Zelda writes in direct yet passionate prose, Fitzgerald with a poetic flair reminiscent of his fiction. The result is an engrossing account of their love story—full of longing and ardor, heartbreak and betrayal ... Over the years, myths have emerged around their romance...but their letters portray something else: a singular, enigmatic connection ... Eleanor Lanahan...writes...a moving introduction to their exceptional letters.
Read this book for Zelda, even if you’re weary of the cultural obsession with her. Better yet, if you’re disinterested entirely, as I was, and perplexed by the cultural fascination (in recent years, there have been four novels based on her life, and three major biopics are in the works) ... I was anticipating someone doleful, distracted—not this funny, hard-boiled observer of her own life whose letters read like short stand-up sequences ... She remains this way: arch, amused, self-mocking, writing parodies of the kind of simpering love letters expected of young women ... She has no secondhand impressions or turns of phrase—everything she writes and thinks feels tart, original, lightly distressing ... Ardor is her mode, and Scott her 'sungod' ... We recall their raucous early days, their extravagant unhappiness, but after reading these letters what strikes you is their steadiness, a shocking word to apply to them.
...the selection from the Fitzgeralds' correspondence edited by Jackson Bryers and Cathy Barks, and pre-emptively called 'love letters,' repeats the legend of a great and timeless romance ... But...their relationship can no longer be regarded as a great love story. Instead, it demonstrates the terrible danger of such romantic fairytales, and the melancholy dangers of a culture, like that of the American South or the Lost Generation, that sacrifices the present to the imagined glories of the past.
It would be more apt, perhaps, to call the volume Mostly Dear Scott, for the majority of letters are from Zelda. Yet there are enough responses from her husband to give credibility to the title and, more importantly, to give a sense of the often sad symbiosis of their relationship ... The letters between Scott and Zelda trace the arc of their love its great passion, its failures and its enduring strengths.
Considering that each new decade supplies enough material on the Fitzgeralds to fill a library shelf, the letters included in Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda offer fresh insights on the most celebrated American literary marriage ... At times, Zelda stuns us with a lucid acceptance of her illness ... Partly because many of Scott’s letters weren’t preserved, Zelda’s personality seems more pervasive. This collection highlights her intelligence better than any biography.
...[an] invaluable collection of letters, most previously unpublished or long unavailable, a compilation that enables readers to witness firsthand the profound and sorely tested love of these two 'gifted and troubled human beings.' Eloquently introduced by Eleanor Lanahan...this exceptionally moving correspondence reveals two ardent and creative souls struggling with the ruthless demands of the artistic imperative as well as two terrible diseases ... The majority of the letters are Zelda’s, and they’re dazzling in their vividness, metaphorical richness, and humor, and unfailing in their affection. Adoring, forgiving, and hardworking, Scott and Zelda were steadfastly committed to each other, and to art.
... the letters capture the couple’s unending connection and bond. While it isn’t frequently that one sets out to read a book of letters since their attraction is unique and particular, their content specific, the appeal of letters between F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald is greater than many other figures, and the reward of reading these letters outshines a simple scholarly appeal ... a certain one-sided conversation exists here and throughout...Certainly, as a collection purporting to contain the correspondence of both Zelda and F. Scott, it would be remiss not to point out that deficiency ... The editors frame Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda with supportive biographical material and fill in other details by providing helpful footnotes, making the work a quasi-biography. Even a reader naïve to the Fitzgeralds’ lives will glean much about them here. All readers will appreciate the elegance of both writers here, and will, moreover, relish the couple’s unending devotion to each other.
Although Zelda's writing was overshadowed by Scott's, her letters, youthful and schoolgirlish at first, develop a witty elegance that rivals or surpasses that of her husband ... This collection of letters includes an introduction by the Fitzgeralds' great-granddaughter, Eleanor Lanahan, and detailed commentary by editors and scholars Bryer (emeritus, English) and Barks (American literature, both Univ. of Maryland) that help to reduce the sensationalism that often characterized the duo and to depict them as intelligent and hardworking, if also dysfunctional ... Fitzgerald enthusiasts will find these revealing letters sad but insightful.
...an intimate account of an enduring romantic union ... 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.
Carefully annotated ... [a] a fine collection of letters ... Bryer and Barks (both Literature/Univ. of Maryland) provide useful headnotes and footnotes to the correspondence, which rivals the love letters of Abelard and Heloise in thoughtful billing and cooing while enumerating a range of betrayals and dissatisfactions ... To have [the letters] all so well presented in one volume is useful indeed. A boon for general readers as well as literary scholars.