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F. Scott Fitzgerald Loved Beer

A friend who lives in Asheville, North Carolina sent me this.

Recently, NPR’s Susan Stamberg made the rounds in Asheville while researching a piece about the time F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in the city.

While in Asheville, Fitzgerald spent some time at the famous Grove Park Inn. His time there was both sad and memorable.

Fitzgerald stayed at the inn in mid 1930s, when his fame as a writer was waning and his reputation as a drinker and womanizer was on the rise. Fitzgerald fired a shot from his handgun inside the hotel in a suicide attempt that was more a cry for help. His wife, the famous flapper Zelda, was facing her own health issues as a resident of Asheville’s nearby Highland Hospital. Zelda died in horrible fire at the hospital in 1948.

Asheville is known for its wide variety of beers and, currently, its craft beer. Back in the 1930s, Fitzgerald was one the city’s first big beer lovers, according to this article.

But F. Scott wasn’t sipping on beer to entertain his palette. He liked beer because he liked to get tore up from the floor up. He “reportedly” downed more than 30 bottles of beer in one day.

He also had a bit of thing for Thomas Wolfe, the famous writer who lived in Asheville.

He once wandered over to the Old Kentucky Home to see the home of another famous writer of the time, Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe. Fitzgerald reportedly stunk of alcohol, and Wolfe’s mother refused him entry on the steps.

Another time, Fitzgerald wandered over to the local library to check out Wolfe’s books. Because of Wolfe’s complicated relationship with his hometown, the library did not carry any of Wolfe’s work, so Fitzgerald went to a book store, bought an armful and delivered them to the library.

I find this stuff fascinating.

How does a writer as talented as Fitzgerald end up drunk and on the steps of Thomas Wolfe’s house? Such talent! Such a shame that everything ended for him the way it did.

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. EmmaIsWriting #

    I absolutely adore Mr Fitzgerald. He’s one of my writing idols 🙂 thank you for posting and sharing xx

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  2. LClark #

    Interesting read. His relationship with Hemingway is fascinating too. My liver hurts just reading about it!
    Lc

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  3. I believe great art is the result of broken minds, at least broken in the sense they do not conform to psychologists expectations of the norm.

    I’m glad to learn that I was merely channeling my inner Fitzgerald this past weekend. While not 30 beers, the sampling I did made for an interesting scrabble game.

    Cheers!

    Like

    September 16, 2013
    • Cheers indeed! It was an impressive collection of brews.

      Like

      September 16, 2013
  4. Hello Robert, unfortunately we’re not all as strong as we should be! Therefore, for me, it’s all the more amazing what Fitzgerald wrote, isn’t it? Bye and thanks

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  5. Whoop! NC represent! I listened to this on one of the book podcasts I listened to over the last couple of weeks.

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  6. Samuel Taylor Coleridge had a similar downward spiral due to his addiction to opiates–a common thing among many of the upper class during the 1700-1800s. It is very sad when great minds are destroyed.

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  7. sylviemarieheroux #

    I thought F. Scott tipple of choice was gin… he drank it like water.

    Like

    September 16, 2013
    • Gin, beer, wine. I think he liked it all.

      Like

      September 16, 2013
  8. I love Asheville. I’ve never had their beer, but I love Asheville.

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  9. I have always loved Fitzgerald but all was not well in paradise between him and Zelda and their competition. But everytime I read about him it just makes me so sad and feel so helpless. All that talent didn’t help him:( But still he left all those stories:)))

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  10. Rex #

    It is quite common with people where their intellect is divorced from their goal in life. If one likes writing and reading for it’s own sake, and not as an integral portion of building oneself, this is the kind of tragedy of character you can expect. Take for instance, the messiah of physics, Richard Feynman. He was a womaniser and would visit strip clubs (of course, he would do mathematics and sketches in there unlike others!). One is made to think why do great people do this. Because they do not know how to inform themselves through their intellect.

    In this regard, Chekhov is my number one author. He was a unique blend of generosity, kindness, humility and a talent that the world of course knows.

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  11. standonthewall #

    Wow. Lots of good info in this one. I read Gatsby in high school and loved it. The new film is not bad either.

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  12. For such a great writer, such a sad end. I try not to think so much about Fitzgerald’s life as I do about the wonderful things he wrote. Not only Gatsby but Tender and his short stories. Last year I read Gatsby several times just to see what secrets of writing it would reveal. I read it as a writer, not just as a reader. Very powerful stuff. Thanks for the post.

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  13. of course. great writing and liquor go hand in hand

    Like

    September 16, 2013
  14. I heard this program on NPR and remember feeling sadness for both members of this extraordinary partnership.

    Like

    September 17, 2013

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