F. Scott Fitzgerald's final stories out in April

WASHINGTON • The final unpublished short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose classic The Great Gatsby provided an iconic depiction of the excesses of America's Jazz Age, will see the light in April, 80 years after they were written.

Scribner, a Simon & Schuster imprint, said it will publish I'd Die For You, a collection of stories that were considered too controversial for print when Fitzgerald penned them in the 1930s.

Like a character in one of his books, he had a short tragic life, dying in 1940 at the age of 44 after struggling for years with alcoholism and his wife Zelda's mental illness.

In his final years, he wrote several stories and submitted them to major publications, but was repeatedly turned down by editors who said his work was simply too provocative for the times.

"Rather than permit changes and sanitising by his contemporary editors," Scribner said on its website, "Fitzgerald preferred to let his work remain unpublished, even at a time when he was in great need of money."

Gatsby, published in 1925, had captured the loosening mores and economic extremes of a time Fitzgerald dubbed "the Jazz Age".

The book was praised by contemporaries such as T.S. Eliot and Willa Cather, but its sales fell short of his This Side Of Paradise and The Beautiful And Damned, leaving him in what he called a "great depression". The stock market collapse of 1929 and the public's increasing turn to radio and movies instead of books further deepened his depression.

He died in 1940 after his third heart attack and The New York Times cited Gatsby as evidence of potential never fully reached.

Only after his death did the book enjoy revived popularity.

More of his books are now sold each month than during his entire lifetime; they are standard fare in high school and university literature classes.

As Fitzgerald himself once wrote: "An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterwards."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'F. Scott Fitzgerald's final stories out in April'. Print Edition | Subscribe