As he was beginning to start work on the novel that would become The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald had written to his editor, Max Perkins, complaining that, at 27, he had dumped more of his personal experiences into his fiction than anyone else he knew of. This next novel, his new novel, would be different. “In my new novel I’m thrown directly on purely creative work,“ he wrote, “not trashy imaginings as in my stories but the sustained imagination of a sincere and yet radiant world.”
But as he wrote, he ended up drawing on the rowdy elegance of the Roaring Twenties milieu in which he lived to create that radiant world—and devotees have been trying to pin down his real-life inspirations ever since. - Continue reading at Smithsonian.com.