Fitzgerald won fame and fortune for his first novel, This Side of Paradise. It is an immature work but was the first novel to anticipate the pleasure-seeking generation of the Roaring Twenties. A similar novel, The Beautiful and Damned increased his popularity. The Great Gatsby was less popular than Fitzgerald's early works, but it was his masterpiece and the first of three successive novels that give him lasting literary importance. The lively yet deeply moral novel centers around Jay Gatsby, a wealthy bootlegger. It presents a penetrating criticism of the moral emptiness Fitzgerald saw in wealthy American society of the 1920's. Fitzgerald's next novel, Tender Is the Night, is a beautifully written but disjointed account of the general decline of a few glamorous Americans in Europe. The book failed because readers during the Great Depression of the 1930s were not interested in Jazz Age “parties.” Fitzgerald died before he completed The Love of the Last Tycoon, a novel about Hollywood life. Critics generally agree that Fitzgerald's early success damaged his personal life and marred his literary production. This success led to extravagant living and a need for a large income. It probably contributed to Fitzgerald's alcoholism and the mental breakdown of his wife, Zelda. The success also probably led to his physical and spiritual collapse. Fitzgerald spent his last years as a scriptwriter in Hollywood.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896 – 1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined.