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A Short Autobiography

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Top 10 Best Quotes

“I want to be able to do anything with words: handle slashing, flaming descriptions like Wells, and use the paradox with the clarity of Samuel Butler, the breadth of Bernard Shaw and the wit of Oscar Wilde, I want to do the wide sultry heavens of Conrad, the rolled-gold sundowns and crazy-quilt skies of Hitchens and Kipling as well as the pastel dawns and twilights of Chesterton. All that is by way of example. As a matter of fact I am a professed literary thief, hot after the best methods of every writer in my generation.”

“...he told me all the things he liked to THINK he thought in the misty past.”

“The decision as to when to quit, as to when one is merely floundering around and causing other people trouble, has to be made frequently in a lifetime. In youth we are taught the rather simple rule never to quit, because we are presumably following programmes made by people wiser than ourselves. My own conclusion is that when one has embarked on a course that grows increasingly doubtful and one feels the vital forces beginning to be used up, it is best to ask advice if decent advice is in range...”

“I lived here once," the author said after a moment. "Here? For a long time?" "No. For just a little while when I was young." "It must have been rather cramped." "I didn't notice." "Would you like to try it again?" "No. And I couldn't if I wanted to." He shivered slightly and closed the windows. As they went downstairs, the visitor said, half apologetically: "It's really just like all houses, isn't it?" The author nodded. "I didn't think it was when I built it, but in the end I suppose it's just like other houses after all.”

“...I have never cared for any men as much as for these who felt the first springs when I did, and saw death ahead, and were reprieved - and who now walk the long stormy summer. It is a generation staunch by inheritance, sophisticated by fact - and rather deeply wise. More than that, what I feel about them is summed up in a line of Willa Cather's: "We possess together the precious, the incommunicable past.”

“Whether it's something that happened twenty years ago or only yesterday I must start out with an emotion, one that's close to me and that I can understand.”

“That we shall use every discovery of science in the preservation of our children's health goes without saying; but we shall do more than this - we shall give them a free start, not loading them up with our own ideas and experiences, nor advising them to live according to our lights. We were burned in the fire here and there, but - who knows? - fire may not burn our children, and if we warn them away from it they may end by never growing warm. We will not even inflict our cynicism on them as the sentimentality of our fathers was inflicted on us. The most we will do is urge a little doubt, asking that the doubt be exercised on our ideas as well as on all the mortal things in this world.”

“Now, ideals, conventions, even truth itself, are continually changing things so that the milk of one generation may be the poison of the next. The young Americans of my time have seen one of these transformations with their own eyes, and for this reason they will not make the initial mistake of trying to teach their children too much. Before a man is thirty he has already accumulated, along with a little wisdom, a great quantity of dust and rubbish in his mind, and the difficulty is to let the children profit by what is wise without unloading the dust and rubbish on them too. We can only try to do better at it than the last generation did - when a generation succeeds in doing it completely, in handing down all its discoveries and none of its delusions, its children shall inherit the earth.”

“For America is composed not of two sorts of people, but of two frames of mind - the first engaged in doing what is would like to do, the second pretending that such things do not exist.”

“A young man can work at excessive speed with no ill effects, but youth is unfortunately not a permanent condition of life.”

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Book Keywords:

writing, houses, children, literature, life, quitting, comradery, america, words, people, emotion, home, parents, youth, generations, memory, wisdom, reminiscing, past, style

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