Thursday, April 04, 2013

Rehabilitating Zelda Fitzgerald

This year sees a flurry of interest in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s mad, bad wife – and some surprising revelations, as Therese Anne Fowler found when she was researching her novel on Zelda.

From a piece in the Telegraph...

Zelda, who loved dancing ballet, who enjoyed writing (her works included the semi-autobiographical novel of her rocky marriage, Save Me the Waltz), and who was a talented painter, attempted to pursue her interests as Scott moved them from place to place, searching for the right opportunity to have it all. One prominent critic noted that Zelda was “cleverer than Scott, if the truth were known”. He was greatly angered by her novel, for instance; he felt their life was “his material”. Scott drank more, wrote less, grew more insecure and demanding. Fights, jealousies, and suspicion came to define their life together. The downward spiral that would lead to her breakdown and, later, his had begun. 

Zelda spent much of her later life in mental institutions. But did she really go “insane?” As I dug through material, I got to know a woman who not only wasn’t crazy but was far more intelligent, talented, and clear-thinking than popular culture would have us believe.

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