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Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920) was an immediate, spectacular success and established his literary reputation. Perhaps the definitive novel of that Lost Generation, it tells the story of Amory Blaine, a handsome, wealthy Princeton student who halfheartedly involves himself in literary cults, liberal student activities, and a series of empty flirtations with young women. When he finally does fall truly in love, however, the young woman rejects him for another.
After serving in France during the war, Blaine returns to embark on a career in advertising. Still young, but already cynical and world-weary, he exemplifies the young men and women of the '20s, described by Fitzgerald as a generation grown up to find all gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.