July 2019 marks the 119th anniversary of Zelda Fitzgerald’s birthday. Check out these books (and a TV show) to learn more about the life of the Alabama-born writer, painter and dancer.
Superzelda (Tiziana Lo Porto and Daniele Marotta)
Written by Tiziano Lo Porto, with illustrations by Daniele Marotta, Superzelda is a graphic novel and a biography recounting the life of Zelda Fitzgerald. Superzelda uses historical narrative and research to vividly portray her life. This graphic narrative encompasses Zelda’s life in Alabama to her travels to Europe with F. Scott Fitzgerald, their daughter Scottie, to her later untimely death in 1948. Superzelda is a wonderfully evocative and poignant account of the life of Zelda, and the use of the graphic narrative symbolically serves to bridge the gap between Zelda role as artist, writer and dancer.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (Therese Anne Fowler)
Therese Anne Fowler’s novel captures the marriage of the Fitzgeralds and reimagines Zelda throughout her courtship with F. Scott Fitzgerald and subsequent marriage to him. It chronicles Zelda’s struggle to establish her own identity, separate from that of her husband, and the trials and tribulations of their marriage. Fowler’s novel focuses on F. Scott and Zelda’s journey to become the legendary couple we think of today, while also showcasing the tensions that fraught their relationship from Zelda’s point of view. In Z, Fowler manages to perfectly bring together emotional depth and historical narrative to contextualize the life of Zelda Fitzgerald.
Zelda (Nancy Milford)
Nancy Milford’s Zelda is one of the most comprehensive biographies of Zelda Fitzgerald. It spans her whole life, attempting to capture the intricacies of her life, from Southern belle in Alabama to a writer, painter and dancer. Milford’s biography also focuses on highlighting Zelda’s struggle between her husband’s writing and her own identity, both personally and professionally.
Zelda Fitzgerald (Sally Cline)
Cline’s biography of Zelda Fitzgerald focuses on her mental illness and the latter part of her life. Through Zelda’s writing and letters, Cline attempts to understand her mental illness through interviews with former medical professionals, medical histories and Zelda’s works. Situating Zelda amongst prominent literary figures of the time, such as her husband F. Scott Fiztgerald and Ernest Hemingway, Cline’s work attempts to understand Zelda Fitzgerald as never before.
“Z: The Beginning of Everything“ (Amazon Prime Video Series)
Based on Therese Anne Fowler’s novel, Amazon’s 2015 series on Zelda Fitzgerald, “Z: The Beginning of Everything” stars Cristina Ricci as Zelda and David Hoflin as F. Scott Fitzgerald. A fictionalized version of their marriage, “Z: The Beginning of Everything” focuses on the initial stages of their marriage, from before F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise to the tensions that resulted from their extravagant lifestyle. With Ricci’s wonderful performance as Zelda and the focus on aesthetics, this series perfectly captures the couple in the literary and cultural circles of the 1920s and ’30s.