This is a quarantine letter by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was isolated in south of France in 1920 due to the Spanish influenza.”. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Letter to Ernest Hemingway on The Sun Also Rises. Dear Ernest: Nowdays when almost everyone is a genius, at least. “As one of your greatest admirers,” he began, “I want to write to explain an instanceof apparent plagiarism which some suspicious person may presently bring to.
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Between June 1930 and August 1931, after a series of mental health episodes had whittled away at her career, her marriage, and her overall well-being, Zelda Fitzgerald was a patient at Les Rives de Prangins, a clinic in Nyon, Switzerland, where she wasn’t allowed visitors until her treatment had been established. The experience, as one could imagine, was tremendously isolating: once at the center of a lively and glamorous scene, she now found herself utterly alone with her thoughts. Her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, sent short notes and flowers every other day. She wrote long letters in reply, tracing the contours of her mind, expressing both love for and frustration with Scott, and detailing, in luscious, iridescent prose, the nonevents of her days.Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda collects more than three hundred of the couple’s letters to each other. Three of Zelda’s letters from Les Rives de Prangins—carefully transcribed with an eye for accuracy, misspellings and all—appear below.
Zelda Fitzgerald. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Dearest, my Darling—
Living is cold and technical without you, a death mask of itself.
At seven o:clock I had a bath but you were not in the next room to make it a baptisme of all I was thinking.
At eight o:clock I went to gymnastics but you were not there to turn moving into a harvesting of breezes.
At nine o:clock I went to the tissage and an old man in a white stock [smock?] chanted incantations but you were not there to make his imploring voice seem religious.
At noon I played bridge and watched Dr. Forels profile dissecting the sky, contre jour—
All afternoon I’ve been writing soggy words in the rain and feeling dank inside, and thinking of you—When a person crosses your high forehead and slides down into the pleasant valleys about your dear mouth its like Hannibal crossing the Alps—I love you, dear. You do not netteller commercial bank and trust like a person plowing a storm but like a person very surprised at their means of locomotion, hardly touching the earth, as if each step were experimental—
And you are a darling and it must be awful to have a person always trying to creep inside you the way I do—
Good-night, my Sweet Love
Goofy, my darling, hasn’t it been a lovely day? I woke up this morning and the sun was lying like a birth-day parcel on my table so I opened it up and so many happy things went fluttering into the air: love to Doo-do and the remembered feel of our skins cool against each other in other mornings like a school-mistress. And you ’phoned and said I had written something that pleased you and so I don’t believe I’ve ever been so heavy with happiness. The moon slips into the mountains like a lost penny and the fields are black and punguent and I want you near so that I could touch you in the autumn stillness even a little bit like the last echo of summer. The horizon lies over the road to Lausanne and the succulent fields like a guillotine and the moon bleeds over the water and you are not so far away that I can’t smell your hair in the drying breeze. Darling—I love these velvet nights. I’ve never been able to decide whether the night was a bitter enemie or a “grand patron”—or whether I love you most in the eternal classic half-lights where it blends with day or in the full religious fan-fare of mid-night or perhaps in the lux of noon. Anyway, I love you most and you ’phoned me just because you ’phoned me tonight—I walked on those telephone wires for two hours after holding your love like a parasol to balance me. My dear—
I’m so glad you finished your story—Please let me read it Friday. And I will be very sad if we have to have two rooms. Please.
Dear. Are you sort of feeling aimless, surprised, and looking rather reproachful that no melo-drama comes to pass when your work is over—as if you [had] ridden very hard with a message to save your army and found the enemy had decided not to attack—the way you sometimes feel—or are you just a darling little boy with a holiday on his hands in the middle of the week—the way you sometimes are—or are you organizing and dynamic and mending things—the way you sometimes are—
I love you—the way you always are.
