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The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Secret Boyhood Diary

2013
Author:

The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Brings to light F. Scott Fitzgerald’s boyhood St. Paul diary

When F. Scott Fitzgerald was fourteen and living in St. Paul, he began keeping a short diary of his exploits among his friends, friendly rivals, and crushes. The Thoughtbook includes a new introduction by Dave Page that covers the history and provenance of the diary, its meaning in Fitzgerald’s literary development, and what it says about Fitzgerald’s life and writing process.

The Thoughtbook is a fascinating document. You can see the social analyst, the novelist of manners, just beginning to develop.

James L. W. West III, General Editor, Cambridge Fitzgerald Edition

When F. Scott Fitzgerald was fourteen and living in the Crocus Hill neighborhood of St. Paul, he began keeping a short diary of his exploits among his friends, friendly rivals, and crushes. He gave the journal a title page—Thoughtbook of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald of St. Paul Minn. U.S.A.—and kept it securely locked in a box under his bed. He would later use The Thoughtbook as the basis for “The Book of Scandal” in his Basil Lee Duke stories, and brief sections were copied over the years for use by scholars and even published in Life magazine.

“Are you going to the Ordways’? the Herseys’? the Schultzes’?” Here, for the first time, is a complete transcription of this charming, twenty-seven-page diary highlighting Fitzgerald’s escapades among the children of some of St. Paul’s most influential families—models for the families described in The Great Gatsby. Presented in a simple format for both scholars and general readers alike, The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald includes a new introduction by Dave Page that covers the history and provenance of the diary, its place and meaning in Fitzgerald’s literary development, and its revelations about his life and writing process.

One of the earliest known works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Thoughtbook provides a unique glimpse of Fitzgerald as a young boy and his social circle as they played among the grand homes of Summit Avenue, making up games, starting secret societies, competing with rivals, and (at all times) staying up-to-date on who exactly is vying for whose attention.

The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and spent much of his youth living in the Crocus Hill neighborhood. He went on to become one of the most famous American novelists of the twentieth century, often drawing on his youthful experiences in St. Paul in his stories and novels.

Dave Page is the coauthor of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: Toward the Summit and coeditor of The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, both of which were nominated for Minnesota Book Awards.

The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Thoughtbook is a fascinating document. You can see the social analyst, the novelist of manners, just beginning to develop.

James L. W. West III, General Editor, Cambridge Fitzgerald Edition

The adolescent diary of F. Scott Fitzgerald offers a charming and revealing inside view of the writer’s youth.

Star Tribune

Indeed, what makes the Thoughtbook so extraordinary is the absolute earnestness with which young Scott observes his life as it unfolds, full of self-awareness but free of the self-consciousness by which most adult writers are chronically afflicted. Slim as it may be, The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Secret Boyhood Diary is infinitely delightful and highly recommended.

Brain Pickings

The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Contents

Introduction
Dave Page

The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Modern Transcription of the Thoughtbook

Photographs

Afterword
Dave Page