Abstract

This keynote address presented at the Fifteenth International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference in Toulouse, France, on 26 June 2019, examines the relevance of the Freudian concept of the death drive to works gathered in I'd Die for You and Other Lost Stories, a collection of previously unpublished short fiction edited by Anne Margaret Daniel and published in 2017. A leading proponent of psychoanalytic theory in literary studies, a practicing psychoanalyst, and the translator of I'd Die for You into French, Amfreville examines the lurking recognition of the preeminence of death in three specific pieces in the collection: the title text, “Nightmare (Fantasy in Black),” and “The Women in the House (Temperature).” As the article demonstrates, even when Fitzgerald appended comic twists and happy endings to these 1930s efforts—none of which appeared in print during his lifetime—there remained within his attempts at literary resolution an awareness that the primal instinct of life is not toward organic fulfillment but toward the inertia of the state that precedes being—namely, nonbeing. Against the “infinite immobility of prevailing death,” the creative instinct can only proffer a displacement of that inexorable fact of existence, so that “the very act of creation functions as a way to hide the void and simultaneously to give it a shape.”

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