Dear-dear dear dear dear dear dear
Dear dear dear dear dear dear dear
Dear dear dear dear dear dear
Dear dear dear dear dear dear
Dear dear dear dear dear dear
Dear dear dear dear dear dear
dear dear dear dear dear dear
dear dear dear dear dear dear
dear dear dear dear dear dear
dear dear dear dear dear dear
Dear heart, my darling love,
This is no good—but nothing matters because after to-morrow I’m going to see you again—
What a dreary rain—I rowed on the lake. It was like being on a slate roof. When the boat is not pointed into the waves it goes up with them and you keep waiting for the bump of coming down but it doesn’t come so you just slide from one to another and have no sense of direction like being on one of those oily tin platforms at Luna
I can’t write. I tried all afternoon—and I just twisted the pencil round and round churning between my teeth, and I love you. You are a darling. When you can’t write you sit on the bed and look so woebegone like a person who’s got to a store and can’t remember what they wanted to buy—
Good-night, dear. If you were in my bed it might be the back of your head I was touching where the hair is short and mossy or it might be up in the front where it make[s] little caves above your forehead, but wherever it was it would be the sweetest place, the sweetest place
Zelda Fitzgerald was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1900. She and Scott Fitzgerald married in 1920, f scott fitzgerald letter the following year she gave birth to their daughter, Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald. The couple became a fixture of the Jazz Age and quickly became known for their wild behavior. Throughout their marriage, Zelda and her diaries were inspiration for Scott’s novels and their characters. Zelda is the author of several short stories and novels, including Save the Waltz. She died at age forty-seven.
Excerpted from Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Copyright © 2002 by Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Barks. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - Letters and Essays
Fitzgerald lived in an age when, despite the existence of the telephone system, hand-writing letters was still commonplace, so that he left behind an abundance of exchanges between himself and his wife, his editor, his literary agent and his friends that were published in a number of different collections after his death in 1940.
The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald
In case you are 14 years old, keeping a diary and harboring ambitions to literary fame, you do not need to worry if your journal is there a venmo business account lack style or substance. F. Scott Fitzgerald did not fare much better during this stage of his life as the recently published The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald shows. However, reading the text will also remind you that, if you do manage to become a famous author, then scholars are going to be interested in anything you ever scribbled down, including your teenage thoughts on girls and gossip. That's why we can now pry into Fitzgerald's private musings on the waxing and waning of his affections, even though they were never meant to be read by anyone but himself. After all, he kept his diary locked in a box under his bed. Perhaps that's where it should have remained, both to spare Fitzgerald any posthumous embarrassment and today's reader an hour of solid boredom.
A Short Autobiography, edited by James L. W. West III
Fitzgerald never worked on an autobiography, but throughout his life - from the start of his career in 1920 until shortly before his death in 1940 - he published several magazine articles and essays that reflected upon his personal life. The collection 'A Short Autobiography' arranges those texts in chronological order so that they trace the arc from the infectious self-assuredness of the successful young author (who never fails to regard himself with a sense of irony, though) to the somber reflections of a man who has outlived his prime - with the eponymous short piece 'A Short Autobiography' as the tipping point: it's nothing more than a list of different drinks consumed in different locations over the years. That literary prank aside, all of Fitzgerald's different attempts at self-portrayal are as enjoyable to read today as they presumably were to the magazine audiences of the 1920s and 1930s. While his exploration of the process of writing in 'One Hundred False Starts' may be the most elegant, most insightful text in the collection, the early accounts of Scott's marriage to Zelda in essays such as 'How to Live on $36,000 a Year' are probably the most enjoyable. It's inspiring how he presents the interaction between his wife and himself, how he showcases them as a good team that enjoys strong camaraderie rather than as the epitome f scott fitzgerald letter romantic love. Perhaps he had already guessed that ultimately it would be loyalty and respect that, in its own strange way, would make their relationship last.
Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda, edited by Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Barks
The letters that Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald exchanged span more than two decades, from the first love letter she wrote in 1918 to his final note from December 19, 1940. Nevertheless, their correspondence does not tell a continuous story, but one that is broken into two distinct parts, simply because Scott and Zelda only communicated in writing when they were apart, i.e. during their courtship and later when Zelda was hospitalized. There may be nothing special about these letters, except that they were written by two gifted writers. Yet, reading them in chronologial order makes the exuberance of their early days as well as the hardships they had to face during their final years come to life more vividly than the best biography could. Besides, since more of Zelda's than of Scott's letters have survived, her voice comes through loud and clear, so that readers who have turned to the collection because of their interest in Scott (and that is likely to be the majority) cannot help but acknowledge that Zelda was not just the wife of a famous author, but an equal part in their marriage and that their love survived life because they both felt more at home with each other than with anyone else.
The Crack-Up, edited by Edmund Wilson
The Crack-Up is a collection of essays that Fitzgerald published as he reached his nadir: His latest novel Tender is the Night had been a critical and financial failure, his wife had been institutionalized and the magazine short story market had dried up: ".until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again."
Wir waren furchtbar gute Schauspieler
On May 28, 1933, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald met in the presence of her doctor Thomas Rennie and a stenographer: Scott had asked for a typescript of the conversation to document the state of affairs between his wife and himself. Based on this protocol, their conversation has now been reenacted as an 109 minute audiobook (which is only available in German at this point) that will make anyone who is reasonably happily married grateful for not having sunk to the level of distrust and antipathy that seems to have ruled the relationship between Scott and Zelda during this period. Yet, at the same time, one cannot help but identfy with both of them, especially with how Zelda fights to maintain her own separate identity, but also with Scott's anger at what he perceives as her ungratefulness. In general, he comes across as a broken man at age 36, who is clinging to the emblem's of his worldly success, as he seems to have lost everything else he could have held on to. Listening to Scott and Zelda fighting is a painful reminder how completely lives can unravel, not by a single tragic twist of fate, but gradually, as a matter of course, abetted by too many wrong decisions, each of them insignificant in isolation, but devastating in their cumulative effect.
A Life in Letters: A New Collection, edited and annotated by Matthew J. Bruccoli
This correspondence - edited by eminent Fitzgerald scholar Bruccoli - offers an accessible self-portrait of the writer. Early letters to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, and friends, Edmund Wilson and Ernest Hemingway, document Fitzgerald's devotion to craft, exemplified by The Great Gatsby, as well as the novelist's ever-present financial problems.
Dear Scott/Dear Max: The Fitzgerald-Perkins Correspondence, edited by Jackson R. Bryer
Maxwell Perkins was a well-known editor at literary institution Scribner's. He was Fitzgerald's editor, mentor and creditor. Their correspondence offers not only a lot of literary gossip, but also rare insights into Fitzgerald's devotion to his craft.
As Ever, Scott Fitz-, edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli
A collection of letters between Fitzgerald and his literary agent Harold Ober. Their correspondence ranges from 1919 to 1940.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - An Annotated Bibliography
News from PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Office of Communications
22 Chambers St.
Princeton, New Jersey 08542
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301
For immediate release: September 5, 2003
Contact: Patricia Allen, (609) 258-6108, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editors: Photographs are available at: http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pictures/a-f/fitzgerald-f-scott
Documents tell more about Fitzgerald's first love
Ginevra King was model for 'Gatsby' character and others
PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Princeton University Library has acquired a rich collection of documents that reveal previously unknown details about American author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his first love, Ginevra King.
King was a beautiful and wealthy debutante from Lake Forest, Ill., with whom Fitzgerald had a romantic relationship from 1915 to 1917. King's family has donated her diary and typed versions of her almost weekly f scott fitzgerald letter to Fitzgerald from that period as well as one original letter from Fitzgerald to King and a seven-page untitled short story by King that shows some of Fitzgerald's influences.
