed in almost all his stories. "The Cut Glass Bowl" perhaps shows more unity and skill in construction, but at the same time more artifice and less art. "Benediction," for power to move, for real feeling, is easily the first. "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" has the O. Henry whip snap on the end and "Head and Shoulders" displays a reverse twist of which that master can boast no better.
Not the most superficial reader can fail to recognize Mr. Fitzgerald's talent and genius. So far as seriousness is concerned, no one appreciates the value of the Russian school better than he himself. The ingenuity which marks his works he may consider a necessity in American fiction today. It is the blatant tone of levity which runs through his work that almost drowns out the perception of this literary substance. But its overtones are unmistakable. Mr. Fitzgerald is working out an idiom, and it is an idiom at once universal, American and individual.
Posted by Francisco Augusto Vaz Brasil at 19:57