Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the woman that is known by only her first name and her reputation as the life of the party. Like many of the ladies we talk about each week on La Vie Creative - Paris History Avec A Hemingway there was much more to her than just the image that remains.
Zelda was born in Montgomery Alabama on January 24, 1900, the youngest child of Minnie and Anthony who served on the supreme court of Alabama.
Studying ballet from an early age it was the only thing she did that pleased her parents. She later decided she was more interested in spending her days drinking, smoking and being adored by all the boys. Girls were to be quiet and pretty and Zelda wanted none of that.
In July 1918 at a country club dance she met F. Scott Fitzgerald who was stationed at Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery. He was instantly attracted to her and would visit her as soon as he had a day off. With dreams of becoming a famous author, F. Scott would use Zelda as his inspiration for his main character in This Side of Paradise.
However, F. Scott wouldn’t stop there with his “inspiration”. Zelda was a beautiful writer and sent him letters filled with flowery descriptions. F. Scott would pull entire pieces of her letters and diary and use them in his book. It was something he never stopped doing.
F. Scott wanted to marry her, but she wouldn’t until he became a published author. With This Side of Paradise with his editor, he pleaded with him to publish it as fast as possible. On March 26, 1920 it was published and four days later Zelda was on a train to New York and they married on April 3, 1920.
F. Scott and Zelda, just their names paint a picture of life in the 1920’s with plenty of champagne straight from the pages of his most famous book, The Great Gatsby. However their marriage was far from it. F. Scott took her writing as his own in every book he wrote but would later blame her for ruining him and cheating him of his dream. I don’t think we ever would have a F. Scott Fitzgerald without a Zelda.
Listen to her full story on our newest episode of La Vie Creative - Paris History Avec A Hemingway
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