LitReading - Classic Short Stories

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Episode Summary

Would it be better to start life as an old man and end it as an infant? That was the question posed by Mark Twain that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write his short story, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

Episode Notes

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was first published in Colliers Magazine in 1922, during a period in which its author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his young wife, Zelda were suffering financial difficulties. His novel, The Great Gatsby had been a commercial failure (it didn’t become truly popular until after Fitzgerald’s death.

The incredible tale of a child who ages in reverse, Fitzgerald wrote that the story of Benjamin Button was “inspired by a remark of Mark Twain’s to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end. By trying the experiment upon only one man in a perfectly normal world I have scarcely given his idea a fair trial.”

The 2008 movie, of the same name, starring Brad Pitt was only loosely based on Fitzgerald’s short story so you will find this rendition remarkably different.

Finally, success eluded Fitzgerald for most of his life. After committing his mentally ill wife, Zelda to an institution in Asheville NC, he moved to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter. An alcoholic for his entire adult life, Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940 at age 44. Today, he is considered, by many, to be one of the ten best American writers of all time. The fame he sought in life finally occurred posthumously.