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mono
01-22-2009, 01:26 PM
I finished reading this gem about one week ago. I could not get too attached to the first few chapters, but the pages definitely sucked me in by the end of the first part. It tells a tale of success, frivolity, insanity, adultery, and deceit; not once did I see the ending within sight, and its result seems remiscient upon Lady Chatterly's Lover, Anna Karenina, or even Madame Bovary, yet has the same hauntings of Macbeth. Does anyone have any thoughts?

***SPOILERS***
The irony of Dr. Dick Diver basically having a reciprocation with the situation of his wife, Nicole, seemed especially psychologically surprising. The doctor ended up as the patient, afflicted with depression, alcoholism, broken, poor, while Nicole, after struggling with previous abuse from her father, ended up in success. I would think it safe to say that Dick began his cascade downhill after breaking his Hippocratic oath by falling in love with one of his patients. Does his fate seem just, however? Does his result as a trusted individual in a respectable occupation seem deserved?
Absolutely. I considered Dick Diver, coming from a hardworking American family, a diligent, polite man, worthy of respect, but his later frivolous lifestyle corrupts him to succumb to his appetites, peaking at the beginning of the novel when he encounters Rosemary. He sees himself, I believe, heading towards an awful fate when his good friend, Abe North, gets killed partially as a result of his partying and drinking.
How Nicole Diver, in a way, ends up as the heroine of the novel I found especially genius - a young girl, sexually abused, delirious, tossed into a psychiatric institution, then rises to greatness by her own doing, even after getting somewhat abandoned by her former doctor and husband, Dick, betrayed at the very least. She goes from getting caught in self-mutilation in a restroom to falling in love with Tommy Barban, admitting to it, and running away from him. Quite a jump!
Rosemary confused me. To me, she seems one of the main characters in the first part, but ends up more like a Monet painting in the background - something that affects the entire story, alluring by sight, but deceiving once the eyes get near. Once the novel ended, I wondered what happened to her later in life. Living a lavish, Epicurean lifestyle, young, supported by her mother, she reminds me of a spoiled brat who takes much for granted, and does not consider the results of her actions. Perhaps an actress can act well, but not live well.

I know this novel seems partially autobiographical in part of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Apparently, early in their marriage, his wife, Zelda, fell ill with what they suspected as schizophrenia; sadly, she never recovered, and died years later inside the psychiatric institution, alone. Fitzgerald, distraught by her absence, overwhelmed with medical bills, I heard, fell into poverty, alcoholism, quit writing, and died young himself of a heart condition; if Fitzgerald had lived to continue Tender is the Night, I fear Dick Diver would have left this world in an equally unfortunate, depressing manner.

manolia
02-05-2009, 05:36 AM
I finished reading this gem about one week ago. I could not get too attached to the first few chapters, but the pages definitely sucked me in by the end of the first part. It tells a tale of success, frivolity, insanity, adultery, and deceit; not once did I see the ending within sight, and its result seems remiscient upon Lady Chatterly's Lover, Anna Karenina, or even Madame Bovary, yet has the same hauntings of Macbeth. Does anyone have any thoughts?


I am reading this book as we speak. I have only read about 40 pages (so thanks for the spoiler alert - i have read only the part of your post i am quoting).
Geez i thought it was just me! I too can't feel attached to the first few chapters (i was beginning to think that there's something wrong with my english and i was missing something). What was a bit peculiar is the way he choses to introduce his main "cast". I mean i had to re-read the first few chapters (partly) to remember who is who and who did or said what.
And Rosemary's infatuation with Dick Diver seems a bit odd (i don't believe in love by first sight)..anyway like you said above it really gets more interesting as i read. I really enjoy his prose (but that's no revelation since i've already read and liked The great Gatsby)..i like the words he uses if you know what i mean.
I'll return for more if you are interested in discussing the book ( i guess you do since you posted a thread :D boy i am clever :lol: :lol:)

Virgil
02-05-2009, 09:46 PM
I thought this an under rated gem as well. Dick Diver is such a great 20th century tragic figure. I think Fitzgerald really connected with him.

mono
02-06-2009, 05:52 AM
I am reading this book as we speak. I have only read about 40 pages (so thanks for the spoiler alert - i have read only the part of your post i am quoting).
Geez i thought it was just me! I too can't feel attached to the first few chapters (i was beginning to think that there's something wrong with my english and i was missing something). What was a bit peculiar is the way he choses to introduce his main "cast". I mean i had to re-read the first few chapters (partly) to remember who is who and who did or said what.
And Rosemary's infatuation with Dick Diver seems a bit odd (i don't believe in love by first sight)..anyway like you said above it really gets more interesting as i read. I really enjoy his prose (but that's no revelation since i've already read and liked The great Gatsby)..i like the words he uses if you know what i mean.
I'll return for more if you are interested in discussing the book ( i guess you do since you posted a thread :D boy i am clever :lol: :lol:)
I doubt if there seems anything wrong with your English, manolia; from what it sounds you read and write very well. I hope you enjoy the novel, and would love to discuss it with you, if you feel up to it.
Rosemary, indeed, seems an attractive, alluring figure in the novel, and, not to spoil things too much, seems the most central character, but Fitzgerald has a bit more to offer. To me, Rosemary appeared a greatly immature young woman, slightly pompous, but just the type who falls to infatuation fast, flirts a lot, and appears 'an easy catch' to men.
Seeing that you, Virgil, and I have only posted here (and have no worries of Virgil - he has a good, kind spirit), please post any thoughts you have throughout the novel. I would love to discuss it more. :nod:

mona amon
02-06-2009, 12:15 PM
I read it a long time ago and unfortunately remember nothing at all, except that I thought it was very good at that time.

manolia
02-06-2009, 01:59 PM
Rosemary, indeed, seems an attractive, alluring figure in the novel, and, not to spoil things too much, seems the most central character, but Fitzgerald has a bit more to offer. To me, Rosemary appeared a greatly immature young woman, slightly pompous, but just the type who falls to infatuation fast, flirts a lot, and appears 'an easy catch' to men.


I have mixed feelings concerning Rosemary. She seems very immature as you say but i can't help but think that she also has certain "Lolita" qualities..she does seduce Dick with her girlishness..she seems very innocent but yet not quite. She is aware of her beauty. She is also aware that what she is doing is wrong (since D is married to Nicole) and what makes matters worse is that Nicole is her friend.
Also she is an apathetic character, isn't she? She never objects to anything her mother says (she doesn't seem to have an opinion on anything anyway). We don't even know if she likes being an actress, do we? She shows a bit of reluctance when she is suppossed to meet the director (forgot his name).

I also have to admit that i dislike her mother. She seems like a very controlling woman, but she achieves that in a subtle way, doesn't she? I mean she is the one who literally drags her beautiful teenage daughter and makes an actress out of her (its only fortunate that Rosemary is talented too). She also prevails upon her to go to Europe (after her pneumonia) and what is more surprising when Rosemary admits her love for Dick, she doesn't talk her out of it! Doesn't she look like an opportunist to you? Or is she the exact opposite? A woman who sacrifices her personal life (everything) for her daughters well being? It is early to judge her, i know ( i just started the second book) so i'll see if i change my mind. Fitzgerald does a great jod describing his characters ;)

Reading the first book, i inevitably thought of Felini's "Dolce Vita" (i always think about movies). The hedonistic and somewhat shallow society of the book reminded me of that film (if you've seen it you'll understand what i mean - all those pleasure seeking people, going backwards and forwards all day from one pastime to the next etc). Although i admit that Fitzgerald approaches his characters with sympathy (Felini tends to be sarcastic and a bit cruel sometimes).

mono
02-06-2009, 05:49 PM
I have mixed feelings concerning Rosemary. She seems very immature as you say but i can't help but think that she also has certain "Lolita" qualities..she does seduce Dick with her girlishness..she seems very innocent but yet not quite. She is aware of her beauty. She is also aware that what she is doing is wrong (since D is married to Nicole) and what makes matters worse is that Nicole is her friend.
Also she is an apathetic character, isn't she? She never objects to anything her mother says (she doesn't seem to have an opinion on anything anyway). We don't even know if she likes being an actress, do we? She shows a bit of reluctance when she is suppossed to meet the director (forgot his name).

I also have to admit that i dislike her mother. She seems like a very controlling woman, but she achieves that in a subtle way, doesn't she? I mean she is the one who literally drags her beautiful teenage daughter and makes an actress out of her (its only fortunate that Rosemary is talented too). She also prevails upon her to go to Europe (after her pneumonia) and what is more surprising when Rosemary admits her love for Dick, she doesn't talk her out of it! Doesn't she look like an opportunist to you? Or is she the exact opposite? A woman who sacrifices her personal life (everything) for her daughters well being? It is early to judge her, i know ( i just started the second book) so i'll see if i change my mind. Fitzgerald does a great jod describing his characters ;)
Yes, Rosemary and her mother make quite the dynamic duo, eh? I thought so, too. I had never seen the Lolita-ness in Rosemary, but certainly can agree with that interpretation - interesting idea. :nod: Though Rosemary girlishly and impulsively seduces Dick, I must call him all the weaker for falling victim to her trap; one would think such a well-educated man would have a better head on his shoulders, but que sera, sera.
In retrospect, Rosemary and her mother tend to really feed off of eachother in a somewhat passive-aggressive way; her mother tends to seem overbearing in booking all of her daughter's films, travels, etc., yet when Rosemary tells her of the immoral act of seducing a married man, she basically submissively says "okay, that's all right, dear." It seems almost as if they constantly compete to see 'how far' they can take this project, or 'how extreme' one matter can get. Does that make sense?
I feel very excited for you that you have started the second part. A lot of surprises await you! :D

Reading the first book, i inevitably thought of Felini's "Dolce Vita" (i always think about movies). The hedonistic and somewhat shallow society of the book reminded me of that film (if you've seen it you'll understand what i mean - all those pleasure seeking people, going backwards and forwards all day from one pastime to the next etc). Although i admit that Fitzgerald approaches his characters with sympathy (Felini tends to be sarcastic and a bit cruel sometimes).
I will have to look that film up - thanks!

manolia
02-09-2009, 04:27 AM
Yes, Rosemary and her mother make quite the dynamic duo, eh? I thought so, too. I had never seen the Lolita-ness in Rosemary, but certainly can agree with that interpretation - interesting idea. :nod: Though Rosemary girlishly and impulsively seduces Dick, I must call him all the weaker for falling victim to her trap; one would think such a well-educated man would have a better head on his shoulders, but que sera, sera.

Yeah, Dick turns out to be quite a disappointment. I finished the book yesterday (i liked it very much) and i was really saddened by his fate. He is indeed very weak.

You know, while reading the book i kept thinking that the "world" of the book is a man's world. Women are very insecure, indesicisive, waiting for instruction and/or for a man to make things good, to take responsibility etc (being a woman i am ok with that when i read a book, i always have in mind when the book was written). But despite Dick's living in a man's world he is "tortured" by the women in his life.
Nicole (his first seducer, or you could again say that Dick was weak marrying Nicole since he knew her condition), Rosemary and her mother, Baby (who is a powerful figure, quite the opposite to the rest women in the novel). So by the end of the book the only thing one can feel about Dick is pity. Such a briliant mind, such talent lost!

And if you come to think of it his bane were the women in his life. I have the feeling that all of them used him in one way or the other.
For Nicole, dick was a ticket to a normal life, out of the clinic.
For Rosemary and her mother, Dick was an idle flirt (as it turns out), an experiment. Do you recall the conversation between Dick and R's mother right after they return from Paris (after the african man is found dead in R's room)? What R's mother says and how the narrator justifies what she says? (Something along the lines that women can't be called cruel for what they do because this world isn't of their making)
For Baby Dick is the ideal doctor to buy and secure her sister's future (and wash her hands off of all responsibility).

One can argue back and say that Dick too used those women too. Especially Nicole, since one can argue that he married her for her money. There's a passage somewhere in the second book where we get to hear about Dick's father and his treating of the poor and how that effected Dick. And of course there's the clinic, his dream come true, bought with Nicole's money.
What do you think about that?



In retrospect, Rosemary and her mother tend to really feed off of eachother in a somewhat passive-aggressive way; her mother tends to seem overbearing in booking all of her daughter's films, travels, etc., yet when Rosemary tells her of the immoral act of seducing a married man, she basically submissively says "okay, that's all right, dear." It seems almost as if they constantly compete to see 'how far' they can take this project, or 'how extreme' one matter can get. Does that make sense?
I feel very excited for you that you have started the second part. A lot of surprises await you! :D


Yes it does make sense :)
Yes a lot of surprises! First of all Nicole's past. I think that she is a tragic figure too, despite the fact that she gets well in the end.

EDIT
I just read the rest of your opening post. I'll come back to it later. You make some very good points there.

mono
02-09-2009, 08:56 PM
Beautiful interpretation, manolia. :nod:
You saw a lot of things I did not see, particularly with the conversations among Dick and Rosemary's mother. I recall well that specific part of the novel you referred to, after the murder, but cannot place the quote either; I will have to search around for it.
Nicole Diver, I think, seemed a greatly complex character in the novel; towards the beginning, she seems confident, mysterious, witty, and clever, but, once the veil lifts, it turns out she comes from a dark past of victimization and has several 'skeletons in the closet,' so to speak. Dick may have used her, I agree, for she had a lot of monetary worth, and he may have had an ulterior motive, as you suggested, but I think his obvious appetite for 'women in distress' lured him, too; notice how Dick suddenly loses some interest in Rosemary, after she ends up so much more confident, but he had endlessly more attraction for her when she appeared naive and innocent in the beginning of the novel, just so, he seems less compassionate for Nicole when she gains indepedent strength.
Undeniably, I strongly agree with you that a trend of weak women appear in the novel, but also an uprising and strengthening, while Dr. Dick Diver falls backwards in success, and ends up as somewhat of a wanderer in his profession. A true shame, for I cannot help but feel pitiful for the poor fellow. That quotation you alluded to, I think, would fit in this reference, too - perhaps of a world created by man coming to failure?
Excellent ideas. :)

manolia
02-10-2009, 02:43 PM
The irony of Dr. Dick Diver basically having a reciprocation with the situation of his wife, Nicole, seemed especially psychologically surprising. The doctor ended up as the patient, afflicted with depression, alcoholism, broken, poor, while Nicole, after struggling with previous abuse from her father, ended up in success. I would think it safe to say that Dick began his cascade downhill after breaking his Hippocratic oath by falling in love with one of his patients. Does his fate seem just, however? Does his result as a trusted individual in a respectable occupation seem deserved?

