Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Grid/Masonry Demo

AMERICAN RETRO SERIES

A series of short stories and novellas published in America at the turn of the twentieth century, of peculiar interest, or of their time, since neglected, perhaps noteworthy works.

Theodore Dreiser once inscribed a book: “To H. L. Mencken, my oldest living enemy.” They remained firm friends for over 40 years, but still fell out from time to time…



Ring Lardner was the greatest sports writer of the last century. You Know Me Al is his epistolary novel about baseball.

JACK LONDON was an amateur boxer and a huge boxing fan (he was the first to write of it in a literary manner). He had been a sports reporter for the Oakland Herald, and as a journalist he followed Jack Johnson, travelling even to Australia in 1908 to cover his world title win against Tommy Burns in Australia for The Call, a San Franciscan newspaper. He also covered Jack Johnson’s defence against “the great white hope,” Jim Jeffries, in 1910. The Game was published in 1905. In response to criticism that he wrote inaccurately about the boxing world, he could write: “I have had these experiences and it was out of ese experiences, plus a fairly intimate knowledge of prize-fighting in general, that I wrote The Game.“ It was one of two novellas London wrote about the sport — The Abysmal Brute was published in 1911. He wrote several short stories also, and A Piece of Steak was written for the Saturday Evening Post in 1909.

A series of short stories and novellas published in America at the turn of the twentieth century, of peculiar interest, or of their time, or neglected, perhaps noteworthy works.

Jut

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Jut

“Wildly funny, desperately sad, brutal and kind, furious and patient, there was no other like Nathanael West.”
– DOROTHY PARKER

Nathanael West died in December 1940 in a fall car accident. He was known for being a bad driver. He ran through red lights whilst returning from New Mexico with his wife. His great friend, F. Scott Fitzgerald had died the day before. Fitzgerald admired West as a writer, and held Miss Lonelyhearts to be “quite extraordinary.”
“Mr. Fitzgerald is a novelist and Mrs. Fitzgerald is a novelty”

in H. L. Mencken’s words, “The case of F. Scott Fitzgerald has become distressing.” 

Fitzgerald died of a heart attack aged only 44. Dorothy Parker was reported to mutter “poor son-of-a-bitch” at his funeral, a line from Gatsby’s funeral.

QUOTES FROM
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”

“My whole theory of writing I can sum up in one sentence. An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.”

“I want to write something new – something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned.
As usual, 
F. Scott Fitzgerald”

Sherwood Anderson’s best known collection of short stories, published in 1919, was Winnesburg, Ohio. Two years later he published The Triumph of the Egg & Other Stories, a collection that sold as well, and it is just as good.