cover image The Collected Writings

The Collected Writings

Zelda Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzerald. Scribner Book Company, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19297-0

The beautiful, ill-fated debutante flapper from Alabama who inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age stories wanted to be a great writer like her husband. But her short stories, articles, letters, the novel Save Me the Waltz and her play Scandalabra --most of which were written after her 1930 breakdown--are not persuasive evidence that she had great talent. The two Fitzgeralds shared subject matter (both Save Me the Waltz and Scott's Tender Is the Night depict their glamorous marriage) and a gift for rich atmospheric buildup, sensual detail and imaginative metaphor. With the exception of a few short stories, however, Zelda's fiction is lacking in plot structure, character development, and psychological or emotional depth. Her free-associative style, which drifts from the imaginative to the surreal to the incoherent, often seems to reflect mental instability. Still, her articles and letters, sometimes studded with witty observations and aphorisms, are valuable as social and literary history. (Aug.)