This article argues that the relative dearth of critical analyses on Fitzgerald's autobiographical essays generally, and the three “The Crack-Up” pieces in particular, results from tensions in understanding alcoholic denial in a genre already fraught with self-invention and self-evasion. It offers a reading that addresses these tensions head-on by examining the way Fitzgerald codes his denial in these “confessional” efforts. By looking at metaphor and elision, the article argues that Fitzgerald's refusal to confront his alcoholism in his nonfiction is not just public performance, as some critics have argued, but reflects instead an addict's denial both internal and external. By using frameworks from addiction studies and autobiography criticism, its reading of Fitzgerald expands to discuss a heuristic of reading addicts' autobiographies in a larger context. The article navigates the two polar readings of addiction, the romantic genius and the moral failure, to understand the complexities of the link between Fitzgerald's writing and Fitzgerald's biography.

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