So yesterday on this blog I publicly declared my love for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. I’ve been interested in her for some time now, but it was reading her collected writings that made me take that final leap. (As for 20s heroines, Louise Brooks comes in a close second. Those eyes of hers are weapons. It’s a good thing I didn’t live then, I’d probably be sending them letters on a weekly basis or trying to get a job as an entertainment reporter in the hopes of getting to interview them, or some other such silly thing.)
Anyway, the book, first published in 1991, is edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli, whose name will be familiar to anyone who has read Gatsby or recent printings of pretty much anything else F. Scott wrote.
The collection includes five sections:
- Save Me the Waltz (Zelda’s only published novel)
- Scandalabra (An absurdist play)
- Letters to F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’ve read most of these works in other places, but it was great to have them all together, and reading them in such a concentrated form took me head over heels for her. She has some wonderful prose and imagery, making connections that don’t always make sense but evict moods wonderfully and pull you into her world. I would recommend reading Save Me the Waltz, but what I really enjoyed here were her articles, most of which I hadn’t seen before.
Here are some of my favorite bits:
- Eulogy on the Flapper, Metropolitan Magazine, June 1922
I see no logical reasons for keeping the young illusioned. Certainly disillusionment comes easier at twenty than at forty – the fundamental and inevitable disillusionments, I mean. Its effects on the Flappers I have known have simply been to crystallized their ambitious desires and give form to their code of living so that they can come home and live happily ever afterwards – or go into the movies or become social service “workers” or something. Older people, except a few geniuses, artistic and financial, simply throw up their hands, heave a great many heart-rending sighs and moan to themselves something about what a hard thing life is – and then, of course, turn to their children and wonder why they don’t believe in Santa Claus and the kindness of their fellow men and in the tale that they will be happy if they are good and obedient.
- Breakfast, Favorite Recipes of Famous Women, 1925
See if there is any bacon, and if there is, ask the cook which pan to fry it in. Then ask if there are any eggs, and if so try and persuade the cook to poach two of them. It is better not to attempt toast, as it burns very easily. Also in the case of bacon, do not turn the fire too high, or you will have to get out of the house for a week.
Serve preferably on China plates, though gold or wood will do if handy.
- Who Can Fall in Love after Thirty?, College Humor, October 1928
A person who ever since the age of twenty has been wooing sleep through a succession of half-remembered but significant faces, might conceivably do some of his most powerful loving after thirty, but for those less romantic – no. If there is an hour or two in the course of the day which has been habitually passed since the impressionable years in nebulous and undeliberate speculation upon the romantic, the chances are that the victim of this attitude, upon being presented with a member of the opposite sex possessed of necessary vibration, will succumb whether he be twenty-four or going on eighty-seven.