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This Side of Paradise (Anglais) Broché – 26 août 1996

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Book One
The Romantic Egotist
Amory, Son of Beatrice

Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while. His father, an ineffectual, inarticulate man with a taste for Byron and a habit for drowsing over the Encyclopædia Britannica, grew wealthy at thirty through the death of two elder brothers, successful Chicago brokers, and in the first flush of feeling that the world was his, went to Bar Harbor and met Beatrice O’Hara. In consequence, Stephen Blaine handed down to posterity his height of just under six feet and his tendency to waver at crucial moments, these two abstractions appearing in his son Amory. For many years he hovered in the background of his family’s life, an unassertive figure with a face half-obliterated by lifeless, silky hair continually occupied in “taking care” of his wife, continually harassed by the idea that he didn’t and couldn’t understand her.

But Beatrice Blaine! There was a woman! Early pictures taken on her father’s estate at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, or in Rome at the Sacred Heart Convent–an educational extravagance that in her youth was only for the daughters of the exceptionally wealthy–showed the exquisite delicacy of her features, the consummate art and simplicity of her clothes. A brilliant education she had–her youth passed in renaissance glory, she was versed in the latest gossip of the Older Roman Families; known by name as a fabulously wealthy American girl to Cardinal Vitori and Queen Margherita and more subtle celebrities that one must have had some culture even to have heard of. She learned in England to prefer whiskey and soda to wine, and her small talk was broadened in two senses during a winter in Vienna. All in all Beatrice O’Hara absorbed the sort of education that will be quite impossible ever again; a tutelage measured by the number of things and people one could be contemptuous of and charming about; a culture rich in all arts and traditions, barren of all ideas, in the last of those days when the great gardener clipped the inferior roses to produce one perfect bud.

In her less important moments she returned to America, met Stephen Blaine and married him–this almost entirely because she was a little bit weary, a little bit sad. Her only child was carried through a tiresome season and brought into the world on a spring day in ninety-six.

When Amory was five he was already a delightful companion for her. He was an auburn-haired boy, with great, handsome eyes which he would grow up to in time, a facile imaginative mind and a taste for fancy dress. From his fourth to his tenth year he did the country with his mother in her father’s private car, from Coronado, where his mother became so bored that she had a nervous breakdown in a fashionable hotel, down to Mexico City, where she took a mild, almost epidemic consumption. This trouble pleased her, and later she made use of it as an intrinsic part of her atmosphere–especially after several astounding bracers.

So, while more or less fortunate little rich boys were defying governesses on the beach at Newport, or being spanked or tutored or read to from “Do and Dare,” or “Frank on the Mississippi,” Amory was biting acquiescent bell-boys in the Waldorf, outgrowing a natural repugnance to chamber music and symphonies, and deriving a highly specialized education from his mother.

“Yes, Beatrice.” (Such a quaint name for his mother; she encouraged it.)
“Dear, don’t think of getting out of bed yet. I’ve always suspected that early rising in early life makes one nervous. Clothilde is having your breakfast brought up.”
“All right.”
“I am feeling very old today, Amory,” she would sigh, her face a rare cameo of pathos, her voice exquisitely modulated, her hands as facile as Bernhardt’s. “My nerves are on edge–on edge. We must leave this terrifying place tomorrow and go searching for sunshine.”

Amory’s penetrating green eyes would look out through tangled hair at his mother. Even at this age he had no illusions about her.

“Oh, yes.”
“I want you to take a red-hot bath–as hot as you can bear it, and just relax your nerves. You can read in the tub if you wish.”

She fed him sections of the “Fêtes Galantes” before he was ten; at eleven he could talk glibly, if rather reminiscently, of Brahms and Mozart and Beethoven. One afternoon, when left alone in the hotel at Hot Springs, he sampled his mother’s apricot cordial, and as the taste pleased him, he became quite tipsy. This was fun for a while, but he essayed a cigarette in his exaltation, and succumbed to a vulgar, plebeian reaction. Though this incident horrified Beatrice, it also secretly amused her and became part of what in a later generation would have been termed her “line.”

“This son of mine,” he heard her tell a room full of awe-struck, admiring women one day, “is entirely sophisticated and quite charming–but delicate–we’re all delicate; here, you know.” Her hand was radiantly outlined against her beautiful bosom; then sinking her voice to a whisper, she told them of the apricot cordial. They rejoiced, for she was a brave raconteuse, but many were the keys turned in sideboard locks that night against the possible defection of little Bobby or Barbara. . . .

