Francis Scott Fitzgerald, The Love of the Last Tycoon

fitzgerald the love of the last tycoon

The Love of the Last Tycoon (auf Französisch : Le dernier nabab) est l’ultime oeuvre de Francis Scott Fitzgerald – inachevée, publiée à titre posthume avec tout un tas de notes et de documents complémentaires fort intéressants sur la genèse et l’écriture du roman. Le pouvoir, l’ambition, l’amour, la déchéance… il y a tout le cinéma hollywoodien comme on se l’imagine, dans ce bouquin – qui pourrait figurer à peu près en intégralité dans cette rubrique qui m’est chère. Aussi ai-je sans grande originalité jeté mon dévolu sur la première page.

Though I haven’t ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures. Rudolph Valentino came to my fifth birthday party – or so I was told. I put this down only to indicate that even before the age of reason I was in a position to watch the wheels go round.

I was going to write my memoirs once, “The Producer’s Daughter,” but at eighteen you never quite get around to anything like that. It’s just as well-it would have been as flat as an old column of Lolly Parsons’. My father was in the picture business as another man might be in cotton or steel, and I took it tranquilly. At the worst I accepted Hollywood with the resignation of a ghost assigned to a haunted house. I knew what you were supposed to think about it but I was obstinately unhorrified.

This is easy to say, but harder to make people understand. When I was at Bennington some of the English teachers who pretended an indifference to Hollywood or its products really hated it. Hated it way down deep as a threat to their existence. Even before that, when I was in a convent, a sweet little nun asked me to get her a script of a screen play so she could “teach her class about movie writing” as she had taught them about the essay and the short story. I got the script for her and I suppose she puzzled over it and puzzled over it but it was never mentioned in class and she gave it back to me with an air of offended surprise and not a single comment. That’s what I half expect to happen to this story.

You can take Hollywood for granted like I did, or you can dismiss it with the contempt we reserve for what we don’t understand. It can be understood too, but only dimly and in flashes. Not half a dozen men have ever been able to keep the whole equation of pictures in their heads. And perhaps the closest a woman can come to the set-up is to try and understand one of those men.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Love of the Last Tycoon
édition Scribner, 1995

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