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Lecture 6

ENG 1120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Babylon Revisited, Unreliable Narrator, Jazz Age

Course Code
ENG 1120
Breid Mc Ilkenny

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Babylon Revisited
February 2, 2016
F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940
American modernist
Belonged to the “Lost Generation”
Hemingway, Stein, Madox Ford, T.S. Eliot, Dos Passos
Directionless and searching for meaning
Disillusioned with traditional American values, felt America was culturally
Many moved to Europe, in particular to Paris
Highly innovated writing style
Fitzgerald was very much a symbol of the jazz age
Made successful use of the unreliable narrator
Babylon Revisited:
- First published in the “Saturday Evening Post” in 1931
Republished in 1935 in Taps at Reveille
- Title alludes to the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis
- Themes of scarcity and abundance
- Present and past in juxtaposition
- Disillusionment with society
- The dissipation of life (Charlie’s urgency to get his daughter back)
- 3rd person limited omniscient
- When he visits the bar, he seems to be caught up in old habits
Gives his brother-in-law’s address to Alix
Paul still has a country house, despite the crash
- Nostalgic about the way the city was, knows the names of many places
The Paris of the 30s is nothing like the Paris of the 20s, overlapping in his
Revisits a number of places he remembers from his youth
- Epistrophy: Repetition of the last word
- Allowed himself to get caught up in atmosphere of the 20s, and regrets it
- “Struggling like a fish, into his arms”
Charlie can’t hold on to her
- Charlie is an outsider looking, Marion clearly doesn’t want him there
Marion never liked him, even before the death of her sister
- Slips up a few times (trying to present himself as reliable, a good father)
Insensitive, especially towards Marion & her husband
- In a kind of purgatory at this point (The Poets Cave, Café of Heaven & Hell)
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