Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, born Zelda Sayre, was a novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920sdubbed by her husband "the first American Flapper". After the success of his first novel This Side of Paradise (1920), the Fitzgeralds became celebrities. The newspapers of New York saw them as embodiments of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties: young, rich, beautiful, and energetic.
Zelda Sayre grew up in a wealthy and prim southern family. Even as a child her audacious behavior was the subject of Montgomery gossip. Shortly after finishing high school, she met F. Scott Fitzgerald at a dance. A whirlwind courtship ensued. Though he had professed his infatuation, she continued seeing other men. Despite fights and a prolonged break-up, they married in 1920, and spent the early part of the decade as literary celebrities in New York. Later in the 1920s, they moved to Europe, recast as famous expatriates of the Lost Generation. While Scott received acclaim for The Great Gatsby and his short stories, and the couple socialized with literary luminaries like Ernest Hemingway, their marriage was a tangle of jealousy, resentment and acrimony. Scott used their relationship as material in his novels, even lifting snippets from Zelda's diary and assigning them to his fictional heroines. Seeking an artistic identity of her own, Zelda wrote magazine articles and short stories, and at 27 became obsessed with a career as a ballerina, practicing to exhaustion.
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