"None of Fitzgerald's biographers have seen these letters before -- although researchers knew they existed," said Don Skemer, curator wicked witch of the west halloween decoration of manuscripts in the library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. "So a certain amount of writing about their relationship has been speculation. And there has been a lot of writing about it because she was so central to his image of the American dream and women."
Even though she married William H. Mitchell, "King remained for Fitzgerald an archetype for the alluring, independent and upperclass woman, ultimately unattainable by someone of a modest social background like himself," Skemer said, noting that this continued even after Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre, the quintessential Jazz Age second bank of the united states architecture who became his wife. "Arguably, Ginevra was a model for Daisy Buchanan in 'The Great Gatsby' and is recognizable in many other characters."
Fitzgerald would use details of their meeting in his story "Babes in the Woods" in the Nassau Literary Magazine (May 1917), a piece that he reused with minor changes in "This Side of Paradise" (1920), his first novel, which was set at Princeton.
While readers may obtain one view of King through Fitzgerald's writing, the newly unveiled materials present a somewhat different picture. "In her letters, we hear Ginevra King's authentic voice, unfiltered by Fitzgerald in prose fiction," Skemer said.
"These materials give us a much more complex picture of the relationship between the two," added James West, the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and the editor of the ongoing series, "The Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald" (Cambridge University Press).
"Before, we had to rely only on Scott's voice and on the pictures or the characters based on Ginevra in his fiction," West said. "But it turns out that she was rather more of a person than he might have realized and that their relationship, which he depicted as one-sided, was, in fact, very emotional. She cared a great deal about him too."
The materials were donated by King's daughter, Ginevra Mitchell Hunter of Marshall, Va., and by King's granddaughters, Cynthia Fuller Hunter of Loveland, Colo., and Ginevra King Chandler of Ukiah, Calif. At Princeton, they complement the library's extensive holdings on Fitzgerald, who entered the University as a freshman in 1913.
Mining for dialogue
While home in St. Paul, Minn., on Christmas vacation, Fitzgerald met King in January 1915. At the time, she was a student at the Westover School, a women's preparatory school in Middlebury, Conn.
Fitzgerald visited her at the school. On Feb. 20, 1915, King writes in her diary: "Scott came in afternoon. It was so wonderful to see him again. I am madly in love with him. He is so wonderful . Marvelous time."
The letters given to Princeton are actually 227 pages of typed correspondence placed in a large binder. At some point -- probably in the late 1920s or early 1930s -- Fitzgerald had King's letters typed and bound. The cautionary title page reads, "Strictly Private and Personal Letters: Property of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Not Manuscript)."
"It is unclear why Fitzgerald had the letters transcribed," Skemer said. "Perhaps he wanted to exploit them for bits of dialogue." The author had a lifelong habit of maintaining notebooks of people, sayings, aphorisms and parables, which he used in his writing.
While the originals were destroyed, the letters are no doubt reproductions 1st grade reading books pdf free of the handwritten text, West said.
"They're genuine, I'm sure of that," he said. "They're her voice -- the expressions of a 16-year-old girl. I've read the letters against the diary, which chronicles the same period, and they match as to what happens on particular days."
The letters from Fitzgerald to King also were destroyed -- at his request after the relationship ended. On July 7, 1917, King writes: "I have destroyed your letters -- so you needn't be afraid that they will be held up as incriminating evidence. They were harmless -- have you a guilty conscience? I'm sorry cheap money safe box think that I would hold them up to you as I never did think they meant anything. If it isn't too much trouble you might destroy mine too."
After Fitzgerald's death in 1940, his daughter, Scottie, sent the bound letters to King. She retained them until her death in 1980, never showing them to anyone.
The ideal girl of his generation
Fitzgerald's first biographer Arthur Mizener, a 1930 Princeton graduate, noted in "The Far Side of Paradise" (1951) that King was "the extraordinary 'nice' girl, the beautiful, magnetic girl who was always effortlessly at ease. The other men were part of her charm, for though she conquered everywhere quite deliberately, she remained essentially untouched, free. This was the girl he was, without much conscious intention, to make the ideal girl of his generation, the wise, even hard-boiled, virgin who for all her daring and unconventionality was essentially far more elusive than her mother -- and, in her own way, far more romantic."
