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Zelda Fitzgerald: The Tragic, Meticulously…
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Zelda Fitzgerald: The Tragic, Meticulously Researched Biography of the… (edition 2012)

by Sally Cline (Author)

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Member:timspalding
Title:Zelda Fitzgerald: The Tragic, Meticulously Researched Biography of the Jazz Age's High Priestess
Authors:Sally Cline (Author)
Info:Arcade Publishing (2012), Edition: 1, 496 pages
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Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise by Sally Cline

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Zelda Fitzgerald fascinates me. She is known as a beautiful, talented woman who became an icon of an age, the original 'American flapper', but she was also a troubled, frustrated and deeply unhappy woman. All I could think while reading Sally Cline's intelligent and well researched biography was, 'What if?' Did her marriage to Scott Fitzgerald make Zelda or destroy her? Could she ever have been happy as an independent artist, or did her marriage feed her writing, painting and dancing?

Cline had access to perhaps the most sources, public and private, on Scott and Zelda, so this is a full and fact-based perspective of their life, compared to Milford's pioneering study or Linda Wagner-Martin's rather bitter feminist diatribe. Cline doesn't have to drag Scott down for stifling his wife's many talents or stealing her unique thoughts for his own writing - she lets him do that for himself. After reading the 'discussion' between Zelda, Scott and an 'impartial' referee in 1933, the dialogue recorded by a stenographer, I was tempted to destroy my copy of 'Tender is the Night'. Scott always stole his wife's words for his stories, lifting sections from her diaries and jotting down her witty sayings, but to actually claim that Zelda's experiences in various asylums belonged solely to him as 'material', and that she wasn't allowed to write her own book because it would upstage his work in progress, was taking an incredible liberty. The worst part is that Zelda was originally supportive of Scott's writing - she let him use her words, and put his name to her magazine articles and short stories, because she loved him and put him first. Then, after she was hospitalised and wanted to write for herself, Scott turned on her. He actually called her a 'third rate writer and a third rate ballet dancer', yet couldn't answer why he was then so bothered about Zelda writing for herself. Much of the psychiatric background in 'Tender' is lifted directly from Zelda's own history, and the two central characters are based on friends of theirs. Scott Fitzgerald was a good writer, but he could only write what - and who - he knew, again and again, mostly inspired by his wife and their mutual experiences. Zelda, on the other hand, was an original and lyrical wordsmith, and her fantastic metaphors and sharp wit are uniquely hers.

Anger at Scott Fitzgerald aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this biography, especially after reading Zelda's only completed novel, 'Save Me the Waltz'. I would have liked to see some examples of the art that Cline describes, but I suppose that's a separate book! ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Mar 28, 2010 |
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"According to legend, Zelda Fitzgerald was the mythical American Dream Girl of the Roaring Twenties. She was the archetypal Southern belle who became the "first American flapper," in the words of her husband, the quintessential novelist of the period, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Their romance coincided with the glamour and spectacle of the Jazz Age, and legend has it that when Zelda cracked up, not long after the stock market crash of 1929, Scott remained loyal to her despite her frequent later breakdowns and final madness." "Six years in the making, this powerful biography is the first on Zelda in more than thirty years. In it, Sally Cline presents a far more complex and controversial portrait, and an analysis of the Fitzgerald's marriage very different from what we have been told so far. The Zelda whom Cline reveals was a serious artist: a painter of extraordinary and disturbing vision, a talented dancer, and a witty and dazzlingly original writer whose words and work Scott used in his own novels - often verbatim but never acknowledged. When she moved into what Scott felt was his literary territory, he tried to stifle her voice." "Sally Cline brings us that authentic voice through Zelda's own highly autobiographical writings and through hundreds of letters she wrote to friends and family, publishers and others. Hitherto untapped sources, including medical evidence and interviews with Zelda's last psychiatrist, suggest that her "insanity" may have been less a specific clinical condition than the product of her treatment for schizophrenia and her husband's behavior toward her. Cline shows how Scott's alcoholism, too, was as destructive of Zelda and their marriage as it was of him." "In narrating Zelda's tumultuous life, Cline vividly evokes the circle of Jazz Age friends that included Edmund Wilson, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, and H. L. Mencken, as well as fellow Montgomery, Alabama, exiles Tallulah Bankhead and the writer Sarah Haardt. Her exhaustive research and incisive analysis animate a profoundly moving portrait of Zelda and provide a convincing context to her tragedy."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Arcade Publishing

2 editions of this book were published by Arcade Publishing.

Editions: 1611453046, 1611453984

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