Babylon revisited, and other stories

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Other authorsF. Scott Fitzgerald
Hardcover, 1971




New York : Scribners, 1971.


Written between 1920 and 1937, when F. Scott Fitzgerald was at the height of his creative powers, these ten lyric tales represent some of the author's finest fiction. In them, Fitzgerald creates vivid, timeless characters -- a dissatisfied southern belle seeking adventure in the north; the tragic hero of the title story who lost more than money in the stock market; giddy and dissipated young men and women of the interwar period. From the lazy town of Tarleton, Georgia, to the glittering cosmopolitan centers of New York and Paris, Fitzgerald brings the society of the "Lost Generation" to life in these masterfully crafted gems, showcasing the many gifts of one of our most popular writers.

User reviews

LibraryThing member DameMuriel
"Babylon Revisited" is a ghost story. And the best short story ever written. I am not kidding! I would never do that.
There's this beautiful bit about how the guy imagines his dead wife on a swing, swinging faster and faster, like a pendulum, and it makes it seem as if time is going faster and
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faster, which it is. No more bull market. This guy loses everything in the end. This always seems to happen to Fitzgerald’s characters, poor kittens.
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LibraryThing member Coffeehag
"The Ice Palace" This work juxtaposes two opposing cultures against each other from the perspective of a warm-hearted southern girl who becomes engaged to a northerner. Sally Carrol feels an energy inside her that is not present in the friends with whom she grew up. She seeks to fulfill this side
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of her by getting engaged to an ambitious northerner. When she takes the train to visit him in the winter, she is thrilled to play the winter games she sees the children engaging in, but is put off by the "cold" personalities around her. She comes to realize that her fiancees family are only humoring her in arranging for her to go sledding and play in the snow - these games are just for kids. Her fiancee is enthusiastic about seeing the "Ice Palace" that hasn't been erected since 1885. Sally Carrol finds this information ominous, expecting the icy halls to be filled with the ghosts of bygone eras. Sally Carrol becomes trapped in the tunnels beneath the ice palace, unable to find her way out int he labyrinth, and truly sees a ghost.

"May Day" Philip Dean is happy at first to hear from his old college buddy, Gordon Sterrett, but, when he finds out that Gordon has fallen upon bad times, his instincts are to recoil as the sob story threatens to spoil his vacation. Gordon wants money to pay off a girl who is blackmailing him, but Philip is unwilling to part with that much money. Instead, he takes Gordon out to a party where Gordon sees his old girlfriend who is in love with him. She is appalled to see the change in Gordon, now drunk and despondent. The blackmailing girl picks Gordon up outside the party and things only get worse.

"The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" John T. Unger goes off to college for the first time because his parents are proud of him and don't want him to be stuck in small-town Hades. John spends most of his vacations with friends. One of them invites him to stay for summer vacation. On the way there, Percy Washington tells him that his father is the richest man in America - why, he even has a diamond as big as the Ritz hotel. Percy's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before him have managed to keep the Montana estate off the maps and totally secret. Once there, John meets the girl of his dreams, but, when she accidentally lets it slip that none of their friends make it off the estate alive, John needs to find a way out fast. This story represents the family's wealth as an evil influence, corrupting their moral integrity until they will do anything to hold onto their secret mines and money.

"Winter Dreams" Dexter Green is a fourteen-year-old golf caddy when he first sees Judy Jones. A chance encounter with her leads him to the sudden idea that he is too old to caddy anymore and immediately quits. Dexter is a successful owner of a laundry business when he sees Judy again. She turns his world upside down, but only for a few weeks, and then he discovers that she keeps any number of men dangling. When he finally realizes he cannot have Judy, he becomes engaged to someone else, but Judy comes back into his life, saying: "I wish you'd marry me." Dexter is caught up in his emotions, about to wreck his engagement for the chance to be with Judy. But Dexter's world only disintegrates when he realizes that Judy's beauty was only temporary.

"Absolution" Rudolph Miller is a typical boy entering his teens, with typical unholy thoughts. He avoids the confessional until his father bullies him into going. While he is there, confessing the sins he dreads to confess, he commits the mortal sin of lying during confession! Rudolph is terrified to take communion the next day with this unconfessed sin damning his immortal soul. He tries the subterfuge of "accidentally" drinking water the next morning, thereby making himself unfit for taking the Holy elements, but his father catches him in the act before he has had a chance to take a sip. When his father sends him to confession again, Rudolph rebels and confesses none of the egregious sins that stain his soul. Later, he tremblingly walks into the priest's office to tell him of his horrible behavior, but the priest's reaction is wholly unexpected, and sends the boy running from the room.
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LibraryThing member IonaS
Charlie Wales is back in Paris, here to see his little daughter, Honoria.

Charlie has apparently been an alcoholic and a profligate, but now only takes one drink every afternoon.

He remembers giving thousand-franc notes to an orchestra to play a single number and tossing hundred-franc notes to a
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doorman for calling a cab.

His wife had died and his daughter had been taken from him.

Honoria now lives with Aunt Marion and Uncle Lincoln – later we learn that Marion is his late wife Helen’s sister.

When Charlie sees Honoria, she says that she wants to live with him, since she loves him better than anybody else, and know that he loves her better than anybody else, now that Mummy’s dead.

Later, Charlie tells Marion that he wants to have a home with Honoria in it, He admits that he has previously acted badly but now hasn’t had more than a drink a day for over a year.

He is bringing his sister over from the US to keep house for him and he wants awfully to have Honoria with them too.

Charlie had once previously locked Helen out when it was raining and she came to Marion and Lincoln’s house soaked to the skin.

Marion has legal guardianship of Honoria and Charlie wants her to set this aside.

Marion dislikes Charlie greatly.

He lives in Prague, where he has a business. He will take a French governess to Prague with him and has got a lease on a new apartment.

His income is twice as large as Marion and Lincoln’s.

Helen dies of heart trouble, though Marion thinks Charlie was responsible for her death.

Marion finally says “Do what you like. She’s your child.”

Charlie had loved Helen very much until they had “senselessly begun to abuse each other’s love, tear it into shreds”.

He talks to Helen as one can talk to someone who has passed on, and she says she wants Honoria to be with him. She thinks he is being good and doing better.

He wakes up happy. But he mustn’t love Honoria too much ; he knows the injury a father can do to a daughter or a mother to a son by attaching them too closely.

We see how Charlie really loves his daughter and she loves him and how he has turned his life around and thus is capable of looking after her properly. He is sure Helen wouldn’t have wanted him to be so alone.

This is a simple, well-told and enjoyable story, apparently partly autobiographical.
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