Zelda Fitzgerald: The Plagiarized Muse!

Zelda Fitzgerald | 18th January 2022 | Virtual Wire


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Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda Fitgerald was a woman of many unrecognized talents.

Being named as the First American Flapper by her husband, she was the perfect example of the 1920s rebellious woman. Many know her only as of the wife of great American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald but Zelda was a substantial influence of her own. She was an artist, a painter, a talented dancer, and a magnificent writer. After the success of F. Scott Fitzgerlad with his book named The Side of Paradise, the couple had a way to enter the elite, high society. As the prominent characteristic of the era, the swinging 20s, the first years of their marriage was filled with extravagant parties and endless sources of alcohol. At the beginning, where these parties were just a way to have fun but as time progressed the Fitzgeralds were challenged by disloyalty, money struggles and the jealous nature of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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You see Zelda was not only a muse but also the source material for F. Scott. Extracting direct sentences and paragraphs from Zelda’s diaries, basing characters off her, F. Scott Fitzgerlad did not even think about giving the well-deserved credit to his wife. When he was writing The Beautiful and Damned, he asked Zelda to write a review of the book. In her review, Zelda brought his husband plagiarism of her own writing to light. Stating; “It seems to me that on one page I recognized a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and, also, scraps of letters which, though considerably edited, sound to me vaguely familiar. In fact, Mr. Fitzgerald -I believe that is how he spells his name- seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home.”

After these comments regarding her husband's writing, Zelda Fitgerald began to be offered many requests to author a book of her own, which only enraged F. Scott further. Just the idea of his muse having this kind of opportunity to outshine him did not sit right with the so-called great American Writer. As their relationship deteriorated, so did Zelda’s mental health. In and out of psychiatric hospitals, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the 1930s. Despite her condition, Zelda did not stop her creative process publishingSave Me the Waltz in 1932. Even though she was not discouraged by her psychological problems, once again her husband was the reason for her downfall.

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Forcing her to take parts of the book that he wanted to use as a material whilst drafting the novel Tender is the Night. Due to this heavy editing process, Zelda’s book was not able to become a success. And this disappointment only furthered her unfortunate condition. Even though during her lifetime she did not get the recognition she truly deserved, following years of her death she was able to be seen as the genius that she was through writers that told her unheard stories. She was a feminist icon that has survived an abusive marriage with a man that refused to share the success with her. An unrecognized creative genius who was only seen as a muse to her husband.

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