You make two good points here. I didn't view it in this light but it's actually true. Hehe since you brought up Hippocrates i can bring up Nemesis :p It's like Dick is punished isn't it? He didn't listen to his peers when they advised him not to marry Nicole and he suffers the consequencies.
Yes he ends up as a patient. I'd further add that during all his married life with Nicole he was more like a doctor to her than a husband. When he isn't needed anymore as a doctor he stops being her husband!! Their whole life together was more like a project, a scientific experiment.



Absolutely. I considered Dick Diver, coming from a hardworking American family, a diligent, polite man, worthy of respect, but his later frivolous lifestyle corrupts him to succumb to his appetites, peaking at the beginning of the novel when he encounters Rosemary. He sees himself, I believe, heading towards an awful fate when his good friend, Abe North, gets killed partially as a result of his partying and drinking.

To this i can only add that despite his decent up bringing it seems that he hasn't build up defences.
In the beginning of their marriage, he prevails upon Nicole and they seem to lead a simple life, not spending much etc He wants to be the one that brings food upon the table. But that doesn't last long.
What is more weird is that before he marries Nicole he has a conversation with Baby. Baby isn't aware of his feelings at the time and she confesses that she wants to find a psychiatrist-husband for Nicole. Although Dick is revolted by the idea that the rich upper class family wants to "buy" Nicole a doctor he goes on, marries her and ends up playing the exact role! What an irony!



How Nicole Diver, in a way, ends up as the heroine of the novel I found especially genius - a young girl, sexually abused, delirious, tossed into a psychiatric institution, then rises to greatness by her own doing, even after getting somewhat abandoned by her former doctor and husband, Dick, betrayed at the very least. She goes from getting caught in self-mutilation in a restroom to falling in love with Tommy Barban, admitting to it, and running away from him. Quite a jump!



I know this novel seems partially autobiographical in part of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Apparently, early in their marriage, his wife, Zelda, fell ill with what they suspected as schizophrenia; sadly, she never recovered, and died years later inside the psychiatric institution, alone. Fitzgerald, distraught by her absence, overwhelmed with medical bills, I heard, fell into poverty, alcoholism, quit writing, and died young himself of a heart condition; if Fitzgerald had lived to continue Tender is the Night, I fear Dick Diver would have left this world in an equally unfortunate, depressing manner.

Yes that was a really good and clever twist of the plot.
I wondered if that is possible though. Do schizophrenics get cured? Can a sad incident like the one that happened to Nicole cause schizophrenia (or the schizophrenia is there and is merely triggered by the sad incident)? I guess we must ask Dick ;)
I know a schizophrenic person. He was perfectly normal till the age of 25. Then something happened (a great emotional stress, don't quite recall) and he started imagining things. He believed that he was constantly being followed etc.

So the book is in a sense autobiographical? I read about that in the introduction..sad story.
I also read that Fitzgerald wanted to revise the book. He wanted it to start from the second book and start the story from the beginning. But he died and he didn't have the chance to do it. What do you think about that? Would it be better if the plot followed a linear narration?



Rosemary confused me. To me, she seems one of the main characters in the first part, but ends up more like a Monet painting in the background - something that affects the entire story, alluring by sight, but deceiving once the eyes get near. Once the novel ended, I wondered what happened to her later in life. Living a lavish, Epicurean lifestyle, young, supported by her mother, she reminds me of a spoiled brat who takes much for granted, and does not consider the results of her actions. Perhaps an actress can act well, but not live well.

I like the Monet allusion :)
I think Rosemary is there to fulfill two purposes. The one is to play the catalyst in Dick's life (that's quite obvious).
The second (that's not something i thought. I read it in the intro of my copy of the book) is the means to let us watch the Divers as other people view them. She makes us see and believe that the Divers are fascinating, mysterious, alluring, interesting etc. That's also a very clever technique. Fitzgerald could have used his "unseen" narrator and say all those nice things about the divers and what we as readers are suppossed to think about them, but he uses Rosemary instead and that is way more convincing.



Dick may have used her, I agree, for she had a lot of monetary worth, and he may have had an ulterior motive, as you suggested, but I think his obvious appetite for 'women in distress' lured him, too; notice how Dick suddenly loses some interest in Rosemary, after she ends up so much more confident, but he had endlessly more attraction for her when she appeared naive and innocent in the beginning of the novel, just so, he seems less compassionate for Nicole when she gains indepedent strength.


