Much has been made of F. Scott Fitzgerald's obsession with the self-touted Jazz Age. Yet perhaps no one has investigated the tumultuous 1920s with the kind of esoteric range Ronald Berman does here in F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Scene. His interests lie in an “American Scene” without the presupposed glitz and glamour. Instead, he focuses on the great vacillation between the progressive push for hard sciences to explain human behavior and an overall suspicion toward any movement optimistic enough in its epistemology to advocate universals over pragmatics. Berman effectively sets H. L. Mencken and William James as the respective poles for these attitudes, so as to let Fitzgerald freely float between them. These slim five chapters prove to be, upon first and last impression, another living, breathing exemplar of Fitzgerald's “ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time,” and to do so...

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