Flappers and Philosophers

Flappers and Philosophers

by F. Scott Fitzgerald


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All the glamour and cynicismof the dawning Jazz Age are on display in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s debut story collection.

Flappers and Philosophers was first published in 1920, on the heels of the young author’s smash hit novel This Side of Paradise. The collection contains some of his most famous early stories, including “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” “The Ice Palace,” “Head and Shoulders,” and “The Offshore Pirate.” In these pages we meet many of Fitzgerald’s trademark character types: the beautiful and headstrong young women and the dissolute young men of what came to be called the Lost Generation. With their bobbed hair and dangling cigarettes, his characters are sophisticated, witty, and, above all, modern: the spoiled heiress who falls for her kidnapper, the intellectual student whose life is turned upside-down by a chorus girl, the feuding debutantes whose weapons are cutting words and a pair of scissors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307474520
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Series: Vintage Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 373,431
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, was born in 1896 and died in 1940.

Date of Birth:

September 24, 1896

Date of Death:

December 21, 1940

Place of Birth:

St. Paul, Minnesota


Princeton University

Read an Excerpt

The Offshore Pirate This unlikely story begins on a sea that was a blue dream, as colorful as blue-silk stockings, and beneath a sky as blue as the irises of children's eyes. From the western half of the sky the sun was shying little golden disks at the sea—if you gazed intently enough you could see them skip from wave tip to wave tip until they joined a broad collar of golden coin that was collecting half a mile out and would eventually be a dazzling sunset. About half-way between the Florida shore and the golden collar a white steam-yacht, very young and graceful, was riding at anchor and under a blue-and-white awning aft a yellow-haired girl reclined in a wicker settee reading The Revolt of the Angels, by Anatole France. She was about nineteen, slender and supple, with a spoiled alluring mouth and quick gray eyes full of a radiant curiosity. Her feet, stockingless, and adorned rather than clad in blue-satin slippers which swung nonchalantly from her toes, were perched on the arm of a settee adjoining the one she occupied. And as she read she intermittently regaled herself by a faint application to her tongue of a half-lemon that she held in her hand. The other half, sucked dry, lay on the deck at her feet and rocked very gently to and fro at the almost imperceptible motion of the tide. The second half-lemon was well-nigh pulpless and the golden collar had grown astonishing in width, when suddenly the drowsy silence which enveloped the yacht was broken by the sound of heavy footsteps and an elderly man topped with orderly gray hair and clad in a white-flannel suit appeared at the head of the companionway. There he paused for a moment until his eyes became accustomed to the sun, and then seeing the girl under the awning he uttered a long even grunt of disapproval. If he had intended thereby to obtain a rise of any sort he was doomed to disappointment. The girl calmly turned over two pages, turned back one, raised the lemon mechanically to tasting distance, and then very faintly but quite unmistakably yawned. "Ardita!" said the gray-haired man sternly. Ardita uttered a small sound indicating nothing. "Ardita!" he repeated. "Ardita!" Ardita raised the lemon languidly, allowing three words to slip out before it reached her tongue. "Oh, shut up." "Ardita!" "What?" "Will you listen to me—or will I have to get a servant to hold you while I talk to you?" The lemon descended slowly and scornfully. "Put it in writing." "Will you have the decency to close that abominable book and discard that damn lemon for two minutes?" "Oh, can't you lemme alone for a second?" "Ardita, I have just received a telephone message from the shore—" "Telephone?" She showed for the first time a faint interest. "Yes, it was—" "Do you mean to say," she interrupted wonderingly, "'at they let you run a wire out here?" "Yes, and just now—" "Won't other boats bump into it?" "No. It's run along the bottom. Five min—" "Well, I'll be darned! Gosh! Science is golden or something—isn't it?" "Will you let me say what I started to?" "Shoot!" "Well, it seems—well, I am up here—" He paused and swallowed several times distractedly. "Oh, yes. Young woman, Colonel Moreland has called up again to ask me to be sure to bring you in to dinner. His son Toby has come all the way from New York to meet you and he's