These domestic pilgrimages were invariably in state; two maids, the private car, or Mr. Blaine when available, and very often a physician. When Amory had the whooping-cough four disgusted specialists glared at each other hunched around his bed; when he took scarlet fever the number of attendants, including physicians and nurses, totalled fourteen. However, blood being thicker than broth, he was pulled through.

The Blaines were attached to no city. They were the Blaines of Lake Geneva; they had quite enough relatives to serve in place of friends, and an enviable standing from Pasadena to Cape Cod. But Beatrice grew more and more prone to like only new acquaintances, as there were certain stories, such as the history of her constitution and its many amendments, memories of her years abroad, that it was necessary for her to repeat at regular intervals. Like Freudian dreams, they must be thrown off, else they would sweep in and lay siege to her nerves. But Beatrice was critical about American women, especially the floating population of ex-Westerners.

“They have accents, my dear,” she told Amory, “not Southern accents or Boston accents, not an accent attached to any locality, just an accent”–she became dreamy. “They pick up old, moth-eaten London accents that are down on their luck and have to be used by some one. They talk as an English butler might after several years in a Chicago grand opera company.” She became almost incoherent– “Suppose–time in every Western woman’s life–she feels her husband is prosperous enough for her to have–accent–they try to impress me, my dear–”
Though she thought of her body as a mass of frailties, she considered her soul quite as ill, and therefore important in her life. She had once been a Catholic, but discovering that priests were infinitely more attentive when she was in process of losing or regaining faith in Mother Church, she maintained an enchantingly wavering attitude. Often she deplored the bourgeois quality of the American Catholic clergy, and was quite sure that had she lived in the shadow of the great Continental cathedrals her soul would still be a thin flame on the mighty altar of Rome. Still, next to doctors, priests were her favorite sport.

“Ah, Bishop Wiston,” she would declare, “I do not want to talk of myself. I can imagine the stream of hysterical women fluttering at your doors, beseeching you to be simpatico”–then after an interlude filled by the clergyman–

“but my mood–is–oddly dissimilar.”

Only to bishops and above did she divulge her clerical romance. When she had first returned to her country there had been a pagan, Swinburnian young man in Asheville, for whose passionate kisses and unsentimental conversations she had taken a decided penchant–they had discussed the matter pro and con with an intellectual romancing quite devoid of soppiness. Eventually she had decided to marry for background, and the young pagan from Asheville had gone through a spiritual crisis, joined the Catholic Church, and was now–Monsignor Darcy.

“Indeed, Mrs. Blaine, he is still delightful company–quite the cardinal’s right-hand man.”
“Amory will go to him one day, I know,” breathed the beautiful lady, “and Monsignor Darcy will understand him as he understood me.”

Amory became thirteen, rather tall and slender, and more than ever on to his Celtic mother. He had tutored occasionally–the idea being that he was to “keep up,” at each place “taking up the work where he left off,” yet as no tutor ever found the place he left off, his mind was still in very good shape. What a few more years of this life would have made of him is problematical. However, four hours out from land, Italy bound, with Beatrice, his appendix burst, probably from too many meals in bed, and after a series of frantic telegrams to Europe and America, to the amazement of the passengers the great ship slowly wheeled around and returned to New York to deposit Amory at the pier. You will admit that if it was not life it was magnificent.

After the operation Beatrice had a nervous breakdown that bore a suspicious resemblance to delirium tremens, and Amory was left in Minneapolis, destined to spend the ensuing two years with his aunt and uncle. There the crude, vulgar air of Western civilization first catches him–in his underwear, so to speak. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

