He is widely acclaimed as being one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, but little has been known about his own personal choice of literature – until now.
A list containing 22 books that F. Scott Fitzgerald thought were essential reading has just come to light, which the author of The Great Gatsby dictated to his nurse while convalescing in a North Carolina hotel in 1936.
The hard-drinking Fitzgerald was battling alcoholism, and struggling financially.
His wife Zelda had recently been admitted to the nearby psychiatric Highland Hospital in Asheville.
It was a dark time for the 40-year-old.
Esquire had recently published his essay The Crack Up, in which he stated ‘my life had been a drawing on resources that I did not possess, that I had been mortgaging myself physically and spiritually up to the hilt.’
That summer he had fractured his shoulder while diving into the hotel swimming pool.
According to Michael Cody, at the University of South Carolina’s Fitzgerald’s website, he had also fired a revolver in a suicide threat.
It was after this incident that the hotel where he was staying in Asheville, the Grove Park Inn, refused to let him continue living there unless he had a nurse to look after him.