Hehe yeah you're right. The old damsel in distress motive. It is quite true. He likes that. He also seems to like being superior to the woman next to him. He can never accept that Nicole has more money than he does. Nicole can never advise him in anything it seems. When Tommy observes that Dick's been drinking too much and he insists on Nicole saying something to him, Nicole expostulates something along the lines of "me? give Dick advice?"

One point i wanted to adress is the old Europe vs America conflict which is present in many places in the book (and often takes the shape of "Americans with pockets full of money"). But this post is too long already, so i'll do this latter :)

mono
02-10-2009, 05:40 PM
Very interesting ideas, manolia - you have offered a lot of insight to the novel that I failed to see. :nod:

I wondered if that is possible though. Do schizophrenics get cured? Can a sad incident like the one that happened to Nicole cause schizophrenia (or the schizophrenia is there and is merely triggered by the sad incident)? I guess we must ask Dick ;)
Unfortunately, no, no cure exists; just like any chronic disorder an individual will go through remissions and exacerbations, and I apologize, manolia, to hear of your friend - I wish the best for him.
Many times the gene that codes for a cognitive disorder like schizophrenia exists, but only gains exposure through traumatic experiences, then human DNA multiplies (as it does, regardless), further exposing the gene; unfortunately, many post-combat soldiers experience delirium, for example.

I also read that Fitzgerald wanted to revise the book. He wanted it to start from the second book and start the story from the beginning. But he died and he didn't have the chance to do it. What do you think about that? Would it be better if the plot followed a linear narration?
After finishing Part I of the novel, when it began jumping back plot-wise years, it confused me a bit at first, but in retrospect I loved the non-linear flow, because it makes the reader go back to Part I and say "oooh, aaah, so that's what happened!" :D
This seems a common trend in literature of this era, hiding bits and pieces of the plot from the reader, then presenting everything as the novel proceeds; it gave Tender is the Night a bit of an absurdist fate for Dick, but I felt happy Fitzgerald did not change a thing. What do you think?

One point i wanted to adress is the old Europe vs America conflict which is present in many places in the book (and often takes the shape of "Americans with pockets full of money"). But this post is too long already, so i'll do this latter :)
Of course, whenever you have the chance.
Great discussing this with you, manolia.

Chava
02-10-2009, 05:51 PM
I actually bought this not so long ago, I've been wondering what Ishould start to read after Kerouac, but now I'm pretty interested.

mono
02-10-2009, 06:03 PM
I actually bought this not so long ago, I've been wondering what Ishould start to read after Kerouac, but now I'm pretty interested.
As much as I loved The Great Gatsby, I much preferred Tender is the Night, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes F. Scott Fitzgerald, or enjoys this era of literature. I hope to read This Side of Paradise sometime soon, but will try not to get into it with high expectations, as I have done in the past with other authors. :eek:

Chava
02-10-2009, 06:05 PM
but will try not to get into it with high expectations, as I have done in the past with other authors. :eek:

Fatal error. I'll pick up Tender is the Night next time I'm at my appartment. Looking foreward now.

manolia
02-12-2009, 01:44 PM
Unfortunately, no, no cure exists; just like any chronic disorder an individual will go through remissions and exacerbations, and I apologize, manolia, to hear of your friend - I wish the best for him.
Many times the gene that codes for a cognitive disorder like schizophrenia exists, but only gains exposure through traumatic experiences, then human DNA multiplies (as it does, regardless), further exposing the gene; unfortunately, many post-combat soldiers experience delirium, for example.

Thanks!
You seem to know a lot about these things. You sound like a medical man.
Geez i admire all medical related professions..so important and one need a strong stomach to perform them..my mom works in the hospital..not sure how her profession is called in english though :blush: not a nurse, not a doctor.
For my part i feel really dizzy in hospitals and i hate needles :eek2: (child trauma :lol:)



After finishing Part I of the novel, when it began jumping back plot-wise years, it confused me a bit at first, but in retrospect I loved the non-linear flow, because it makes the reader go back to Part I and say "oooh, aaah, so that's what happened!" :D
This seems a common trend in literature of this era, hiding bits and pieces of the plot from the reader, then presenting everything as the novel proceeds; it gave Tender is the Night a bit of an absurdist fate for Dick, but I felt happy Fitzgerald did not change a thing. What do you think?

In general i prefer linear narration. But i've read many books where non linear narration works well. This was one of them. If the narration was linear the book would have lost the element of surprise.

One thing that was interesting in this book (and in some places it made me giggle too) was the america vs europe conflict. The most striking instance was the medical conference Dick was suppossed to participate in. I like how the narrator describes Dick's thoughts on the matter. How the european professors seem to run the show and make all the decissions and suggestions, expecting valid input from european doctors only (like america has nothing to offer) but the americans are the ones with the necessary funds :lol: so the snotty european professors yield in the end.