"...[a] fine critical edition....The scholarly apparatus is accessible and exhaustive....This edition will prove quite useful to both advanced scholars and undergraduates. A valuable addition to Fitzgerald scholarship and a desirable acquisition for all academic libraries." Choice --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 208 pages
  • Editeur : Dover Publications Inc.; Édition : New edition (26 août 1996)
  • Collection : Dover Thrift Editions
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0486289990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486289991
  • Dimensions du produit: 1,3 x 13,3 x 21,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 39.931 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par cutler martine. le 22 juillet 2013
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Mon mari est anglais ,et sur amazon les bouquins anglais ne sont pas cher et tjs en bon état.
Il adore Fitzérald moi aussi j'ai tous ses romans il me manquait les heureux et les damnés.
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Amazon.com: 264 commentaires
147 internautes sur 153 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The more things change... 15 octobre 2002
Par David A. Bede - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
After 80 years, what can be said about Fitzgerald's first novel that hasn't already been said? The first thing that struck me on reading this was the timelessness of its subject matter, no matter how dated the setting is. The Ivy League of Fitzgerald's indifferent hero, Amory Blaine, is a thing of the past, with only the faintest reminders of its aura of American royalty remaining today. Reading about Amory's days at Princeton is a bit like looking at the ancient photographs of 19th century football teams that every university seems to have on display in some corner of the campus, with the added twist that most of those long-ago jocks were presumably the sons of bankers and senators. And yet, Fitzgerald's depiction of a whirlwind of exhilaration, alienation, eagerness for the future and a sense that it should all be more meaningful is still all too recognizable to those of us who are just a few years out of college. So like all the best fiction, the story works both on a historical and a contemporary level.
Amory isn't the most sympathetic of protagonists. Coming from a non-aristocratic but quite cushy background, he's all you would expect from a Fitzgerald hero: full of himself, indifferent to the less fortunate, somewhat lazy, and at once condescending to and inept with women. But this is a story of young adulthood in the last gasps of the pre-World War I upper-crust, and Amory is the perfect vehicle for illustrating the youth of that time and place. Although the relative lack of details provided about Amory's experience in the war is odd, it adds to his Everyman quality for the generations since his, all of which have had their own reasons for a bleak outlook at some point even if few could match the sheer trauma of 1917-18. The one real flaw in the story is an inconsistent, and often unconvincing, quality when it comes to how and why Amory falls for the several women he endures romantic misadventures with. For all the heartbreak he endures, the reader is often left wondering where his attraction stemmed from in the first place - an odd shortcoming considering how good Fitzgerald was at illustrating that issue in later works. But the romantic episodes that do work are vivid enough to forgive the weaker ones. Also, as usual, Fitzgerald's narrative style is somewhat purple; but he's so good at it that it usually doesn't strike the reader as a problem.
Bleak as it may be, this is a great book for anyone who has survived young adulthood and remembers it honestly. Just try not to laugh or cringe next time somebody wants to talk about "the good old days."
51 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The first display of Fitzgerald's talent 11 mars 2008
Par John Martin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels are a one trick pony in the sense that he writes about the same time period (the 1920's), the same kind of people (rich or successful Americans) and protagonists who suffer the same fate (men whose ultimate failures are the result of their own shortcomings and the influence of women). His works are also highly autobiographical. Thus to read Fitzgerald with understanding one should start at the beginning (This Side of Paradise), move to the full bloom of his talent (The Great Gatsby) and culminate at the end (Tender is the Night). It would help to read a good biography along the way. The other option is to just read Gatsby which is one of the finest American novels ever written.

This Side of Paradise is his first novel and here we see both the promise of the character, Amory Blaine, and the author. On the very first page of the novel Fitzgerald displays his talent for words in his description of Amory's mother: "All in all Beatrice O'Hara absorbed the sort of education that will be quite impossible ever again; a tutelage measured by the number of things and people one could be contemptuous of and charming about; a culture rich in all the arts and traditions barren of all ideas in the last of those days when the great gardener clipped the inferior roses to produce one perfect bud." This lengthy sentence, despite its seeming awkwardness, tells us all we need to know about Beatrice and suggests that the son will share the same qualities. Other examples of Fitzgerald's facility with words follow. On page 45 he describes Isabelle thusly: "She paused at the top of the staircase. The sensations attributed to divers on springboards, leading ladies on opening nights, and lumpy, husky young men on the day of the Big Game, crowded through her. She should have descended to a burst of drums or a discordant blend of themes from `Thais' and `Carmen.' She had never been so curious about her appearance, she had never been so satisfied with it. She has been sixteen years old for six months." And on page 47 is Isabelle's description of Amory: "she had expected him to be dark and of garter-advertisement slenderness." Only Fitzgerald could come up with such vivid and evocative descriptions.

One fault of the book is that it is too episodic without clear transitions. First Amory is a child, then a student at Princeton, then a soldier (although we really do not see this part of this life and it seems to have not affected him), then a lover of Rosalind, then at loose ends, then has a relationship with Eleanor, then the book ends with Amory alone in the world and spouting socialist maxims. It is hard to picture this individual, who for 200 pages has been totally absorbed with himself, suddenly developing a social conscience!

