Set in the heady Jazz Age of New York, The Beautiful and Damned chronicles the relationship between Anthony Patch, a Harvard-educated aspiring aesthete, and his beautiful trophy wife, Gloria, as they wait to inherit his grandfather’s fortune. Anticipating easy millions, they embrace the glittering, hedonistic lifestyle of the pretentious nouveaux riches but find that they are living a dream that is all too fleeting.
A devastating satire of reckless ambition and squandered talent, Fitzgerald’s novel is also a shattering portrait of a marriage wasted by alcohol and wealth. It depicts an America embarked on the greatest spree in its history, a world Fitzgerald embraced even as he attacked its false social values and shallow literary tastes. Lyrical, romantic, yet cruelly incisive, it signaled a new stage in Fitzgerald’s career.