F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 into a well-to-do Catholic family living in St Paul, Minnesota. At Princeton University he decided to become a writer, leaving without graduating in 1917 to join the army when America entered the First World War. Believing he would be killed at the front, he hurriedly wrote his first novel, but was not sent to Europe. Instead he was assigned to a camp in Alabama, where he met Zelda Sayre and fell in love. The novel, much revised, was published as This Side of Paradise in March 1920 to great critical acclaim and the couple were married a week later. They embarked on an extravagant celebrity lifestyle in New York, which provided much material for The Beautiful and Damned, the second novel, of 1922. By this time their daughter, Scottie, had been born, and Scott and Zelda moved to Long Island, which was to be the setting of the next novel, The Great Gatsby. Years of travel and dissipation followed, and Zelda's health began to break down. Fitzgerald earned only modestly from his novels, living on short stories and screenwriting. His fourth novel Tender is the Night, appeared in 1934, and he was midway through his last when he died in 1940. Estranged from Zelda but impoverished by the cost of her treatments and his own expensive lifestyle, he succumbed to a heart attack in the home of his mistress, aged only 44.