invited several other young people. For the last time, will you—" "No," said Ardita shortly, "I won't. I came along on this darn cruise with the one idea of going to Palm Beach, and you knew it, and I absolutely refuse to meet any darn old colonel or any darn young Toby or any darn old young people or to set foot in any other darn old town in this crazy state. So you either take me to Palm Beach or else shut up and go away." "Very well. This is the last straw. In your infatuation for this man—a man who is notorious for his excesses, a man your father would not have allowed to so much as mention your name—you have reflected the demi-monde rather than the circles in which you have presumably grown up. From now on—" "I know," interrupted Ardita ironically, "from now on you go your way and I go mine. I've heard that story before. You know I'd like nothing better." "From now on," he announced grandiloquently, "you are no niece of mine. I—" "O-o-o-oh!" The cry was wrung from Ardita with the agony of a lost soul. "Will you stop boring me! Will you go 'way! Will you jump overboard and drown! Do you want me to throw this book at you!" "If you dare do any—" Smack! The Revolt of the Angels sailed through the air, missed its target by the length of a short nose, and bumped cheerfully down the companionway. The gray-haired man made an instinctive step backward and then two cautious steps forward. Ardita jumped to her five feet four and stared at him defiantly, her gray eyes blazing. "Keep off!" "How dare you!" he cried. "Because I darn please!" "You've grown unbearable! Your disposition—" "You've made me that way! No child ever has a bad disposition unless it's her family's fault! Whatever I am, you did it." Muttering something under his breath her uncle turned and, walking forward, called in a loud voice for the launch. Then he returned to the awning, where Ardita had again seated herself and resumed her attention to the lemon. "I am going ashore," he said slowly. "I will be out again at nine o'clock to-night. When I return we will start back to New York, where I shall turn you over to your aunt for the rest of your natural, or rather unnatural, life." He paused and looked at her, and then all at once something in the utter childishness of her beauty seemed to puncture his anger like an inflated tire and render him helpless, uncertain, utterly fatuous. "Ardita," he said not unkindly, "I'm no fool. I've been round. I know men. And, child, confirmed libertines don't reform until they're tired—and then they're not themselves—they're husks of themselves." He looked at her as if expecting agreement, but receiving no sight or sound of it he continued. "Perhaps the man loves you—that's possible. He's loved many women and he'll love many more. Less than a month ago, one month, Ardita, he was involved in a notorious affair with that red-haired woman, Mimi Merril; promised to give her the diamond bracelet that the Czar of Russia gave his mother. You know—you read the papers." "Thrilling scandals by an anxious uncle," yawned Ardita. "Have it filmed. Wicked clubman making eyes at virtuous flapper. Virtuous flapper conclusively vamped by his lurid past. Plans to meet him at Palm Beach. Foiled by anxious uncle." "Will you tell me why the devil you want to marry him?" "I'm sure I couldn't say," said Ardita shortly. "Maybe because he's the only man I know, good or bad, who has an imagination and the courage of his convictions. Maybe it's to get away from the young fools that spend their vacuous hours pursuing me around the country. But as for the famous Russian bracelet, you can set your mind at rest on that score. He's going to give it to me at Palm Beach—if you'll show a little intelligence." "How about the—red-haired woman?" "He hasn't seen her for six months," she said angrily. "Don't you suppose I have enough pride to see to that? Don't you know by this time that I can do any darn thing with any darn man I want to?" She put her chin in the air like the statue of France Aroused, and then spoiled the pose somewhat by raising the lemon for action. "Is it the Russian bracelet that fascinates you?" "No, I'm merely trying to give you the sort of argument that would appeal to your intelligence. And I wish you'd go 'way," she said, her temper rising again. "You know I never change my mind. You've been boring me for three days until I'm about to go crazy. I won't go ashore! Won't! Do you hear? Won't!" "Very well," he said, "and you won't go to Palm Beach either. Of all the selfish, spoiled, uncontrolled, disagreeable, impossible girls I have—" Splush! The half-lemon caught him in the neck. Simultaneously came a hail from over the side. "The launch is ready, Mr. Farnam." Too full of words and rage to speak, Mr. Farnam cast one utterly condemning glance at his niece and, turning, ran swiftly down the ladder. 

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Illustrations; Introduction; 1. Background; 2. Stories and title; 3. Additional writings; 4. Editorial principles; 5. Rationale for inclusiveness; Part I. Flappers and Philosophers: 'The Offshore Pirate'; 'The Ice Palace'; 'Head and Shoulders'; 'The Cut-Glass Bowl'; 'Bernice Bobs Her Hair'; 'Benediction'; 'Dalyrimple Goes Wrong'; 'The Four Fists'; Part II. Additional Stories, September 1919-April 1922: 'Babes in the Woods'; 'The Debutante'; 'Myra Meets His Family'; 'The Amilers'; 'The Popular Girl'; 'Two for a Cent'; Record of variants; Explanatory notes; Illustrations; Appendix 1. Genesis of 'Bernice Bobs Her Hair'; Appendix 2. Composition of 'The Ice Palace' July 1920; Appendix 3. Original ending for 'The Offshore Pirate'; Appendix 4. Composition, publication, and earnings.

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Flappers and Philosophers 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
cmscott on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A collection of Fitzgerald's earlier short stories, "Flappers and Philosophers" was an excellent read. The story-telling was bright and vivid and the dialogue was the sort of stuff you'd expect from the man who is considered the greatest American novelist. I liked "The Offshore Pirate," the best and "The Ice Palace," the least. There was quite a bit of wisdom weaved into the stories and logical twists, especially in "The Offshore Pirate." Fitzgerald has a way of making you pause and say: "oh, this is good..." and then continue reading till your heart drops again.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this collection of short stories when I was teenager (inspired, I suppose, after reading The Great Gatsby in high school). My recollection was that they were beautifully written although the vocabulary sometimes exceed my knowledge of the time, making it a bit challenging to fully enjoy. I found some of the endings to be abrupt, but that is often the case in short stories. Overall though, an excellent introduction to Fitzgerald's finesse.
anterastilis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flappers and Philosophers is a collection of eight short stories. I enjoyed them to differing degrees, so it would be silly of me to write a review on the book as a whole. I don't really like The Great Gatsby. I also don't really enjoy short stories.I'm not sure why I chose this book, but I'm glad I did. Although I didn't like some of the stories, they all evoked such a powerful image of the jazz age - especially the world of young socialite women. It was fascinating and just wonderful.The Offshore Pirate: Ardita is a spoiled, bored, rich, beautiful 19-year-old socialite. When her yacht comes under attack by fugitives (a jazz band), she hooks up with the leader of their gang. I would have too. He was pretty dreamy. Twist at the end that made it more than just a boy-and-girl-forbidden-relationship thing, but I liked the boy-and-girl-forbidden-relationship thing.The Ice Palace: A southern belle goes to a Yankee city and is appalled by cold weather. Although I can't relate as a cold person, I can relate as a person new to town who is utterly discombobulated and unnerved by the surroundings and strange mannerisms of the people. An excellent job of portraying a gripping fear of nothing.Head and Shoulders: Entirely enjoyable. Full of twists that, if written by a less skilled writer, would have seemed insane and stupid.The cut-glass bowl: An evil glass bowl wreaks havoc on a family. Sounds stupid? It kind of is. Why didn't they just get rid of the damned bowl?Bernice Bobs Her Hair: My favorite by far. Bernice is staying at Marjories for the summer, and she is being such a drag. Marjorie gives Bernice a few lessons on how to be a socialite - a great commentary on the social lives of society girls in the teens. Bernice follows the instructions, steals Marjories boyfriend, and then Marjorie gets her revenge. It's pretty damned cool.Benediction: A shy, romantic girl visits her brother in his monastery and gets a clue about life. Sounds dull? It's not. Lyrical and heartbreaking. It made me sigh and feel like I wasn't living my life to its full potential.Dalyrimple goes wrong: Another story full of twists. First, Dalyrimple plays it right and gets screwed over, then he goes bad and - no, he doesn't get screwed over, he is rewarded for being a good guy before going bad. Huh. What a world. NOT my favorite.The Four Fists: Four times in his life Samuel has taken a hit in the face. This short story outlines those four times and what he learned from each. Extraordinarily well written. This and Bernice were my two favorites.
LynnLD More than 1 year ago
Amazing Writer! F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Flappers and Philosophers is a collection of eight memorable short stories. In Offshore Pirate, a spoiled rich girl named Ardita is aboard a ship with her uncle when it is overtaken by pirates. She falls in love with the pirates’ captain but she later awakens to remember it as a dream. In The Ice Palace, Sally Carrol is from Georgia yet falls for a Yankee. However, when she goes north to his place it is cold and frigid. She gets lost in a man-made Ice Palace and becomes hysterical. Will she still marry him? Head and Shoulders is the story of child prodigy that falls for a chorus girl. While they are climbing the career ladder, their roles are switched and it has an ironic ending. Cut-Glass Bowl tells the tale of a couple who receive a cut-glass bowl as a wedding gift and it seems to set the tone for many unhappy woes within their family. Bernice Bobs her Hair, my favorite, is about two cousins and Marjorie challenges Bernice into getting her hair cut off. She sees that she is less attractive without her long hair, but she does find a humorous way to get revenge. Benediction finds young Lois taking a detour on the way to meeting her lover. She visits her brother at a monastery and has an epiphany during the benediction and changes her plans. Dalyrimple Goes Wrong finds a young war hero coming home to honors and is soon forced to take a job. He works for Mr. Macy but finds that the pay isn’t enough so he turns to crime. He becomes a burglar and is shocked when the men at the top invite him to join the Senate. He is never caught but his guilt begins to set in when he realizes that he had robbed the man making the offer. The Four Fists tells the tale of Samuel Meredith who was a real snit and four fists bring him down and make him think before he speaks. He was hit by his school roommate; a tired man on a bus that he insulted; a husband of a woman he dated and by a man whose land he was about to takeover. This wide variety of Fitzgerald stories are taken from many walks of life and they all make you think!
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excellent book
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He followed in. "Whats up?"