The prolonged public fascination with the Fitzgeralds’ lives has not changed the way we think about inspiration, collaboration, or the personal and the professional designations used for various kinds of artists. By relying upon a traditional, stereotypical conception of the artist and the muse, we have reinforced an either/or schematic that erases the subtler, yet still meaningful elements of their relationship. Thanks to Zelda Fitzgerald's growing interest in her writing career, the Fitzgeralds’ personal and artistic relationship developed through phases during their years together—from musedom to apprenticeship, then from collaboration to a more autonomous sense of individual artistic identities. F. Scott Fitzgerald's periodic resistance to his wife's development, I argue, was influenced not only by a desire to defend his artistic turf but also by the modernist ideology of the period that portrayed the professional artist as a masculine paragon who defended “true” literature against the feminized popular masses. By placing the Fitzgeralds’ artistic struggles within this historical context, we are able to get a fuller, more accurate view of the nature of their conflict, and we can use their case as a representative example through which to examine the gendered notions inherent in the ideology of artistic production at the time.

You do not currently have access to this content.