F. Scott Fitzgerald
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F. Scott Fitzgerald

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F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University which he left in 1917 to join the army. Fitzgerald was said to have epitomised the Jazz Age, an age inhabited by a generation he defined as 'grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their destructive relationship and her subsequent mental breakdowns became a major influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night and The Love of the Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work): six volumes of short stories and The Crack-Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces. Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a "generation" ... he might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'
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Featured Article: The top 100 classics of all time


Before we whipped out our old high school syllabi and dug deep into our libraries to start selecting contenders for this list, we first had to answer the question, "How do we define a classic?" The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might guess, though there’s a lot to be said for the old adage, "You know it when you see it" (or, in this case, hear it). Of course, most critically, each of our picks had to be fabulous in audio. So dust off your aspirational listening list—we have some amazing additions you don’t want to miss.

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