After reading the letters, West has a somewhat different view: "I think she was a match for Fitzgerald. She had a strong personality. She was not vain or self-centered. She was an open, direct young woman. I like her.
"He always depicted himself as a poor boy who idealized the love of a rich girl who was rather standoffish, perhaps even a little calculating. But judging by the letters and the diary, that's not true. She seems to have responded strongly and emotionally to him."
On March 12, 1915, King writes to Fitzgerald, "Oh Scott why why is butter coffee good for you we ------- somewhere else tonight? Why aren't we at a dance in summer now with a full moon, a big lovely garden and soft music in the distance?"
Despite the ardor expressed in her letters, King was "aware of the choices: That she was a child of wealth and in selecting her serious suitors, she probably couldn't consider a middle-class boy from St. Paul, no matter how charming and clever he was," West said.
A tantalizing tale
This theme is borne out in the short story that is part of the materials. Evidently, King sent the story in a letter to Fitzgerald. In the story, King imagines a time 10 years later, in the 1920s, when she has been unhappily married to a Russian count. King seeks out Fitzgerald, now a rich and successful movie producer. She makes her way to the apartment of 'Mr. Fitz Gerald' and is admitted by his tall, somber butler.
What happens next? Readers will have to wait, Skemer said. The full text will be published in an upcoming issue of the Princeton University Library Chronicle, along with commentary and illustrations.
"What makes the story tantalizing," West said, "is that it contains basic elements of the story line of 'The Great Gatsby': the beautiful but restless wife, the wealthy but inattentive husband and the old flame, now rich and handsome, living in elegant quarters. A few of the signature details from 'Gatsby' are even present, including the mysterious servants, the 'Wedding March,' which Gatsby and Daisy hear at the Plaza and a ticking clock.
"I suppose it's a common enough fantasy when romance breaks off. Both sides must think about what it's going to be like years from now when they see each other again. Fitzgerald is the one who embodied all of that in 'The Great Gatsby.' Still, it's very intriguing to see it already in this little story that she has written."
"We know that it was hers," Skemer said. "But it's more f scott fitzgerald letter complicated than that, in that they were passing ideas back and forth in their letters. I can't believe that some of him is not in that story."
The end of the relationship
The final letters in the binder have to do with King's marriage to Mitchell. On July 15, 1918, she writes to tell Fitzgerald about her engagement.
He responds on July 21, 1918, in the only hand-written letter contained in the materials. The letter is mailed from Camp Sheridan, an army base near Montgomery, Ala., where Fitzgerald met Zelda. He writes: "This is to congratulate you -- I don't know Billy Mitchell, but from all I've heard of him he must be one of the best ever. Doesn't it make you sigh with relief to be settled and think of all the men you escaped marrying?"
In 1937, Fitzgerald and King met for a final time in Hollywood, where he was working at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Mizener concluded, "to the end of his days the thought of Ginevra could bring tears to his eyes."
The Princeton library's holdings include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers, a comprehensive literary archive containing his original manuscripts, working drafts, corrected galleys, personal and professional correspondence, autobiographical scrapbooks, photographs and other original materials. Frances Scott ("Scottie") Fitzgerald Lanahan (later Smith), the Fitzgeralds' daughter, donated the papers to the library in 1950. Acquired at the same time were the Zelda Fitzgerald Papers and annotated books from Fitzgerald's personal library.
The Princeton library has successfully sought out additional manuscripts and related materials since that time. The materials are available to researchers using the library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. For more information, contact Skemer at (609) 258-3184 or email@example.com.
