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The Disenchanted

2012
Author:

Budd Schulberg

The Disenchanted

A moving, controversial novel that captured both the dazzling spirit and the bitter disenchantment of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age

The Disenchanted tells the tragic story of Manley Halliday, a fabulously successful writer during the 1920s who by the late 1930s is forgotten by the literary establishment. Based in part on a writing assignment between the author and F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1939, it stands as one of the most compelling and emotional evocations of generational disillusion and fallen American stardom.

[Halliday] will haunt the imagination of all who have the good fortune to be coming, for the first time, to this remarkable novel.

Anthony Burgess

Considered by some to be Budd Schulberg’s masterpiece, The Disenchanted tells the tragic story of Manley Halliday, a fabulously successful writer during the 1920s—a golden figure in a golden age—who by the late 1930s is forgotten by the literary establishment, living in Hollywood and writing for the film industry. Halliday is hired to work on a screenplay with a young writer in his twenties named Shep, who is desperate for success and idolizes Halliday. The two are sent to New York City, where a few drinks on the plane begin an epic disintegration on the part of Halliday due to the forces of alcoholism he is heroically fighting against and the powerful draw of memory and happier times. Based in part on a real-life and ill-fated writing assignment between the author and F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1939, Schulberg’s novel is at its heart a masterful depiction of Manley Halliday—at times bitter, at others sympathetic and utterly sorrowful—and The Disenchanted stands as one of the most compelling and emotional evocations of generational disillusion and fallen American stardom.

The Disenchanted

Budd Schulberg (1914–2009) was born in New York City and grew up in Hollywood, where his father was production chief of Paramount Studios and his mother a successful agent. His many novels include the classic What Makes Sammy Run? and The Harder They Fall. He received an Academy Award for his screenplay for On the Waterfront in 1954.

The Disenchanted

A living, breathing portrait so vivid you forget who sat for it . . . so valid esthetically that it transcends its corporeal origin and becomes at last a naked, tormented image of that rarely beheld being, a man.

James M. Cain, New York Times

As Fitzgeraldian as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Halliday is the very essence of ‘the lost generation.’

Library Journal

More compassionate than his previous books, The Disenchanted constitutes a sad obituary for the Fitzgerald age.

Kirkus, starred review

As sad a novel as any contemporary novelist has written, sometimes heartbreakingly so . . . a magnificently done piece of work.

San Francisco Chronicle

[Halliday] will haunt the imagination of all who have the good fortune to be coming, for the first time, to this remarkable novel.

Anthony Burgess

Schulberg has a ferocious knowledge of Hollywood, and his satiric portraits of Milgrim, the producer, and Al Harper, the agent, are sharp and amusing; so too is his rendition of Hollywood sweet-talk.

Edward Weeks, The Atlantic Monthly

A brilliant and arresting book. Manley Halliday is a magnificent portrait.

Orville Prescott, The New York Times

A captivating novel about a doomed project between two writers at opposite ends of their careers.

Out of the Past, blog

The Disenchanted

UMP blog - On Budd Schulberg's Hollywood writing assignment with F. Scott Fitzgerald

My father was a huge admirer of FSF and you could go so far as to say he was one of his literary heroes. Of course, as many others did, my father didn't even know he was still alive. That's how far FSF had fallen since his golden years during the 1920s.

My father was completely shocked when Walter Wanger told him FSF was in the next room reading his script for Winter Carnival.

My dad waited anxiously for FSF to finish reading the script and when they met he told Budd it wasn't very good. My father said, "I agree with you," and their endearing friendship began from that moment forth.

Read the full article.