Another problem I have is that Fitzgerald tries too hard to show his education. The book is full of poetry and literary references. It is written much as a college student would write a paper to try to impress the professor and thus get a high grade, rather than in a manner that is appropriate to the telling of a story. Fitzgerald is, of course, at this point in his life not far removed from Princeton and perhaps is still writing as a college student.

In the end, then, we should read This Side of Paradise for the beauty of the language and not be overly concerned with the story line and characters.
70 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Beautiful book for the young, or young at heart 5 juin 2004
Par Candace Scott - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This was one of my favorite books when I was 15 years old. I read it several times and carried it with me around the dreary halls of the oppresive, boring land called High School. Even as a kid I sensed Fitzgerald's amazing writing gift: his effortless way of painting a visual picture in the mind of the reader. He was always extremely funny, off-beat and his charactizations are usually on the mark. Though Amory Blaine's psyche wanders a trifle after the first hundred pages, it's impossible not to gravitate towards him, the things he says and the stunts he pulls.
After 25 years I picked up the book again recently. Dusting off my old copy, I re-read the pages that had so captivated me as a teenager. Time dulls many things and people change. But I still love the book and think it's a brilliant first novel. Though it's sappy in spots and it definitely lags at the end, Fitzgerald still had a beautiful ability to harness the emotions of the reader into a world now vanished. It's not his most complete or mature work by a wide margin, but it matters not. This is still a great book, especially for young people or those still a kid at heart.
45 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Unperfected Prose... A Perfect Story 30 juin 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Reading some of these reviews has proven to be depressing - in the sense that everyone is focusing on the youthful 'flaws' of this novel. Perhaps it is not comparable in brilliance to Gatsby - but kids-Fitzgerald was a rarest of species-he was a literary genius and Gatsby was his masterpiece! 'This Side'...may have been his first attempt out but never the less a marvelous portrait of being young in the 20th Century. It's shameful that people constantly compare this story to Gatsby, his Sistine Chapel of novels. No, this is simply a terrific story - and it truly is. Amory Blaine is an exceedinlgy likeable protagonist(something all the 'young hip'writers of today seem to forget to have), his images are portraits and his prose are just beginning to blossom. Indeed, this a youthfully 'flawed' novel by a young genius - which still equals an excellent work of fiction. - Oh, and if one reads this book and does not like Amory Blaine, that someone either forgot what it was to be young - or simply doesn't want to be reminded. Ciao.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
from the master of poetic prose 22 mai 2006
Par Fitzgerald Fan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
As much as I would love to give F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel five stars, the fact that it is a mere shadow of "The Great Gatsby" (my all time favorite novel) holds me back.
It amazes me to think that he wrote this when he was only twenty-three years old, and yet the vanity and arrogance expressed by Amory Blaine and his generation is suggestive of youth and the ideas of invincibility.
Without doubt this is a smartly written, witty novel yet also highly indicative of how truth and experience are blindsided by youth, beauty, and the hauteur of the newly educated. Perhaps the best aspect of the novel, for me as a diehard Fitzgerald fan, is his signature of wonderfully poetic prose. There is something about the way he crafts a sentence that allows for every sense to be involved. You can not only hear and see what he says, but smell and touch it as well. Despite the intellectualism involved in his writings, it is his poetic honesty that speaks to me on a visceral level. He is simply a genius in this respect. In reading this work, one can only consider "The Great Gatsby" as a natural progression of the privileged wealth and leisure demonstrated here. And on another note, there is also a great deal of recognizable autobiography going on in the text which adds to the authenticity of the story.
And lastly, this is the book that "sealed" the marriage between F. Scott and Zelda...perhaps the most tragically romantic marriage to date, at least in my opinion.
And with this, I will leave you with a quote from the book:

"While the rain drizzled on, Amory looked futiley back at the stream of his life, all its glittering and dirty shallows. To begin with, he was still afraid--not physically afraid anymore, but afraid of people and prejudice and misery and monotony. Yet deep in his bitter heart he wondered if he was after all worse than this man or the next. He knew that he could sophisticate himself finally into saying that his own weakness was just the result of circumstances and environment; that often when he raged at himself as an egotist something would whisper ingratiatingly--'No. Genius!'"
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