The Pat Hobby Stories
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Scribner, Paperback, 9780684804422, 192pp.)
Publication Date: December 6, 1995
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A fascinating study in self-satire that brings to life the Hollywood years of F. Scott Fitzgerald
The setting: Hollywood: the character: Pat Hobby, a down-and-out screenwriter trying to break back into show business, but having better luck getting into bars. Written between 1939 and 1940, when F. Scott Fitzgerald was working for Universal Studios, the seventeen Pat Hobby stories were first published in Esquire magazine and present a bitterly humorous portrait of a once-successful writer who becomes a forgotten hack on a Hollywood lot. "This was not art" Pat Hobby often said, "this was an industry" where whom "you sat with at lunch was more important than what you dictated in your office."
The Pat Hobby sequence, as Arnold Gingrich writes in his introduction, is Fitzgerald's "last word from his last home, for much of what he felt about Hollywood and about himself permeated these stories."
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1896, attended Princeton University, and published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920. That same year he married Zelda Sayre and the couple divided their time among New York, Paris, and the Riviera, becoming a part of the American expatriate circle that included Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos. Fitzgerald was a major new literary voice, and his masterpieces include The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. He died of a heart attack in 1940 at the age of forty-four, while working on The Love of the Last Tycoon. For his sharp social insight and breathtaking lyricism, Fitzgerald is known as one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century.