“The Beautiful and Damned” is a 1922 classic novel written by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, which features a recurring theme of works, the excess and lavishness of the Jazz Ara.
The book is Fitzgerald’s second novel, set in 1920’s prohibition era New York, which tells the story of Harvard-educated, trust fund socialite Anthony Patch and his nonconformist and rebellious wife Gloria Gilbert.
Patch’s close friend from Harvard, Richard Caramel, introduces him to Gilbert, which sees an infatuation gradually become an obsession with her vanity and recklessness.
The young couple fall prey to primary human instincts in an endless frenzy of bacchanalian hedonism.
Patch is an orphan, though heir to his grandfather’s wealth, but finds himself excluded from the will due to his lack of purpose and direction.
The couple’s pleasure-seeking behavior backfires as the Great War ensues, and they find themselves on the brink of poverty.
The book challenges the idleness and morality of the pair, as their friends succeed in life while they spiral into decadence and decay; their lavish lifestyle dissipating, and bickering setting in as their finances worsen.
Due to their poverty, Gilbert attempts to take up acting, but is rejected for her age, and Patch is drafted into the military as the US enters the war.
Fitzgerald’s association with expatriate artists after the First World War had him coin the phrase “lost generation” in reference to the post-war period’s lack of direction, and meaningless wandering of its youth.