Or when the flood of american tourists is described. They are literally everywhere..and especially when Dick goes to Rome and we view the natives from his point of view..he even calls them stinkers (ok, he's in a very bad period of his life so the reader can excuse him).

Another striking example is Franz and his wife. They need Nicole's american money to buy the clinic..and as we keep reading we realise that they don't even like Nicole (Franz's wife at least). Nicole cringes at any personal contact with that woman and she on her part thinks that Nicole shuns her because she smells bad :lol: (and here the unseen narrator says something about american women who are more materialistic than european - that could be true at that particular era since the biggest part of europe was greatly damaged by the war).

Oh and the incident with the french drunkard cook who is caught drinking Dick's expensive wine? She is at fault and instead of apologising she starts swearing the american couple and their money and how they get to drink France's best wines.

Or when Franz admits that he thought (when he first met Dick) that Dick was a british guy (because he couldn't believe that such a genious could come from the US).

EDIT
Chava i agree with mono. Tender is the night is more interesting than Great Gatsby. Both good books, excellent prose but the subject matter in TITN is far more interesting, at least to me.

mono
02-13-2009, 08:06 PM
In general i prefer linear narration. But i've read many books where non linear narration works well. This was one of them. If the narration was linear the book would have lost the element of surprise.
Same here, I tend to lean more towards linear narration than non-linear, but the authors who can write non-linear often do it well - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert seems a great example. :nod:

One thing that was interesting in this book (and in some places it made me giggle too) was the america vs europe conflict. The most striking instance was the medical conference Dick was suppossed to participate in. I like how the narrator describes Dick's thoughts on the matter. How the european professors seem to run the show and make all the decissions and suggestions, expecting valid input from european doctors only (like america has nothing to offer) but the americans are the ones with the necessary funds :lol: so the snotty european professors yield in the end.

Or when the flood of american tourists is described. They are literally everywhere..and especially when Dick goes to Rome and we view the natives from his point of view..he even calls them stinkers (ok, he's in a very bad period of his life so the reader can excuse him).

Another striking example is Franz and his wife. They need Nicole's american money to buy the clinic..and as we keep reading we realise that they don't even like Nicole (Franz's wife at least). Nicole cringes at any personal contact with that woman and she on her part thinks that Nicole shuns her because she smells bad :lol: (and here the unseen narrator says something about american women who are more materialistic than european - that could be true at that particular era since the biggest part of europe was greatly damaged by the war).

Oh and the incident with the french drunkard cook who is caught drinking Dick's expensive wine? She is at fault and instead of apologising she starts swearing the american couple and their money and how they get to drink France's best wines.

Or when Franz admits that he thought (when he first met Dick) that Dick was a british guy (because he couldn't believe that such a genious could come from the US).
Yes, I would not consider myself a 'proud-to-be-American' type these days, yet, even as an American, I could not but help feel slightly offended, and still do, at these stereotypes and stigmas. Fitzgerald himself, in his time, appeared as an unusual American, though one of the leaders of the Jazz Era - most considered him frivolous, materialistic, Hedonistic, yet highly intelligent; unfortunately, his unwise choices during life led him to an early end, too.
I did not think of it until reading your post that there seems a lot of struggle between nations in this generation of literature - for obvious reasons we see it in A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, nearly anything by Ernest Hemginway (mainly Spain, France, and American), France and Russia in War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, the multiple different cultures in Moby Dick by Herman Melville - there seems an assumed prejudice, sometimes violent, sometimes psychological, where everyone sticks up for each other if they own the same origins, but hold true to their assumptions that an American physician 'should not be this intelligent.'
What a mad world! :lol:

ThousandthIsle
05-20-2009, 04:46 PM
Rosemary confused me. To me, she seems one of the main characters in the first part, but ends up more like a Monet painting in the background - something that affects the entire story, alluring by sight, but deceiving once the eyes get near. Once the novel ended, I wondered what happened to her later in life. Living a lavish, Epicurean lifestyle, young, supported by her mother, she reminds me of a spoiled brat who takes much for granted, and does not consider the results of her actions. Perhaps an actress can act well, but not live well.


