Margin and center: positioning F. Scott Fitzgerald

Stuart Christie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


In this essay I argue that the writing of American Jazz Age novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald responds to the developing national culture of his time, here described as an evolving relation between the marginality of the region and the hegemony of the center. Like many of the characters in his novels, Fitzgerald's perceived liminality from nation and canon-his work did not achieve repute until after his death-produced, paradoxically, dependence on those values the writer felt most distant from. To a far greater extent than Hemingway, Fitzgerald fictionalized the commodity culture of the American center which he, in time, came to reject in favor of a moral posture. Fitzgerald's migration from the perceived margins of American literary discourse to status as a posthumous, centered canonical figure has three specific dimensions-the geographical, the canonical, and the moral-all of which combine to produce a significant ambivalence, beyond "modernist"credentials, in his life and legacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalForeign Literature Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

User-Defined Keywords

  • Canon
  • Hegemony
  • Literary geography
  • National culture
  • Region


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