|Plot Summary of Zelda|
|"Nancy Milford's biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, is comprised of letters, journals, literary works and anecdotes from people who knew Zelda well. Zelda was born in Alabama at the turn of the century, and had a privileged childhood. She was the baby of a wealthy and eccentric southern family and was a famous belle throughout her life as a young adult. She met young F. Scott Fitzgerald while his military regiment was stationed nearby, and they married not long after. In New York, they became the center of a wild group of artists, writers, and drinkers, and were acquainted with celebrities including Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Their wild parties, binge drinking, and explosive fights are described as both comical and tragic.
Later, already rich and famous as the archetypal "flappers," the Fitzgeralds spent time on the French Riviera, where Zelda had a dramatic affair with a French pilot and threatened to commit suicide. The facts about Zelda's abortive literary career (she completed one very autobiographical novel), her powerful influence on Scott's writing, and her obsessive devotion to ballet dancing are also explored in detail. Throughout her later life, Zelda spent time in sanatariums and mental hospitals, where she began to paint in a modern, surrealistic style. Many of the love letters that passed between Zelda and Scott during times of separation are quoted at length, and are full of romantic eloquence. Zelda died in 1948 during a fire at the mental asylum where she was a patient, not long after Scott died of a heart attack, perhaps combined with the results of a lifetime of heavy drinking. "
Jacqueline West, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Zelda|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Phys disability/mental struggle?
- mental illness
- mental hospital
Life in an institution
Period of greatest activity?
Subject of Biography
- mentally ill
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
Biography of famous person?
- American (!)
How sensitive is this person?
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Cynical sense of humor
- Smarter than most other people
- very athletic
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 4 ()
- mostly 3rd
Accounts of torture and death?
- moderately detailed references to deaths
Book makes you feel?
Is book humorous?
If humorous, kind of humor
- eccentric personalities
Commentary on society?
- wicked rich people
Writer's slant towards subject:
Story of entire life, or part?
- story of nearly entire life
- A ton 16-20 B&W
How much dialogue in bio?
- significantly more descript than dialog
A LOT of info about personal vices?
Lot of titilating info about love life?
How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?
- 26-50% of book
How much is philosophy rather than life story?
- 0-25% of book
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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