Beginning in 1915, F. Scott Fitzgerald was exposed to the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche under the guidance of mentors and from his personal reading lists. While reading Nietzsche, Fitzgerald's concern with the rise of cultural pessimism in 1920s America appeared in his fiction. Interestingly, both the philosopher and author explore the decline of Western culture in the twentieth century––a period of identity crises that affected America and Europe. This thesis investigates Fitzgerald's misreading of Nietzschean ideas that appears in his fiction to highlight the author's interest in explaining the cause of America's decline. In particular, this thesis appropriates a Nietzschean framework from Nietzsche's three metamorphoses of the spirit in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Each thesis chapter compares one metamorphosis to one quest in Fitzgerald's first three novels. I argue that Amory Blaine's quest in This Side of Paradise (1920) represents the camel's metamorphosis, Anthony Patch's journey in The Beautiful and Damned (1922) aligns with the lion's metamorphosis, and Jay Gatsby's quest in The Great Gatsby (1925) mimics the child's metamorphosis. After establishing a connection between Fitzgerald's concerns and Nietzsche's ideas, this thesis asserts that Fitzgerald's limited understanding of Nietzschean philosophy derives from the adulteration of ideas in the twentieth century.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
English; Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Carman, Lindsey, "F. Scott Fitzgerald as a "Hot Nietzschean": The Influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's Philosophy in This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, and The Great Gatsby" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5993.