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Anthony Davian on Second Acts

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

"There are no second acts in American lives" is an often misquoted line attributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald, but this is hardly the correct quote, nor the correct context states Anthony Davian.

There are dozens of entertainers, sports figures, politicians and American cities that could disprove Fitzgerald’s sentiment. The quote first showed up in “My Lost City,” a 1932 essay by Fitzgerald. But the quote’s not complete: “I once thought that there were no second acts in American lives, but there was certainly to be a second act to New York's boom days.” Essentially, the idea that once one has lost their (fill-in-the-blank) they can’t recover isn’t true, at least in Fitzgerald’s mind for New York City according to Anthony Davian. Given the city’s brush with bankruptcy and the tragedy of 9/11, the city that never sleeps also never quite gives up, even today. Cities and people cannot forget their past lives, but apparently can move past them according to Anthony Davian.

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