Tonight I finally FINALLY finished reading Flapper. It’s a nonfiction book about the Jazz Age and about some of the most important people of the time (actresses, writers, etc). By the time I was about 10 pages from the end, I had tears in my eyes.
What a beautiful, strange time that was, and how…
Not a bad book at all, for an overview of the 1920s. If you want to delve a bit more deeply into the Flapper from a feminist perspective I suggest “Posing a Threat: Flappers, Chorus Girls, and Other Brazen Performers of the American 1920s” by Angela Lantham. The approach is a bit more academic than popular history, but it’s still a very accessible text.
The story of the Fitzgerald’s is indeed tragic and beautiful - something they themselves, at this great distance, might have appreciated, far removed from the sordid and terrible details of their disintegration. They could recast it as they did Zelda’s “affair” with her aviator: dramatic and glamorous. The details of Zelda’s psychiatric treatment, and what it did to her, are absolutely chilling. People tend to align themselves with one partner of the other, but it’s possible to look at them both with profound sympathy for their undoubtedly brilliant and flawed characters. I get very annoyed when people view Zelda as simply an Succubus or a Muse - she was very much a creative partner, and Scott’s writing owes much to her beyond “inspiration”…many of her works were published under his name (ostensibly because they’d for more), and he drew directly on her letters and diaries. My favourite passage in “This Side of Paradise” comes directly from a letter she wrote that Scott appropriated.
I love them both, and like my other 1920s darling, Louise Brooks, sometimes they frustrate the hell out of me with their capriciousness, their willfulness, and all the things that I know were part and parcel of who and what they were.
Ah, so so so much respect for your post right now! I apologize if it seemed I put Zelda into that category… I’m very overtired at the moment! But I completely agree with you… and reading the passages about her mental breakdowns were also very emotional for me, just because that’s such a terrifying and lonely thing to go through. Health problems of any kind are so frustrating and disheartening. I was also really sad for how much she wanted to try for her own dreams as she got older, and wasn’t really able to ever do that.
They’re both very sad figures to me, and I do feel for both of them.
I’ll definitely check that book out, thank you so much for the suggestion! I absolutely adore your blog and your perspective, so it’s quite exciting to get to talk with you about this. :)