To the Editors:
It was with great interest that I read Thomas Flanagan’s review [NYR, December 21, 2000] of some recently published Fitzgerald material. I was especially gratified by his kind remarks about my father, Arthur Mizener, whom Flanagan identifies as Fitzgerald’s second biographer. It has, however, always been my impression that he was the first. I am curious to know who, if anyone, preceded him.
Rosemary M. Colt
Little Compton, Rhode Island
Thomas Flanagan replies:
Arthur Mizener’s The Far Side of Paradise was indeed the first biography of Scott Fitzgerald. When it was published in 1951, I read it with excitement, and since then have returned to it often, for instruction and pleasure, most recently, of course, when I was preparing my piece on Fitzgerald. Admirably lucid and poised, it puts to shame the bloated literary biographies of more recent days. I cannot even proffer Doctor Johnson’s explanation of a similar error: “Ignorance, madame, pure ignorance.”