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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Short Fiction

From Ragtime to Swing Time

Jade Broughton Adams

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A revisionist reading of Fitzgerald’s short stories through the lens of popular culture from the 1910s to the 1930s

F. Scott Fitzgerald is remembered primarily as a novelist, but he wrote nearly two hundred short stories for popular magazines such as the widely-read Saturday Evening Post. These are vividly infused with the new popular culture of the early twentieth century, from jazz to motion pictures. By exploring Fitzgerald’s fascination with the intertwined spheres of dance, music, theatre and film, this book demonstrates how Fitzgerald innovatively imported practices from other popular cultural media into his short stories, showing how jazz age culture served as more than mere period detail in his work.

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Table of Figures
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Not ‘a Sincere and Yet Radiant World’ but ‘Trashy Imaginings’: Representations of Popular Culture in Fitzgerald’s Short Fiction
1. ‘Dancing Modern Suggestive Dances that are Simply Savagery’: Fitzgerald and Ragtime Dance
2. The ‘Chocolate Arabesques’ of Josephine Baker: Fitzgerald and Jazz Dance
3. ‘Satyre upon a Saxaphone’: Fitzgerald and Music
4. ‘The One about Sitting on His Top Hat and Climbing up His Shirt Front’: Fitzgerald and Musical Theatre
5. ‘A More Glittering, a Grosser Power’: Fitzgerald and Film
Conclusion: ‘All my Stories are Conceived Like Novels’
Appendix A: Fitzgerald’s Short Story Collections

About the Author

Jade Broughton Adams is an Independent Scholar, specialising in American fiction and popular culture of the 1920s and 1930s. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford, and completed a PhD at the University of Leicester. Her doctoral research focused on the use of parody in the short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Jade Broughton Adams' book opens new and important territory in F. Scott Fitzgerald studies. This is an investigation of Fitzgerald's understanding of the popular culture of his time. Adams identifies the influences of music, dance, theatre, and film on his short fiction, still the most neglected part of his oeuvre. The writing in this book is sprightly and the research impeccable.

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

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