Charles Scruggs

Charles Scruggs, Emeritus Professor, University of Arizona

Monday, November 6, 2023,


ASA Koffler Great Room  and Zoom



American writer and designer, Edith Wharton, used her insider’s knowledge of New York aristocracy to realistically portray the lives and morals of the Gilded Age. In 1921, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for her novel The Age of Innocence.  F. Scott Fitzgerald is best known for his novels depicting the flamboyance and excess of the Jazz Age — a term he coined in his short story collection Tales of the Jazz Age.

The meeting of these two well respected authors was described by the editors of Edith Wharton’s letters as “one of the better known failed encounters in the American literary annals”.

Despite this, and although Wharton saw herself as an American Victorian as opposed to Fitzgerald the “Modernist,” Fitzgerald revered Wharton. He saw her as anticipating many of his own themes about money, class, and time.   In his presentation, Professor Scruggs will discuss their works and contrast these two iconic American authors.

Professor Scruggs is the author of The Sage in Harlem: H.L. Mencken and the Black Writers of the 1920s (Johns Hopkins UP, 1984); Sweet Home: Invisible Cities in the Afro-American Novel (Johns Hopkins UP, 1993), and co-author of Jean Toomer and the Terrors of American History (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998) and Hemingway and the Black Renaissance (Ohio State UP, 2012). He has also published articles on Charles Chesnutt, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, Jessie Fauset, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Ernest Hemingway, John Fowles, Raymond Chandler, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, George Orwell and on American film noir.

Compiled and Edited by Margo Vroman, Academy Village Volunteer

You can connect to Zoom either by using the following URL: or by opening a browser to and typing in Meeting ID: 954 5651 1620 and Passcode: 85747 

Nov 6: “Boats Against the Current”: The Fiction of Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald