Day 1208: Zelda

Cover for ZeldaZelda is Nancy Milford’s famous biography of Zelda Fitzgerald. It is meticulously researched and beautifully written. The book was Milford’s dissertation for Columbia University, and she later went on to write other noted biographies, such as Savage Beauty about Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Zelda’s relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald is legendary, and I was happy to finally learn the truth of it, as I’ve heard half-truths for years and read them in fiction. I was especially interested to contrast this biography with Z, Therese Ann Fowler’s novel about Zelda.

One of the fundamental problems of the Fitzgerald’s relationship was Zelda’s feeling of a lack of purpose combined with Scott’s breathtaking assumption that her entire life could be co-opted for his fiction. Early in their marriage, Zelda had an opportunity to publish her diaries, but Scott claimed them, saying he needed them for his fiction. Later, when she began writing, he feuded with her over her right to her own history, telling her that he was the professional, she just an amateur. Of course, he did not cause all their problems. There was his drinking and her crippling mental illness. But I could see why Zelda would feel like she was being erased.

Although the biography contained a little too much quoting from their fiction for my taste—points were made over and over—still, this is a truly revelatory biography and well worth reading if you have an interest in these people or their time.

Related Posts

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Mrs. Hemingway

4 thoughts on “Day 1208: Zelda

  1. Carmen April 26, 2018 / 7:50 pm

    Do you recommend this biography over the fictional Z? I scheduled Z to read it last year but I couldn’t get to it, nor will I be able to read it this year, perhaps the next…? :-0

    • whatmeread April 27, 2018 / 5:05 pm

      I think that the novel may not be as accurate as the biography. On the other hand, it may depend upon whether you prefer fiction or nonfiction.

  2. Naomi May 1, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    I was going to ask you how this compared with the novel we read, but you’ve already answered my question! (What a creepy picture of her on the cover!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.