Unwell, this side of paradise
Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise
by Sally Cline
512pp, John Murray, £25
Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
ed Jackson R Bryers and Cathy W Barks
387pp, Bloomsbury, £20
"I used to wonder why they kept princesses in towers," the romantic and possessive young officer F Scott Fitzgerald wrote to the Alabama belle Zelda Sayre. Zelda was charmed at first, but quickly noticed that he seemed obsessed with the image. "Scott, you've been so sweet about writing," she replied, "but I get so damned tired of being told that - you've written that verbatim, in your last six letters!"
Eerily, the fairytale life they both imagined took on an ominous gothic form, as the jonquil-haired boy and the golden girl, the most legendary couple of the 1920s, faced the grim realities of alcoholism and mental illness, infidelity and literary rivalry, of a marriage in which, according to their friend Ring Lardner, "Mr Fitzgerald is a novelist and Mrs Fitzgerald is a novelty".
Zelda's story was first told in Nancy Milford's splendid feminist biography of 1970; but as Milford later wrote, Scottie Lanahan, the Fitzgeralds' daughter, was so upset by the manuscript that she threatened suicide. Milford cut much of the detail about Zelda's diagnoses, treatments and her homosexual crushes, and the family restricted much of the medical material in the Princeton University archives.
Generally biographers and friends have taken the side of one of the partners, at one extreme endorsing Hemingway's view that Zelda was a madwoman who undermined Scott's sexual and artistic self-confidence and drained him emotionally and economically, and at another seeing Scott as a monster who drove Zelda mad and destroyed her chances to succeed as an artist in her own right. Both of these books take a more balanced approach, blaming neither partner; but the selection from the Fitzgeralds' correspondence edited by Jackson Bryers and Cathy Barks, and pre-emptively called "love letters", repeats the legend of a great and timeless romance, while the exhaustively researched biography by Sally Cline powerfully undermines it.
Without making Scott the villain, Cline argues that both partners were victims of a social system and psychological practice that punished creative women, especially those married to creative men. Cline points out that Zelda's hospital letters - which form the f scott fitzgerald letter of her side of the correspondence - were censored by her caretakers, and have to be seen as written by a prisoner to her jailer.
Although she often expressed an extravagant love for Scott, and he loyally supported and wrote affectionately to her, they quarrelled bitterly and endlessly over her ambitions as a writer and painter, her sexuality, and her right to work and to be independent. Zelda repeatedly said that she wanted a divorce, but without any money of her own, and without the means of earning any, she was utterly powerless in the relationship.
Named for the gypsy heroine of a sensational novel, Zelda had been the most popular and daring girl in her set back in Montgomery, Alabama - a "top girl". By winning her, Scott also engaged in an unconscious merger with his male rivals, perhaps a version of the homosexuality he wrote about (through Nick Carraway's pick-up in The Great Gatsby, for example), and violently repudiated. Zelda was also original and imaginative: "I'm so full of confetti I could give birth to paper dolls," she declared at a ball. Paper dolls were a metaphor for the hyper-feminine domestic art of American women to which she was destined by her birth and class.
The crack-up of the marriage and their lives came quickly; by 1930, after less than a decade of fame and high living in New York, the Riviera and Paris, they had entered what would become a long decline. Just as their married life had been lived in hotels, Zelda's post-1930 life became an odyssey between hospitals and clinics; some were four-star European establishments with all the luxuries of a spa resort, some much more basic and punitive with cold baths, strait-jackets and long hikes.
A belated effort to became a ballerina in Paris had driven her to anorexia and obsessive behaviour, but Scott's chief f scott fitzgerald letter for having her committed were sexual; she declared an attraction to her ballet teacher, and, in the asylum, was caught masturbating. Her sexual frankness conflicted with his anxieties and pruderies, especially with his own fascinated dread of homosexuality. "The nearest I ever came to leaving you," he told her, "was when you told me that I was a fairy in the Rue Palatine."
