Alcoholic Authors V

No doubt like countless others across the land I have been nursing a World Cup hangover this week. Struggling for inspiration for a blog post I have decided to the take the opportunity to return to my Alcoholic Authors series. Here is Part V:


F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Scott Fitzgerald (September 24th 1896 – December 21st 1940) 

Notable works: This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, Tender Is the   Night.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American author of novels and short stories, who is widely accepted as being one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. An inspiration for a future generation of writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald is best remembered for his seminal work, The Great Gatsby. Adapted for the silver screen on five occasions, The Great Gatsby has sold millions of copies and is required reading in many schools and colleges.

Alcohol and alcoholics hold a prominent place in much of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing, which is perhaps not surprising considering the author was an alcoholic from college days to his death. A notorious exhibitionist who was prone to theatrical displays when under the influence, the iconic author was unwilling to quit his habit and even argued that drinking aided his writing efforts

At the age of forty-four F. Scott Fitzgerald died from an alcohol related heart attack.


John Cheever 

John Cheever (May 27th 1912 – June 18th 1982) 

Notable works: The Enormous Radio, Goodbye, My Brother, The Swimmer.

Sometimes referred to as ‘the Chekhov of the suburbs’, John Cheever is recognized as one of the most important short story writers of the 20th Century.  He also wrote four novels.  A compilation of his short stories, The Stories of John Cleever, won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.In 1982 six weeks prior to his death Cheever was awarded the National Medal for Literature by the Academy of Arts and Letters.

At the height of his literary career Cheever began a twenty-year struggle with alcoholism. The writer’s outward appearance was at odds with his inner condition, and his drinking was presumably a means to cope with his sexual guilt (he was a closet bisexual) and a deep sense of self-loathing. The author did not admit to having a problem with alcohol until he was sent to a rehabilitation center in 1972, the same year that he suffered a massive heart attack. Cheever successfully quit drinking and lived to the relatively old age of seventy.

Click here to read Alcoholic Authors IV


Leave a comment
  • Thanks for sharing Guy. It does make me wonder about the connection between drunkenness and creativity. I was told once that the Beatles wrote a lot of their best music when they were under the influence of drugs but I don’t know how true it is.

    • I was under the impression that the Beatles song – ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ was written whilst under the influence of a certain hallucinogen. Thank you for giving me the idea for a Drug Addicted Author series Diane. Have a good weekend.

  • Enjoyed it thanks. Half the writers in history seem to have been alcoholics well the males ones at least. Dorothy Parker’s the only female I can think of who drunk a lot & you’ve covered her already. I must read The Great Gatsby!

    • There must be more female alcoholic authors, but I also can’t think of any other than the great Dorothy Parker. Perhaps female authors were more reclusive with their drinking habits, due to the fact that women drinking in public was frowned upon in the past.

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