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Babylon Revisited and Other Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Ever since my first encounter with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary prowess via The Great Gatsby, I’ve been enchanted by the author’s psychoanalytic prose and penchant for injecting sharp and colorful language into loose sentences that ebb and flow with the melodiousness of Shakespearean poetry. This sentiment is common amongst seniors who have read the novel, with some citing Gatsby as their favorite assigned reading throughout all of high school. Luckily, Mr. Fitzgerald did not substitute quality for quantity in his literary career, penning a copious amount of essays, short stories, novels, and articles that are just as potent and enjoyable as his magnum opus. Babylon Revisited and Other Short Stories is a collection of ten such short stories written over the span of a decade and consolidated into one publication.

The short story is somewhat of a strange beast for high school students; most of our literary exposure as underclassman is to plays, novels, and poetry. However, no other medium forces the author to employ diction as efficiently as a short story, for the length of the pieces (if you haven’t figured it out yet, they are generally short) necessitates that even the richest and most complex plotlines be condensed into a concise format. This makes short stories ideal for the high school student who 1.) may have a short attention span and 2.) may want to learn how to tell stories as effectively as possible. Babylon satisfies readers with either or both of these requirements in an enjoyable manner.

The standout stories from the collection include “May Day”, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”, “Babylon Revisited”, and “Winter Dreams.” Most of the stories share Gatsby’s theme of the aspiration for elusive, undefined, and inconstant success and how the inevitable failure to achieve it causes us to cyclically “beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (pg. 115, The Great Gatsby.) Mr. Fitzgerald beautifully weaves philosophical tangents in and out of historically realistic settings and situations, giving the modern reader insight into the cultural and socio-economic state of the Jazz Age.

Reading Mr. Fitzgerald’s works is always a journey; his poetic rhetoric drives us through the contrived situations of his fiction and into our own minds and emotions. The greatest works of literature are highly acclaimed globally because they echo universal human experiences and feelings, and every short story in Babylon speaks to the soul in a way that ties all of humanity together, making us realize that the problems we face are not only ours but all of mankind’s. There is a bit of beauty and reassurance in this knowledge that gives readers tranquility and satisfaction; the mismatched puzzle piece has finally found its spot.

Whether one is a devout fan of Mr. Fitzgerald or just a casual reader, Babylon Revisited and Other Short Stories is a fantastic pick-up for anybody looking to get a glimpse into the literary progression of one of the greatest authors in American history.




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