Zelda Fitzgerald

AUTHOR AND THE FLAPPER GIRL

zelda-sayre-fitzgerald1Born in 1900 in Alabama, she was born into a life of privilege, her father was a Supreme Court Judge of Alabama. As a teenager, Zelda was a dancer and socialite. She was the flapper girl you think of the 1920’s. She drank, she smoked, she pushed gender norms, and was risqué.

She met F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance, he proposed and she said no. He didn’t have any social standing, but she changed her mind when he got his first book deal.

The book was a hit and both of them became famous. F. Scott was known as the chronicler of the Jazz Age and Zelda was the icon of the 1920’s liberated woman.

Hubby wrote The Great Gatsby and Zelda took up ballet. Zelda was even invited to dance with the Royal Ballet of Italy but she said no because she was writing short stories for magazines and painting.

Now people will say Zelda was F. Scott’s muse. Well, he would actually steal verbatim from her diary and put them in his novels. She didn’t like this and they fought, and drank, and fought some more.

zelda catThe couple didn’t know how to manage money. They traveled a lot, they lived like high society but when the stock market crash of 1929 hit they were in ruins. Zelda was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in mental-health clinics. While in one clinic she wrote Save Me the Waltz (1932) The book was semi-autobiographical about painters with a troubled marriage. Apparently F. Scott was going to use that material too for his next novel but she beat him too it. He then blamed her medical bills on his lack of being able to finish his own work.

Zelda’s book didn’t sell too well, so she wrote a play Scandalabra and then focused on painting. Critics didn’t understand her play or her paintings.

She checked in to Highland Hospital in 1936 and started work on another book. F. Scott moved to Hollywood, struggled with alcoholism and died in 1940. Zelda would die eight years later when the hospital caught fire. She never finished her second book.

The game Legend of Zelda is named after her. Also the song “Witchy Woman” by the Eagles was inspired by Zelda after Don Henley read a biography about her.

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