Tender Is The Night
Rating: 4.2 /5
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Charles Scribner’s Sons
Publication Date: serial Jan–Apr 1934, book April 1934
Cost: Rs. 440.73 (Kindle edition)
Set in the south of France in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic tale of a young actress, Rosemary Hoyt, and her complicated relationship with the alluring American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth pushed him into a glamorous lifestyle, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s decline.
Lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative, Tender Is the Night was one of the most talked-about books of the year when it was originally published in 1934, and is even more beloved by readers today.
Incest serves as a central theme for this Novel; it recurs again and again, from Devereux and Nicole Warren in its blatant physicality to its artistic manifestation in Rosemary's movie, Daddy's Girl, to its psychological level in Dick Diver's relationship both to Nicole and Rosemary, each of whom plays a girl-child to his father role. Only two women in the novel stand outside this "women's world" — Baby Warren and the Iron Maiden. Dick, as we have seen, sympathizes deeply with the Iron Maiden and is deeply affected by her death.
There are many references to war in the novel, references which provide a continuing metaphor for the disintegration of the Western world, as well as those which enrich the author's descriptions of Dick's state of mind. Dick Diver is associated with all three major American wars. He claims to be a descendant of Mad Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero.
There are references within the novel to a nightingale, suggesting that the same influences that John Keats describes as transforming him as he sat listening to the bird's song are also working upon the characters in the novel.
The phrase 'Tender Is the Night' suggests the dominant mood of the novel, in that the characters are often shrouded in darkness, literal and metaphorical. Their motives, their actions, and their very lives are not illuminated by optimism or self-knowledge.
Ernest Hemingway remarked that, in retrospect, "Tender Is the Night gets better and better" and felt that both he and critics had initially only been interested in dissecting its weaknesses, rather than giving due credit to its merits.
- The film Tender is the Night (1962), based on the novel, starred Jason Robards and Jennifer Jones as the Divers.
- A television mini-series of the book, with script by Dennis Potter, music by Richard Rodney Bennett, and with Mary Steenburgen and Peter Strauss as Nicole and Dick, was made by the BBC and shown in 1985 by the BBC in the United Kingdom, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Canada, and Showtime in the United States.
About the Author:
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1896. He attended Princeton University, joined the United States Army during World War I, and published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920. That same year he married Zelda Sayre and for the next decade the couple lived in New York, Paris, and on the Riviera. Fitzgerald’s novels include The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. He died at the age of forty-four while working on The Last Tycoon. Fitzgerald’s fiction has secured his reputation as one of the most important American writers of the 20th century.