Office of Public Affairs
(315) 312-2265
Oct. 10, 2001
CONTACT: Brad Korbesmeyer, 312-2625
OSWEGO -- Dr. Kendall Taylor, author of "Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A Marriage," will speak at 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, in Room 102 of Lanigan Hall at SUNY Oswego.
There is no admission charge for the event, which is part of the Artswego Writing Arts Series.
Taylor's book concentrates on the turbulent lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of venerable works including "The Great Gatsby" and "This Side of Paradise, and his wife Zelda. The two were glamorous media sensations in their day, but their lives would unwind tragically with Scott drinking himself to death and Zelda committed to an asylum, Taylor writes in "Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom."
Critics have taken note of the detailed work of Taylor, who is a Fulbright scholar and former professor. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jamie Spencer describes Taylor as "an elegant stylist and tireless researcher" whose manages to populate "her canvas with an array of exciting and distinctive Jazz Age folks. . . . She is particularly valuable as a cultural historian, trying to diagnose the origins of what Gertrude Stein called 'a lost generation' -- the loosening of post-War strictures, and the decay of Victorian standards (and) the rise of the new, more liberated woman…"
"Nearly 90 years later, their lives remain as fascinating as they were in their time," Elisa Poteat of UPI notes in a review. "Scholars of Fitzgerald may be impressed with the volume of correspondence on which Taylor relies. It is this attention to detail that makes Taylor's biography worth a look."
The seeds of the book were planted in 1964 when Taylor read Arthur Mizener's biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, which included little documentation of Zelda's life. Yet Zelda, Taylor notes, was an intriguing person and a prime motivator of Scott's writing, serving as the inspiration for Daisy in "The Great Gatsby" and Nicole in "Tender Is the Night." Zelda was a talented writer in her own right, as evidenced by her novel "Save Me the Waltz," Taylor argues.
Taylor, who also served as a former director of the Traveling Exhibitions Program at the Library of Congress for several years, conducted countless interviews with those who knew the couple and researched reams of correspondence, personal diaries and medical records. Decades of work paid off recently when Ballantine Books released the 442-page book in September.
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