The venerable New Republic seems to have recovered from well-publicized staff defections several years ago. The magazine's web site offers a good mix of articles on literary, political and cultural themes. The New Republic is one of those hearty American publications that seem to survive turmoil, controversy and near death only to bounce back for yet another new era.
The magazine/web site celebrated the 75th anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgerald's death this week with several New Republic pieces that first appeared at the time. The essays following Fitzgerald's death on Dec. 21, 1940, written by fellow writers of his generation and the one just after, share the theme that Fitzgerald had been wrongly forgotten and deserved to be remembered as a major writer.
A couple of them take umbrage at New York Times and New York Herald Tribune obituaries written by anonymous writers who obviously had never read Fitzgerald's books. At that time, Fitzgerald's books were out of print, even his celebrated "The Great Gatsby." The appreciations by John O'Hara, Budd Schulberg and John Dos Passos likely set the stage for the restoration of Fitzgerald's reputation. At the time, the New Republic was a major cultural power.
My favorite piece is this one by O'Hara, who came after Fitzgerald's generation. O'Hara did become friends with Fitzgerald, who in his later years struggled as a Hollywood screenwriter, although his experiences gave him material for his posthumous novel, "The Last Tycoon." The article reflects that O'Hara considered Fitzgerald a major influence.
O'Hara gives an amusing/heartbreaking account of a lunch at Fitzgerald's Hollywood home, and seeing the manuscript of "The Last Tycoon," considered one of Fitzgerald's best works, although it remained unfinished at the time of his death. The picture shows Fitzgerald, at left, and O'Hara.