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Francis Scott Fitzgerald, like a comet, during his short life has left the brightest light in the literature of the times of the so-called "lost generation" of America. The whole world was fond of his novels: "This Side of Paradise", "The Great Gatsby", "Tender Night". But even these masterpieces faded along with his life drama - love on the verge of madness.
Just a military man
Fitzgerald was born into a wealthy Irish Catholic family and received a prestigious education. He began writing plays and short stories while still in Princeton, where he first realized the bitterness of class inequality. For this reason, Frank, without waiting for the final exams, volunteered for the army.
The meeting of junior lieutenant Fitzgerald and the first beauty of the state of Zelda Sayr took place in one of the bars in the town of Montgomery, where the young man came with his colleagues to while away the evening.
And the daughter of a judge of the state of Alabama at this time was having fun there with a retinue of idols. Francis fell in love with the uninhibited beauty at first sight. Zelda, in her opinion, was attracted by the young man with a certain indescribable strength and inspired delight.
They did not even suspect at that moment that an ordinary flirtation would soon develop into a violent passion with adoration, jealousy, trembling and tears. That after a while they will become the most visible and discussed couple of their time.
The price of love
In 1918, when this fateful meeting took place, Zelda Sayr was only eighteen. She was a beloved and spoiled child, the youngest daughter in a wealthy family. She owes her unusual name to her mother's addiction to reading romance novels, the heroine of one of which was the bright gypsy Zelda.
The mother's pedigree, surname and father's capital automatically ranked the girl as a golden youth who lived for their own pleasure. The beauty was fond of drawing and ballet, and spent her free time at parties, not wanting to work. Even at that moment, Sayre clearly knew that she needed a sponsor who could turn her life into a continuous celebration.
Leaving the bar with friends of her circle, Zelda almost immediately forgot the hapless military man. Francis immediately realized that this was the most beautiful girl he had met in his life, and decided to get her hand at all costs. He began to send letters every day with confessions to his beloved, but she, after reading, put them in a collection of similar ones from other admirers.
After demobilization in 1919, Fitzgerald began working as an advertising agent in New York and soon wooed Zelda. The girl's parents, of course, did not approve of their daughter's candidacy for husbands. What a young man could offer her: poor love and his immense ambitions.
And yet the stubbornness of the young prevailed: they received a blessing on one condition - Frank had to immediately find a well-paid job. The elated young man went to New York, where he made an attempt to publish the first novel, but he was offered to refine the manuscript. This failure of the young writer threatened to end the engagement.
The bride, apparently, was not very upset by this - being left alone in her city, she continued to burn through her life, starting countless novels with pretty gentlemen. She was so confident in her perfection that somehow she decided to swim in the fountain completely naked.
And she did it in front of all passers-by, with a sexy grin on her lips. They did not whisper about her in the back streets with condemnation, on the contrary, the number of her fans increased markedly. For the sake of a loser, Zelda was not going to change her habits and lifestyle.
Once it happened that the girl, out of absent-mindedness, or perhaps with some kind of calculation, having drawn a message to one of her boyfriends, indicated Fitzgerald's address on the envelope. Indignant and offended, he immediately rushed to Zelda and demanded an explanation. In response, she silently removed the ring he had presented from her finger and threw it in his face with a grin.
That was the price of her love. The rejected groom returned to New York, confident that he would achieve all his goals and marry Sayre without fail. That was when that “rare gift of hope” was manifested, which afterwards the writer would endow his Great Gatsby with. Soon the novel he had rewritten with a new title, This Side of Paradise, was nevertheless published, and the next morning its author woke up famous.
A week later, the wedding of Francis Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre took place. The fame of the writer allowed the newlyweds to live in grand style. They did not deny themselves anything, especially in outrageous antics, which were constantly covered in the press. Their names did not leave the pages of the gossip column, arousing more and more public interest in their idols.
The couple could afford to walk to the theater in nude dress, or ride around town on the rooftop of a taxi, hugging each other. Real passions flared up only at home. After abundant libations and stormy caresses, noisy scandals began on the basis of jealousy.
Zelda has not changed her rule to have short affairs on the side. Once she even took a dangerous dose of sleeping pills when another lover left her. Fortunately or unfortunately, help in the person of Francis arrived in time.
Most likely, Fitzgerald himself did not like this life very much. It was difficult for him to combine huge doses of alcohol with creativity. After all, the so-called muse not only did not inspire the writer, but also pulled him into the abyss.
Even his friend Ernest Hemingway said that "this cat with empty eyes" was ruining Francis's talent. Meanwhile, Zelda's appetites were growing - she needed more and more money for luxury and revelry.
She was constantly intoxicated, cheerful and in demand by the stronger sex. They even brought her to the hospital drunk. The birth of their daughter Scotty, who was named after her dad, brought their life together for a while, but it was only the calm before the storm. The family boat was sinking inevitably.
On the verge of insanity
Once, during dinner in one of the Parisian establishments, Fitzgerald saw the great ballerina Isadora Duncan at the next table and went up to her to show his respect. But as soon as Frank left the table, Zelda got up, walked to the stairs and rushed downstairs. Those present froze, with horror expecting that the woman had broken her spine, but she escaped with a slight bruise.
This incident did not pass without a trace, because after a while Zelda began to be haunted by visions and voices. The diagnosis was disappointing: a severe form of schizophrenia. From that day on, the rest of the writer's life was devoted to the treatment of his wife. I tried to forget myself in wine and the society of street women, but in vain. Misfortunes, as if from a cornucopia, fell upon him in succession.
He no longer worked on novels, but wrote cheap plays, just to pay for the services of doctors. A fracture of the collarbone did not allow him to write for a very long time, then his mother died, and his daughter did not want to study and work, but only expected money from her father for her entertainment. Even an iron heart could not withstand such stress! In 1940, at the age of 44, Fitzgerald dies of a massive heart attack.
… Sometimes love looks like a bright rainbow, but it turns out to be a soap bubble that bursts at the slightest breath. And when it is measured in money, then its ending is deliberately tragic.
And another story that broke hearts - Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier: 20 years of love that began with a cinematic novel.