Fitzgerald’s Short Stories Featured in New Program/Discussion Series
“Fitzgerald loved, hated, and was obsessed by St. Paul…
[his] short stories place Fitzgerald’s ambitions and gifts
in a cultural context too often ignored and forgotten.”
— author Charles Baxter
SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA – October 6, 2014 – FitzFirst@Four, a monthly series of presentations and discussions on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest short stories, launches this fall on Sunday, November 2, at 4 p.m. The monthly series, coordinated by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, takes place at Common Good Books on Snelling Avenue in Saint Paul. It will feature presentations on the historical context, events or well-known personages that shaped each short story, followed by a group discussion of the selected story. Many of the stories chosen are set in familiar places and neighborhoods in and around Saint Paul, and attendees are encouraged to read the selected stories in advance.
The series launches on Sunday, November 2 with Dave Page, Fitzgerald scholar, co-editor of The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and editor of The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald: a Secret Boyhood Diary. Page will provide context and history on Fitzgerald’s story, The Scandal Detectives, which first appeared in print in The Saturday Evening Post in 1928. In The Scandal Detectives, readers became fully acquainted with one of Fitzgerald’s most endearing and enduring young heroes – teenaged, Basil Duke Lee. On its publication, Fitzgerald wrote to his Saint Paul friend, Norris Jackson, “I have finally put your home in a story…” Indeed, this story reflects real events drawn from Fitzgerald’s adolescence when, at age 14, he and some of his Summit Avenue neighborhood companions formed a club called “The Gooserah.” Dave Page will help separate fact from fiction as the group explores the real neighborhood locations, families and children who animate this delightful story.
In December, FitzFirst@Four features Dr. Andrea Sachs, Assistant Director of College Counseling and faculty member in the History Department of Saint Paul Academy and Summit School. Dr. Sachs will provide a glimpse of the early history of the Saint Paul Academy – its distinguished faculty, its demanding curriculum, and some of the more renowned students and alumni from the period – including F. Scott Fitzgerald and his circle of Summit Avenue friends – all as background to the story, The Captured Shadow. In The Captured Shadow, the sixth of the nine “Basil” stories, Fitzgerald’s fifteen-year-old hero, Basil Duke Lee convinces his friends to put on a play he has written about a gentleman burglar known as “The Shadow.” The story is based on an actual event from August 1923, when Scott wrote a play – “a melodramatic farce, in three acts” – for his fellow classmates to perform. Under the guidance of Miss Elizabeth Magoffin, the real play ultimately debuted at Saint Paul’s Backus School for Girls. Readers may well ask, was Fitzgerald’s play ultimately about stopping a thief, or stealing hearts?
FitzFirst@Four takes place the first Sunday of every month at 4 p.m. at Common Good Books, located at the corner of Snelling and Grand Avenues, at 38 South Snelling Avenue, St. Paul. The series is co-sponsored by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Fitzgerald in Saint Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.fitzgeraldinsaintpaul.org. Fitzgerald in Saint Paul is a new nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the life and literature of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the revered American author and cultural icon, in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota.