F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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Uncle Charles Routine
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F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Uncle Charles Routine » 18 Dec 2018, 11:42

You might know it: 'there are no second acts in American lives'

how do you understand that?
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Diamond Dog » 18 Dec 2018, 11:44

Doesn't it just mean that those (in prominent positions) who have fallen from power do not return?
“The truth is like poetry- And most people fucking hate poetry"
"That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination"
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Uncle Charles Routine » 18 Dec 2018, 11:47

That's what I thought, but there are various interpretations.
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby yomptepi » 18 Dec 2018, 11:48

It'll never make 90 pages.
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Diamond Dog » 18 Dec 2018, 11:50

But, then again, having just looked and seen the full quote, the line in "My Lost City" is :

"I once thought that there were no second acts in American lives, but there was certainly to be a second act to New York's boom days. "

So, in fact, that is the opposite of the first (truncated) example you provided.
“The truth is like poetry- And most people fucking hate poetry"
"That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination"
"Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it"

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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Rayge » 18 Dec 2018, 11:55

That Americans don't know how to construct a five-act play?
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Uncle Charles Routine » 18 Dec 2018, 11:57

It's something to do with exposition/conflict/resolution or some such bollocks
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby The Modernist » 18 Dec 2018, 12:10

It's not true is it? Americans love a redemption narrative, especially if it involves mediated public contrition.

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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby $P.Muff$ » 18 Dec 2018, 12:13

I think it means he was drunk and trying to sound clever.

Agree with what The Modernist wrote above.

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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Uncle Charles Routine » 18 Dec 2018, 12:16

The misconception comes from a lack of context—or maybe deficient math skills. People who quote the line seem under the impression that most theatrical plays have two acts. If that were so, "no second acts" would indeed mean what's it so often mistaken to mean. Something like, "American lives are one-act plays." Or, more broadly, "Americans live hard and die young," a sentiment in keeping with Fitzgerald's own reputation for fast-living and his love for characters that are young, rich, and doomed. Even then, you could make a case that he's right—using examples of iconic "one-act" American lives from to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, to Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.

The problem, though, is that most stage plays don't have two acts. Traditionally, they have at least three—a fact of which Fitzgerald, who wrote for the theater at Princeton and later Broadway, was well aware. With "no second acts," he was almost certainly referring to a traditional, three-act drama, in which Act I is establishes the major conflict, Act II introduces complications, and Act III is for the climax and resolution. "No second acts," therefore, means Americans skip from Act I to Act III. That is, we are frustrated by stories that go too slowly, especially due to obstacles that are alien to our national character.

The class conflicts that drive British manners comedy, for instance, can feel pointless to Americans, who consider upward mobility a birthright. Russian drama, with its tragic fatalism, seems foreign to a nation founded on individualism and self-reliance. Americans like stories with sharp moral distinctions and lots of action; stories where individuals make decisive choices to bring about a clear resolution—typically the happy ending. Something along the lines of, "Americans stories should cut to the chase" is much closer to what Fitzgerald was trying to say—a claim Hollywood has proved dazzlingly correct.

Whatever he meant precisely, though, it clearly had nothing to do with Darius Rucker's switch from rock to country. The author wasn't saying anything as silly as "There are no comebacks in American lives" or that we don't believe in second chances, as those who quote the line imply. On the contrary. If anything, an American penchant for skipping the second act and jumping to the resolution speaks to how much we love a comeback—and how impatient we are to see a character redeemed.



https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainme ... act/38522/
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby caramba » 18 Dec 2018, 12:36

Worryingly, life doesn't seem to allow for any dress rehearsals either.

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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Snarfyguy » 18 Dec 2018, 16:36

The Modernist wrote:It's not true is it? Americans love a redemption narrative, especially if it involves mediated public contrition.

I was just saying as much over the "now watching on TV" thread.
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby sloopjohnc » 18 Dec 2018, 17:15

Politicians like Bill Clinton and Mark Sanford have indeed come back.

It's a line from his last novel, the Last Tycoon, which was published as a working draft. He has other lines like it in other works, but it well could have been omitted in a final draft. I wouldn't hold much faith in it - Fitzgerald was awash in alcohol and dying. It may have been a cynical and pessimistic line for himself that he put in one of his character's mouths.
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Diamond Dog » 18 Dec 2018, 17:58

sloopjohnc wrote:Politicians like Bill Clinton and Mark Sanford have indeed come back.

It's a line from his last novel, the Last Tycoon, which was published as a working draft. He has other lines like it in other works, but it well could have been omitted in a final draft. I wouldn't hold much faith in it - Fitzgerald was awash in alcohol and dying. It may have been a cynical and pessimistic line for himself that he put in one of his character's mouths.


I think you'll find it was previously used in a poem called "My Lost City" where the full quote above was used.
“The truth is like poetry- And most people fucking hate poetry"
"That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination"
"Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it"

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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby sloopjohnc » 18 Dec 2018, 18:16

Diamond Dog wrote:
sloopjohnc wrote:Politicians like Bill Clinton and Mark Sanford have indeed come back.

It's a line from his last novel, the Last Tycoon, which was published as a working draft. He has other lines like it in other works, but it well could have been omitted in a final draft. I wouldn't hold much faith in it - Fitzgerald was awash in alcohol and dying. It may have been a cynical and pessimistic line for himself that he put in one of his character's mouths.


I think you'll find it was previously used in a poem called "My Lost City" where the full quote above was used.


Thanks.

And then there's this. . .

Perhaps one of the most famous Fitzgerald quotes is that “there are no second acts in American lives.” It is often brought up in connection to Gatsby, or to Dick Diver, but in fact it belongs to The Love of the Last Tycoon. Or — maybe it does. Edmund Wilson found the line among the numerous pages of notes Fitzgerald left behind after his death, and included it with a series of other loose bits in the back of The Last Tycoon.
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Re: F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

Postby Robert » 18 Dec 2018, 23:03

He was not very convincing as a writer. You can almost imagine the question mark after this quote.