• Cover: July 25, 2014
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11 Love Lessons From the Real Gatsby and His Golden Girl

Should You Take Relationship Advice from Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald?

Page: 6 of 7
  • 9. Don't swan dive for just anyone on your wife's birthday. Hours before he was to pick up Zelda up from her sanitarium to celebrate her 36th birthday, Scott attempted a swan dive in a hotel pool while showing off for a nurse. His felt his clavicle break before he hit the water. So desperate was he to keep his lunch date with his wife that as they fitted him for a body cast and put him under to reset his shoulder, he apparently believed Zelda to be in the room. He kept muttering incoherently, as if ventriloquizing Zelda, "Yes, I am going to stay; after all it's my husband."

    10. Do "share" your life story, and I mean that literally. Ernest Hemingway overstated the case when he declared in A Moveable Feast that "Zelda was jealous of Scott's work," intent on distracting him whenever he worked well. When it came to Scott and Zelda, the instinct for partying, bad behavior, and competitiveness ran both ways. The ugliest episode? A turf war involving Zelda's novel Save Me the Waltz and Scott's novel Tender Is the Night, concerning which of them had first dibs on mutual history—specifically, the material regarding Zelda's nervous breakdown. Zelda was dependent on her husband not only financially, but also for access to the literary world, since Scott placed all her fiction and articles with publishers. To the bickering couple's credit, they soon reached a compromise, with Scott calling for minor revisions to scenes in Zelda's novel that cast the character based on him as ridiculous. And Scott again became his wife's biggest cheerleader, promising his editor Max Perkins, also the editor for Save Me the Waltz, that it was a "fine novel," while also praying that the book might revive Zelda's spirits and give her a renewed sense of purpose in life.

11 Love Lessons From the Real Gatsby and His Golden Girl
Should You Take Relationship Advice from Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald?
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