Z. A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Facts 5

Back in Paris, Zelda became obsessed with ballet, and started getting lessons from Madame Edgrova. Lubov YegorovaPrincess Nikita Troubetska (8 August 1880 – 18 August 1972) was a Russian ballerina who danced with the Imperial Ballet and the Ballets Russes.

In September 1929, she was invited to join the ballet school of the San Carlo Opera Ballet Company in Naples, but, as close as this was to the success she desired, she declined the invitation. In the book Scott forbid her from accepting the job and even threatened to take Scottie away.

1929 was the year of the financial crash, and in the book Bunny, one of Scott’s long-standing friends, had a mental breakdown and had to be admitted to a sanatorium.

The friendship between Scott and Hemingway continue, and they are often visitors of Gertrude Stein. Zelda hates visiting the woman as she and the other wives have to sit apart from the men as if they were a lower class. Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse, would meet.

In April 1930, Zelda was admitted to a sanatorium in France where, after months of observation and treatment and a consultation with one of Europe’s leading psychiatrists, Doctor Eugen Bleuler, she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Initially admitted to a hospital outside Paris, she was later moved to a clinic in Montreux, Switzerland. The clinic primarily treated gastrointestinal ailments, and because of her profound psychological problems she was moved to a psychiatric facility, in Prangins on the shores of Lake Geneva.

She was released in September 1931, and the Fitzgeralds returned to Montgomery, Alabama, where her father, Judge Sayre, was dying. Amid her family’s bereavement, Scott announced that he was leaving for Hollywood. Zelda’s father died while Scott was gone, and her health again deteriorated. By February 1932, she had returned to living in a psychiatric clinic. In 1932, while being treated at the Phipps Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Zelda had a burst of creativity. Over the course of her first six weeks at the clinic, she wrote an entire novel, called Save Me the Waltz. In its time, however, the book was not well received by critics. To Zelda’s dismay, it sold only 1,392 copies, for which she earned $120.73

Shortly afterwards Scott published his fourth novel. Tender is the Night. It was first published in Scribner’s Magazine between January and April 1934 in four issues. The novel almost mirrors the events of Fitzgerald and Zelda’s lives, as characters are pulled and put back into mental care, and the male figure, Dick Diver, starts his descent into alcoholism.

From the mid-1930s, Zelda spent the rest of her life in various stages of mental distress. Some of the paintings that she had created over the previous years, in and out of sanatoriums, were exhibited in 1934,

Zelda remained in the hospital while Scott returned to Hollywood for a $1,000-a-week job with MGM in June 1937. Without Zelda’s knowledge, he began a serious affair with the movie columnist Sheilah Graham. Despite the excitement of the affair, Scott was bitter and burned out.

Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack at 44 in December 1940. Zelda was unable to attend his funeral in Rockville, Maryland

By August 1943 Zelda had returned to the Highland Hospital. On the night of March 10, 1948, a fire broke out in the hospital kitchen. Zelda was locked into a room, awaiting electroshock therapy. The fire escapes were wooden, and they caught fire as well. Nine women, including Zelda, died.

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