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Tales of the Jazz Age

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Tales of the Jazz Age, first editionFirst edition
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Also known as
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Tales of the Jazz Age

First publication
"May Day", The Smart Set (magazine), 1920
"The Diamond as Big as the Ritz", The Smart Set (magazine), 1922
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", Colliers (magazine), 1922

First book publication

Literary form

Literary, fantasy, satire

Writing language

Author's country
United States

10 stories, approx. 81,500 words

Notable lines

There had been a war fought and won and the great city of the conquering people was crossed with triumphal arches and vivid with thrown flowers of white, red, and rose. All through the long spring days the returning soldiers marched up the chief highway behind the strump of drums and the joyous, resonant wind of the brasses, while merchants and clerks left their bickerings and figurings and, crowding to the windows, turned their white-bunched faces gravely upon the passing battalions.

— First lines, "May Day"

As long ago as 1860 it was the proper thing to be born at home. At present, so I am told, the high gods of medicine have decreed that the first cries of the young shall be uttered upon the anaesthetic air of a hospital, preferably a fashionable one. So young Mr. and Mrs. Roger Button were fifty years ahead of style when they decided, one day in the summer of 1860, that their first baby should be born in a hospital. Whether this anachronism had any bearing upon the astonishing history I am about to set down will never be known. I shall tell you what occurred, and let you judge for yourself.

— First lines, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

This don't pretend to be "Literature". This is just a tale for red-blooded folks who want a story and not just a lot of "psychological" stuff or "analysis". Boy, you'll love it! Read it here, see it in the movies, play it on the phonograph run it through the sewing machine.

— First lines, "Jemina"

After all, what is brilliance? Merely the tact to sow when no one is looking and to reap when everyone is.

— "Mr. Icky"

It isn't given for us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal. A moment too late and we can never reach them any more in this world. They will not be cured by our most efficacious drugs or slain with our sharpest swords.

— "The Freshest Boy"

All life is just a progression toward, and then a recession from, one phrase— "I love you."

— "The Offshore Pirate"

Then he took a taxi to the room where he had been living on East Twenty-seventh Street, and, leaning across the table that held his drawing materials, fired a cartridge into his head just behind the temple.

— Last line, "May Day"

"Turn up your coat collar, little girl, the night’s full of chill and you’ll get pneumonia. His was a great sin who first invented consciousness. Let us lose it for a few hours."

So wrapping himself in his blanket he fell off to sleep.

— Last lines, "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz"

Then it was all dark, and his white crib and the dim faces that moved above him, and the warm sweet aroma of the milk, faded out altogether from his mind.

— Last line, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

But it was too late. He had angered Providence by resisting too many temptations. There was nothing left but heaven, where he would meet only those who, like him, had wasted earth.

— Last lines, "O Russet Witch!".


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