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Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Hardcover – April 26, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (April 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312268750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312268756
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Once we were one person," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his wife in the last years of their marriage, "and always it will be a little that way." While this carefully annotated collection (edited by two scholars at the University of Maryland) is dominated by Zelda's letters more of hers are extant it provides an intimate account of an enduring romantic union (as opposed to the dirty laundry of the Fitzgeralds' spectacular Jazz Age revels and rows or Scott's descent into alcoholism and Zelda's into mental illness). Their cross-Mason-Dixon Line courtship letters begin in 1918, with Zelda displaying her ardor and "mental wickedness" and Scott responding in brief but affectionate telegrams. The Great Depression coincided with Zelda's psychological malaise, and her letters from the '30s are penned from various sanitariums and, later, her family's home in Alabama, where she convalesced under her mother's care. Scott's letters are sufficiently represented only in his final year, when he was exiled to Hollywood as a scriptwriter and had a secretary to keep copies. Among the mutual assurances of love and the occasional long-distance tiffs, Scott and Zelda sometimes discuss art Zelda's search for self-expression in writing, dance and painting; Scott's desire to be "an instrument" for "dark, tragic destiny." Although Scott's letters, typically written in his high lyric style, are unfortunately outnumbered, this collection offers many previously unpublished epistles and photographs as well as an introduction by the Fitzgeralds' granddaughter, and is a moving portrait of a two-decades-long, complicated and deep love affair. (Apr.)Forecast: The Fitzgeralds remain a popular literary couple Nancy Milford's three-decades-old Zelda still sells well so there should be demand for this collection.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This collection of letters by the Fitzgeralds to each other covers their entire relationship, from their courtship in 1918 to Scott's death in 1940. While a number of these letters have been published before (in F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters and Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings, both edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli), many are being published here for the first time. The editors, both literature professors at the University of Maryland, are the first to gather the correspondence between the Fitzgeralds in one volume. The letters are presented in four parts: courtship and marriage, the years together, Zelda's three breakdowns, and the final two years of marriage. Many of the letters, especially in Part 3, are by Zelda, so this collection lets the reader sample the full range of her thoughts and emotions and helps correct mistaken impressions of the marriage left by past biographies. The editors' introductions and historical narratives are helpful in giving the broader contexts of the couple's lives and times, as are the photographs and explanatory footnotes. Recommended for medium and larger public libraries. Morris Hounion, New York City Technical Coll. Lib., Brooklyn
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the major American writers of the twentieth century -- a figure whose life and works embodied powerful myths about our national dreams and aspirations. Fitzgerald was talented and perceptive, gifted with a lyrical style and a pitch-perfect ear for language. He lived his life as a romantic, equally capable of great dedication to his craft and reckless squandering of his artistic capital. He left us one sure masterpiece, The Great Gatsby; a near-masterpiece, Tender Is the Night; and a gathering of stories and essays that together capture the essence of the American experience. His writings are insightful and stylistically brilliant; today he is admired both as a social chronicler and a remarkably gifted artist.

Customer Reviews

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F. Scott had such beautiful handwriting.
Rebecca Papin
I highly recommend this for fans of the Fitzgeralds or their work, and indeed to anyone who has ever loved.
Sean P. Endress
Zelda was not alone in being an imperfect person.
Fattyeggroll

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Papin on December 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Once I opened this book of F. Scott and Zelda's love letters, I was glued to it, and didn't put it down until I had read the entire book 6 hours later. This is an engrossing collection of passionate letters between two of America's most famous Jazz Age babies, full of innocence, spurned hope, desperate longing, and a never-ending belief that one day, somehow, they would end up together again. Even knowing the Fitzgeralds' history as well as I do, I was drawn in by their steamy letters, and half-believed that everything was going to turn out alright in the end for them. Maybe it did. This is a fantastic, epic collection of letters (more by Zelda than Scott), photos (I loved seeing the presents that Scott gave to Zelda), drawings, and copies of the original letters. F. Scott had such beautiful handwriting. Anyways, for anyone with even a slight interest in the Fitzgeralds, or in love letters, this is a book well worth its price, one that I thought about for days after I finished it off.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By foundpoem on December 9, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm fascinated by Fitzgerald and was truly looking forward to reading this book, what I thought would be an exchange between F. Scott and Zelda, as its title indicates.
But, the book is almost entirely Zelda's writing. Zelda didn't keep many of Scott's letters, so they aren't here, and apparently his letters to other people are found in other books - not that they "belong" here, necessarily, but I would have liked to hear from Scott himself. For example, Zelda in the hospital: letters from Zelda to Scott are here. Scott clearly is doing things during these periods - including writing letters to hospital staff *about* Zelda's treatment (these letters, I believe, are in Bruccoli's book, F. Scott Fitgerald's Life In Letters).
Much of Scott's thoughts, therefore, are left to the imagination. He's in California at times; he's drinking; he's with their child. Since this book is about their relationship as told through letters--i.e., their own words and thoughts--I wanted his too.
So, I found it rather one-sided and its title misleading. Had I known I wasn't going to read a relationship in letters I may have had a different response. It's absolutely interesting to read Zelda's thoughts and we certainly understand much of their situation through reading this book. So, for what it is, it's interesting. But, for what it purports to be, it's lacking.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a vivid, moving portrait of a marriage told in the couple's own words to one another. While biographer and commentators on the Fitzgeralds and their period have provided their own interpretations of the most famous exemplars of the Jazz Age, Breyer and Barks have chosen to let the protagonists speak for themselves and to each other. The result is a look at two human beings struggling to find their identities, define their relationship, and establish their place in the world relative to one another. That they only partially succeeded but never stopped trying is what makes this collection of their letters compelling reading.
Highly recommended for anyone who wants to know what the world looked like to those living in, and often trapped in, its confines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Sudia-Skehan on October 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scott and Zelda's story in their own words. These letters are powerful, riveting, poignant, tragic and yet, finally, uplifting. In Zelda's own words, "Happily foreverafter, the best we could."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sean P. Endress on June 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I love about a well-written autobiography is that it takes someone larger-than-life and turns them into a real, accessible person, that you feel like you get to know. Obviously, this is no autobiography, not really, but it causes the same effect. These were real people, who laughed and cried, who reached incredible heights, only to fall from them.

But they are real, and they are beautiful. Anyone who has ever been in love will recognize their own heart in these pages, their own story. Genuine empathy and sympathy spills forth, as these two put feelings into words like no one else possibly could.

Of course, this is not merely a bound stack of letters, but is lovingly narrated by scholars Bryer and Barks, whose work puts the lives of the pair in order, and the letters into context. Their notes are thorough, yet concise, and the book would not be the same without their efforts.

I highly recommend this for fans of the Fitzgeralds or their work, and indeed to anyone who has ever loved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jake on December 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Super interesting and great read for anyone even remotely interested in the lives of F. Scott and Zelda. A tragic love story.
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I'm a huge fan of both Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and don't consider myself in either "camp." I empathize with both equally. I've read several biographies of Scott and Zelda, but these letters truly shed new light on their life together and their tragic love story. Zelda's humanity especially comes through as she tries to sort through what's happened to her and how she and Scott might get back to where they once were. I thought of Gatsby and his obsession with the past over and over again as I read these letters. Even though neither of them was content in their life together, both missed it enough to realize that they had lost something great that--we know--they would never get back.
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