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Interview with Eugene Mirabelli

From WAMC, Northeast Public Radio:

Eugene MirabelliEugene Mirabelli is the author of eight novels, plus short stories, poems, many journalistic pieces and numerous book reviews. We speak with him about his book, Renato, the Painter: An Account of His Youth & His 70th Year in His Own Words.

http://www.wamc.org/post/renato-painter

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The Art of the Novella: May Day by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the spring of 1919, the world was recovering from the catastrophe of World War I, which had ended with an armistice in November of 1918. The Paris Peace Conference had begun in January of 1919 which would result in the signing of the TF. Scott Fitzgeraldreaty of Versailles in June. The economic inequities of the Gilded Age had been exacerbated by the war, but the working class soldiers, who had borne the heaviest burden, were returning home and were no longer complacent. The war had taken its toll on the social fabric of society. There had been a communist revolution in Russia and there was unrest everywhere else in the world including the United States. Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists were agitating against the status quo in cities across the United States. In April, at least thirty bombs had been sent by mail to a cross-section of prominent public figures – politicians, businessmen, and newspaper editors – by anarchists. The bombs were intended to explode on May 1, the official day of international solidarity for the Socialist and Communist movements. Several of them were detected early and because of their distinctive packaging, the Postal Service was able to recover the rest of them before they had reached their intended targets.

When May 1st came, the worst riot was in Cleveland, but there were demonstrations in other cities as well, New York included. F. Scott Fitzgerald was there to witness the mayhem. The Armistice had ended his military service without him ever being sent to fight and he was now struggling to make a living in the advertising business. Unlike his Princeton classmates, he was not among the sons of wealth who attended college in those days and he had to earn a living. Throughout his life, he had moved among that privileged class but he was not a member. His father had been a failed businessman. His mother had some small inherited wealth that kept him in private schools and in all the right social circles and had finally gotten him to Princeton, but he now had to work for a living. Perhaps because of that experience and his upbringing among that social class, he wasn’t particularly suited to working for a living. It was that lack of prospects that had prompted his fiancé to break off their engagement until he could prove he had the means to support her. He wasn’t making it in advertising and things didn’t look good for him.

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