Over the course of his career, F. Scott Fitzgerald regularly attempted to gain both popular and critical respect. However, when The Great Gatsby first appeared in 1925, market tendencies assured Fitzgerald of the critical community's paradoxical position regarding his fictional output, which stunted his production over the next several years. Although he would continue to produce magazine fiction throughout the nine-year gap between novels, Fitzgerald's process in creating what would become Tender Is the Night offers a natural window into the author's mental and artistic state for the majority of the 1920s and 1930s. His three prefaces of the decade—two unpublished and one published—present Fitzgerald's authorial anxiety and reveal the opposite of the youthful and naïve author of This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald's decline in the 1930s is ably traced not only through public documents—such as “The Crack-Up” essays written for Esquire in 1936—but also through his published and unpublished prefaces which aimed to defend, justify, and ultimately apologize for his artistic material.

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