Tender Is the Night is a novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was his fourth and final completed novel, and was first published in Scribner’s Magazine between January-April, 1934 in four issues. The title is taken from the poem “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats.
In 1932, Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was hospitalized for schizophrenia in Baltimore, Maryland. The author rented the “la Paix” estate in the suburb of Towson to work on this book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychoanalyst, and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients. It was Fitzgerald’s first novel in nine years, and the last that he would complete. While working on the book he several times ran out of cash and had to borrow from his editor and agent and write short stories for commercial magazines. The early 1930s, when Fitzgerald was conceiving and working on the book, were the darkest years of his life and, accordingly, the novel has its bleak elements.
Two versions of this novel are in print. The first version, published in 1934, uses flashbacks; the second, revised version, prepared by Fitzgerald’s friend and noted critic Malcolm Cowley on the basis of notes for a revision left by Fitzgerald, is ordered chronologically and was first published posthumously in 1948. Critics have suggested that Cowley’s revision was undertaken due to negative reviews of the temporal structure of the first version of the book.