Economic Haunting: Wealth and Waste in The Beautiful and Damned

Thi Huong Giang Bui


Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned (1922) is one of the most successful novels revealing the anxiety over money and waste in the early twentieth century. However, Fitzgerald is not alone in his anxiety over wealth and waste. The period in which he wrote the novel shows the great ambivalence of American public with wealth for Americans believe that they could achieve great wealth and strive for emulating the rich. The great ambivalence has concerned with the gain and the dissipation of the rich and obviously, it has shown successfully in Fitzgerald’s novel. The present study aims to shed light on the life of Anthony Patch whose foundations of romantic ideals are rather based on his idealized world trapped in economic anxiety haunted all his life than his consciousness of the real life. Besides, the study attempts to explain the reasons why Anthony has faced with meaninglessness in life and his psychological loss in the trap of the old aristocracy in life which then makes him become a broken man.

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English Language and Literature Studies   ISSN 1925-4768 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4776 (Online)   E-mail:

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