Much is made of Rosemary's innocence and the fact that she is impressionable - she sees the Divers the way that they present themselves: as a glamorous, intoxicating, attractive couple. Once the illusion they cast starts to crack and the messiness and imperfections beneath their dazzling exterior begins to show through, Rosemary's perspective is no longer important. She served to show us through young adoring eyes how the Divers were at their height, before Dick's fall, and independent of Nicole's dark past. Rosemary's eyes (in Book 1) allowed us to lap up the glamour of the Divers, while Book 2 and Book 3 expose the superficiality.

mono
05-21-2009, 07:34 PM
Rosemary confused me. To me, she seems one of the main characters in the first part, but ends up more like a Monet painting in the background - something that affects the entire story, alluring by sight, but deceiving once the eyes get near. Once the novel ended, I wondered what happened to her later in life. Living a lavish, Epicurean lifestyle, young, supported by her mother, she reminds me of a spoiled brat who takes much for granted, and does not consider the results of her actions. Perhaps an actress can act well, but not live well.Much is made of Rosemary's innocence and the fact that she is impressionable - she sees the Divers the way that they present themselves: as a glamorous, intoxicating, attractive couple. Once the illusion they cast starts to crack and the messiness and imperfections beneath their dazzling exterior begins to show through, Rosemary's perspective is no longer important. She served to show us through young adoring eyes how the Divers were at their height, before Dick's fall, and independent of Nicole's dark past. Rosemary's eyes (in Book 1) allowed us to lap up the glamour of the Divers, while Book 2 and Book 3 expose the superficiality.
Totally agreed, and thanks for your input. With her shallow characteristics, it would seem easy to say that she made the Divers into something similar to idols - things (almost literally things) practically held in such regard as worthy as worship; she never felt satisfied, despite what her mother spoiled her with, and others admired her not for her, but for what she portrayed as an actress. I suppose one can easily see that I detested her character, in fact, everything about her - shallow, frivolous, senseless, and without common sense.

Kimberli Kalish
08-31-2009, 03:50 PM
To the folks who were confused about the first two chapters of "Tender" I'd like to ask which version are you reading? The first time I read the book, in the early 1980s, I read what had been originally published by Scribners and edited a great deal by Max Perkins (if I am not mistaken). The book was chronological rather than in flashback and I remember, while reading it, feeling slightly bored in the first two chapters and thinking something was amiss. Years later I read a SPECIAL EDITION that had the chapters in the way Fitzgerald originally intended (and fought with his editors about) and it started in the "middle of the story" with action and vibrant characters.

Back then, the editors thought readers would not be able to make the flashback jump. But by the 1970's even Mario Puzo's "The Godfather" was in flashback. So a release of "Tender" had merit. The linear construction was not needed. However, the release of this re-arranged edition was posthumous and may have had some gaps as well.

"Tender" was not unfinished in the sense that "The Last Tycoon" was an unfinished draft. There were actually too many "cooks in the kitchen" with opinions and editors involved in "Tender." I seem to recall from reading a Brucolli bio on Fitzgerald that "Tender" took longer to write and was a more emotionally painful process. While "Gatsby" is edited tighter (kudos to Max here) "Tender" is a more mature work because the author was more mature at the time.

**SPOILER***His short story "Head and Shoulders" also featured the wife becoming more successful than the mate (house husbands were uncommon in the 1920s) and I think it showed his sincere desire for Zelda to get well even if it meant him losing his personal power (like Diver).

Unfortunately we know, from Nancy Mitford's biography "Zelda" that Scott's abusive jerky side when he was drunk snatched back the power and intimidated Zelda in her efforts to write (even though editors and therapists encouraged her). Any positive comments Scott made when sober were wiped out by drunk sarcasm and sometimes physically ripping up her work. He didn't like her writing about their shared experiences but he felt free to mine her diaries for "southern belle" characterizations. So one wonders if he didn't hope, in writing about Nicole, that Zelda would muster up the strength to walk away. However, his loyalty, passion, and Catholic idea of marriage for life meant that he would not be doing the walking. He would remain married to Zelda even while living with Sheila Graham in Hollywood.

Today's AA, the 12 step program and programs for co-dependent spouses were not readily available in the 1930s, so the idea of detaching from a symbiotic relationship in a healthy way was not yet explored. The Betty Ford clinic did not exist. And so while Fitzgerald could expose and dissect the disease for his audiences, he could not cure it.

Elizabeth19
06-15-2012, 06:05 AM
Iíll start with the reason why I have read this book. It was my task for English classes. Thatís a very peculiar work. Me and my friends at the university we havenít quite understand the ideas, the conflicts, the motivation of some charactersí actions.
Linear or non linear narration, it doesnít matter, but I expected the conflicts, the problems. I expected that all the events would be complications of the plot, then it would be the climax and denouement. But the story was dull, with many details which have nothing in common with the plotline. maybe, these details reveal the inner world of the characters, but the author did his best to make their inner world uninteresting to me.
Just a few thoughts about the characters. I suppose, Rosemary didnít fall in love with Dick by the first sight.