Zelda felt that she had lived the life of a pampered child: "I don't seem to know anything appropriate for a person of 30." Confinement in a series of institutions certainly f scott fitzgerald letter it hard for her to grow up. Scott was a control freak who wanted to arrange and order every detail of her life, as he would also for their daughter, but he also did f scott fitzgerald letter best to find her the most advanced care.
Zelda's doctors included many of the famous names of psychiatric medicine of her day, but their understanding and treatment of women's psychological conflicts was lumbered with traditional expectations that healthy, normal women should be content to limit themselves to secondary domestic roles. Zelda was forced to restrict or give up her dancing, painting and writing and to submit to versions of the rest cure that made her worse. As she wrote: "Enforced inactivity maddens me beyond endurance."
Diagnosed as schizophrenic, although she did not meet most of the criteria for the illness, Zelda was regularly subjected to insulin shock therapy, which induced memory loss and weight gain, and dosed with a battery of drugs including morphine, belladonna, potassium bromide and horse serum. From the beginning, Zelda perceived her treatment as "a sort of castration". Scott, meanwhile, was not institutionalised for his drinking. Moreover, he insisted that she was secure washington real drunkard, while he needed drink in order to work.
The biggest crisis in their marriage and its tenuous balance of power came in 1932, when Zelda wrote an autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, drawing on the same material with which he was struggling in Tender is the Night. Scott was outraged that Zelda should presume to f scott fitzgerald letter on his territory. He wrote in fury to his publisher Max Perkins, to whom she had sent the manuscript, telling him not to publish.
In May 1933, the Fitzgeralds sat down with Zelda's doctor for a debate on the subject which was transcribed by a stenographer and ran to 114 pages. The transcripts, Cline says, read more like a trial than a negotiation. Scott demanded "unconditional surrender" - he accused Zelda of being an opportunist and called her "a third-rate writer" and a "useless society woman" with an "amazonian and lesbian" personality. "It seems to me that you are making rather a violent attack on a third-rate talent then," Zelda replied. She wanted a divorce and stressed her need to be independent.
In a journal entry outlining his divorce strategy if Zelda insisted on continuing to write fiction, Scott noted: "Attack on all grounds. Play (suppress), novel (delay), pictures (suppress), character (showers), child (detach), schedule (disorient to cause trouble), no typing. Probable result - new breakdown." In the event, Zelda capitulated and Scott allowed the novel to be published with several cuts.
Zelda's letters are saturated with the need to find meaningful work and to support herself. But Scott could not consent, and gradually Zelda developed symptoms of religious mania and suicidal depression.
In the late 1930s, when Scott was too hard up to pay her hospital fees, he moved her to Highlands Hospital in North Carolina, where Dr Robert Carroll believed in vigorous physical activity and reprogramming rebellious women through electro-shock treatments into "wholesome" wives and mothers. Although Carroll eventually relented enough to support Zelda's painting, he was also involved in a case of raping a female patient. Another psychiatrist, Dr Irving Pine, told Cline that "Dr Carroll took advantage of several women patients, including Zelda".
Scott predeceased her, in 1940, and after his death, Zelda spent much of her time in Montgomery with her family. Cline argues that the years until her death in 1948 were among Zelda's most creative, although her unfinished novel from the period, Caesar's Wife, is the product of her religious obsessions.
In 1975, the Catholic archdiocese overturned an earlier decision and allowed Scott and Zelda to be buried together in St Mary's Church cemetery in Rockville, Maryland. Their inscription quotes the last line of Gatsby: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
The Fitzgeralds had many admirable qualities, and, separately and together, exhibited far more of Hemingway's "grace under pressure" than Hemingway did himself. But Cline's clear-headed and careful study should make clear that their relationship can no longer be regarded as a great love story. Instead, it demonstrates the terrible danger of such romantic fairytales, and the melancholy dangers of a culture, like that of the American South or the Lost Generation, that sacrifices the present to the imagined glories of the past.
