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This Side of Paradise

The Romantic Egoist

a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1920. Initially called The Romantic Egoist, it appeared at the outset of the ‘roaring Twenties’ and immediately became a bestseller and a cult work for the younger generation of the jazz age, in a society increasingly attracted to the ideal of youth. The young protagonist, Amory Blaine, exemplifying the post-war dandy, makes his life the egotistical pursuit of sexual adventure and social ambition. After a sheltered and spoilt childhood, he goes to Princeton where he throws himself into literary pursuits, writing for the university journal, joining the Triangle Club, and championing the English poets of decadence. Amory gets involved with Princeton's social set and the beautiful and wealthy, and is narcissistically intrigued with his own emotional states. Following a series of abortive love affairs, he goes to France as an officer; upon his return he finds his mother dead and his financial circumstances straitened. He becomes an advertising writer, has a few more unsatisfactory affairs, and gradually grows poor and unemployed. At the end of the novel Amory is left contemplating the limited summation of his experiences at the age of 24.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Sir Rabindranath Tagore Biography to James Thomson Biography