Tender is the Night
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
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About This Item
Tender is the Night was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel in nine years (since The Great Gatsby in 1925) and his fourth and final to complete. The generally autobiographical work reflects events surrounding the hospitalization of Fitzgerald’s schizophrenic wife, Zelda, and his own unrelenting alcoholism. Tender is the Night was published in four issues of Scribner's Magazine (January — April) until Charles Scribner’s Sons produced the first novel edition in April 1934. The novel, whose title comes from John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” has two versions in print: the original, which uses flashbacks in the narrative, and the second, revised version, published posthumously by Malcolm Cowley, in which the storyline is restructured so that events take place chronologically. Some have suggested that this particular revision was in reaction to critics of the original. Tender is the Night sold only 12,000 copies in its first three months compared to Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, which sold over 50,000 in a similar time period. Still, reception for Tender is the Night steadily grew over time. Today, it is ranked 28th on the Modern Library’s list of the “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century as well as 69th on NPR’s “100 Years, 100 Novels, One List.”
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