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F. Scott Fitzgerald in Montana
January 24, 2008 11:22 PM   Subscribe

In July 1915, a fresh-faced young man got off a train and presented himself at a working cattle-and-sheep ranch on the North Fork of the Smith River, a few miles outside of White Sulphur Springs, Montana. He was slender—about 5'8," 150 pounds—and arrestingly handsome, with champagne-colored hair and blue-green eyes. He carried himself so lightly on the balls of his feet that his wife later wrote, "There seemed to be some heavenly support beneath his shoulder blades that lifted his feet from the ground in ecstatic suspension, as if he secretly enjoyed the ability to fly but was walking as a compromise to convention." The ranch hands must have been astonished at the sight. F. Scott Fitzgerald had arrived in Montana.
Fitzgerald wrote but one story set in Montana, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, but what a doozy of a story.
posted by Kattullus (15 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
He was a fucking toe-walker?
posted by oncogenesis at 11:26 PM on January 24, 2008


Here's an interview with Fitzgerald taken when he's 40. It's pretty harrowing.
posted by Kattullus at 11:27 PM on January 24, 2008


uh-oh.... what's the trouble with being a toe-walker?
posted by alexei at 11:52 PM on January 24, 2008


My absolute favorite Fitzgerald short, so I hate to bring it up - has this fallen under public domain?
posted by item at 12:20 AM on January 25, 2008


"...the prophecy of the unattainable dream..." If the original short story is still too long for your postmodern attention span, Jimmy Buffett brings you the Cliff's Notes on a warm summer breeze.
posted by strike3 at 1:49 AM on January 25, 2008


i always wanted to see that story as a hollywood movie. it's so over-the-top that nothing hollywood could do would ruin it.
posted by geos at 3:35 AM on January 25, 2008


"...but what a doozy of a story. "

Applies equally well to just about every Fitzgerald story.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:09 AM on January 25, 2008


item: My absolute favorite Fitzgerald short, so I hate to bring it up - has this fallen under public domain?

It was published in 1922 which makes it public domain.
posted by Kattullus at 4:53 AM on January 25, 2008


Excellent post, Kat!
"The Twenty-One Balloons" by William Pene Du Bois is another great little gem with remarkably similar themes, written some 25 years later, in 1947.
Du Bois always swore he was unaware of Fitzgerald's story, and was quite ashamed of how closely his plot mirrored Fitz's.
Du Bois' agents subsequently packaged the story as a children's book, perhaps to assuage the notably litigious folks at Charles Scribner, Fitzgerald's home...
posted by Dizzy at 4:56 AM on January 25, 2008


I read Diamond As Big As The Ritz as a kid and loved it. Thanks for a nice Friday morning surprise.
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:59 AM on January 25, 2008


Kattullus, I couldn't finish that interview. Sometimes, even when you know the ending you just don't want to watch it happen.
posted by tommasz at 5:05 AM on January 25, 2008


Dizzy writes "'The Twenty-One Balloons' by William Pene Du Bois"

Odd. I remember reading that story years ago, but for some reason always thought it had been a Roald Dahl story. In retrospect it seems like something he might have written. Now I want to read it again.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:29 AM on January 25, 2008


I read The Diamond as Big as the Ritz again this morning and I was struck by its Lovecraftyness. Change the diamond mountain to Shub-Niggurath, the Goat with a Thousand Young, and we'd have ourselves the plot of an H. P. Lovecraft story.
posted by Kattullus at 7:55 AM on January 25, 2008


Kattullus,
That interview is extraordinary.

For all the obvious skill and polish of the writer, it's almost got a newsreel flicker of something terribly fragile and captured by a bleak sort of luck.

(Thanks.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:03 AM on January 25, 2008


Reminds me of... Will Self's The Rock of Crack as Big as the Ritz (nytimes, login likely required. )
posted by shoepal at 10:46 PM on January 26, 2008


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