· Elaine Showalter's books include Inventing Herself (Picador)
A LETTER FROM F. SCOTT FITZGERALD,
QUARANTINED IN 1920 IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
DURING THE SPANISH INFLUENZA OUTBREAK
It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single
dull star. I thank you for your letter. Outside, I perceive what may be a
collection of fallen leaves tussling against a trash can. It rings like
jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the
city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems
very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told
Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he
had washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he
considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.
The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s
worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum,
vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and lord, if we need it,
Please pray for us.
F. Scott Fitzgerald 🙂
(The letter comes via one of my dad’s students from his 2017 seminar “The Literature of Fact.”)
And while we’re sipping our absinthe let’s watch a garden grow!
In and amongst the videos of lyrics to wash your hands to, Amy Adams singing 'Imagine' and pictures of the aisle where loo roll used to live, a letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald, written while he was under quarantine during the Spanish Influenza outbreak in 1920, is being shared on Instagram and Twitter.
Fitzgerald's words, now often featuring a GIF of a beating heart or a ray of sunshine over them, feel like a letter of hope sent a hundred years into the future. His dark humour as bars close and he stocks up on, "red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and lord, if we need it, brandy", is the amusement we all need.
The problem is that it isn't written by Fitzgerald, nor was it penned in 1920. The parody letter in fact first appeared a week ago on the humour website McSweeney's, written by Nick Farriella.
Taken out of context, it's easy to see how this letter could be believed as the real thing, with its writerly flourishes like the noise of "fallen leaves tussling against a trash can" ringing "like jazz to my ears". Between friends, the article began life as a sincere praising of how modern technology can connect us with those in the past who have already lived through strange times.
Historical inaccuracies aside, the fake letter going viral poses an interesting question about what makes fake news or misinformation harmful. Forwarded notes with untruths about borders closing or home remedy cures to the virus are obviously unhelpful in keeping people informed, but despite not being written by Fitzgerald, the letter can offer hope to people who want to believe there is something on the other side of the darkness.
"I think it speaks to the strangeness of the times," Farriella told Esquire. "Where many can't leave their homes, there's no sports going on, barely any distraction. So, for this parody to get some attention shows people's yearning for some answer from someone from the past, someone who's made it through something like this before. But even though it wasn't an actual letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald, I think the sentiment is still true, and we could all benefit from the way he lived his life, a relentless optimist."
The last week has seen the building of a kind of collective optimism as people place their faith in the idea that we will come out of this situation more compassionate and more aware of our commonalities. Perhaps just that we will come out of it at all.
A similar sentiment to Fitzgerald's supposed correspondence from 1920 is shared in a piece of writing by Kitty O'Meara titled 'In the time of the Pandemic'. It begins: "And the people stayed home. And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently."
The words from the blog post on The Daily Round have been widely shared on social media; mocked up in front of calming stock images of the ocean or decorated with a line about how we will get through this. It captured the kind of optimism people need right now, and after seeing it many people were asking Reddit or Usaa com auto claims who the writer was. Some believed it was deceased Irish writer Kathleen O'Meara, perhaps hoping that the wisdom imparted in the writing comes from the past rather than union first market bank banking mortgages investments trust written in hope for the future.
Like with the fake Fitzgerald note it has also sparked a debate about authenticity, as Italian journalist Irene Vella has claimed it is a translation of her longer version of the same poem. Whatever its origin, these words are spreading like a global daisy chain of hope, promising things will be okay. Whether they are real or not feels f scott fitzgerald letter besides the point.
Farriella's Fitzgerald letter is a fable people need to believe, and his "strain of light" a mantra that, like the real Fitzgerald's "green light at the end of Daisy's dock", provides hope for the future. Perhaps it doesn't matter if it comes from 2020 rather than 1920, as author Deepak Chopkra wrote when sharing O'Meara's words: 'Source unknown. but worth sharing.'
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