. We don't even know if Rosemary likes being an actress, do we? She shows a bit of reluctance when she is suppossed to meet the director (forgot his name).
I think, yes. She liked to be an actress, and in life she continued to play. The girl needed strong emotions, so she persuaded herself that she was in love.
Rosemaryís mother treat her daughter awfully. For her, Rosemary is a future source of money. Of new impressions, too. They both have forgotten that life is not cinema.
As for Dick, I really donít know what his tragedy is. Was he forced to marry Nicole? Didnít he know about possible consequences, I mean her illness? So he had to admit the responsibility.
So my general opinion is negative.

PoeticPassions
06-15-2012, 07:35 AM
First of all, I would like to say, I miss mono. Why did he leave us? He hasn't been around for years, but he is still one of my favorite lit-netters to have graced this forum...

Anyway, I'm sad I did not engage in this discussion while he was still around, because Tender is the Night is my favorite Fitzgerald piece. Dick Diver, as well as Fitzgerald himself, are two of the most interesting figures... I think the novel is a beautiful insight into the self.destructive tendencies of humans as well as a look at desire, beauty, love and morality. Because I loved this book so much, I reread it again less than a year ago... I definitely had a different experience this time. I disliked Rosmary and Nicole quite a bit more, and I felt frustration with Dick...

And I want to note that I like the non-linearity, the irrationality and the chaos of the novel...

KCurtis
06-15-2012, 06:32 PM
Anyway, I'm sad I did not engage in this discussion while he was still around, because Tender is the Night is my favorite Fitzgerald piece. Dick Diver, as well as Fitzgerald himself, are two of the most interesting figures... I think the novel is a beautiful insight into the self.destructive tendencies of humans as well as a look at desire, beauty, love and morality. Because I loved this book so much, I reread it again less than a year ago... I definitely had a different experience this time. I disliked Rosmary and Nicole quite a bit more, and I felt frustration with Dick...

And I want to note that I like the non-linearity, the irrationality and the chaos of the novel...
While The Great Gatsby is my favorite book, and Fitzgerald my favorite writer, I too liked this book very much. And I agree with your thoughts about it. I liked Nicole- probably because she had strength at the end. I thought Dick showed awful behavior, but felt sorry for him-especially at the end of the story. That's what I like about Fitzgerald so much, his characters are either so three dimensional, and some are not; their shallowness is presented in slowly unfolding, subtle ways. It is a re-read, and there is one paragraph in that book that is such a perfect, exquisite metaphor. It is beautiful, and has to do with a ship leaving a dock, after Dick had left from his fathers funeral.

kelby_lake
11-12-2012, 03:32 PM
I read the linear version before I read the non-linear one. It's a great novel either way but the non-linearity makes it more tragic, as we get glimpses backwards into Dick and Nicole's relationship. Dick annoys me a bit but Nicole is one of the best female characters in the 20th century.

Ecurb
05-04-2018, 11:31 AM
I just read "Tender is the Night" for the first time. I enjoyed it -- but I also have some major reservations about its quality, despite its critical acclaim. It seems to me that the book "cheats". The Divers (and Rosemary, and Barban) are glamorous because of their situations. They are rich. They hang out with other rich ex-pats on the Riviera, or in Swiss ski resorts. They are beautiful But isn't this the tactic of schlock romance novels? Does Dick,or Rosemary, or Nicole ever come to glamorous life through their actions, or dialogue. None of them says anything witty, or interesting (that I remember). Novels (it seems to me) are essentially "dramatic", owing much to the older literary form. Characters come to life through dialogue -- but that never quite happens in "Tender is the Night". Rosemary's infatuation with Dick seems ungrounded. OK. He's good looking. So are a lot of people.

In addition, some of the action of the novel seems dated, forced, and tacky. A duel? Come on. A black man murdered who ends up in Rosemary's bed (and is then forgotten, and has nothing to do with the plot of the novel)? The psychology seems dated -- is Nicole really delusional because of incest? That kind of Freudian explanation seems incredible, by modern standards.

I'm not immune to glamorous fantasies. Who wouldn't want to hang out in ritzy hotels on the Riviera with rich, beautiful ex-pats? But I hope that I would love women for more than their wealth and beauty. I'm reminded of the conversation between Anne Eliot (with whom my sympathy always lies) and her cousin, Mr.Eliot (from Jane Austen's "Persuasion"):


...when Anne ventured to speak her opinion of them to Mr. Elliot, he agreed to their being nothing in themselves, but still maintained that, as a family connexion, as good company, as those who would collect good company around them, they had their value. Anne smiled and said --

"My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."

"You are mistaken," said he gently; "that is not good company; that is the best. Good company requires only birth, education, and manners, and with regard to education is not very nice. Birth and good manners are essential; but a little learning is by no means a dangerous thing in good company; on the contrary, it will do very well.

The Divers may be "good company" in Anne's sense -- Dick is supposedly a brilliant psychiatrist. But they never show it in Fitzgerald's novel. They remain "good company" only for Mr. Eliot.