“The long roads to forgotten regretted nostalgias”: Traumatic Wounds in the Letters of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald





When twenty-five-year-old Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald asked her husband Scott Fitzgerald to resume her ballet lessons, he saw no objection to it. Fitzgerald thought the lessons would keep Zelda busy while he focused on his novel Tender is the Night (1934). Little did he know then that strenuous dancing rehearsals would lead Zelda to her first mental breakdown. While confined at several mental institutions from 1930 to 1948, Zelda used the epistolary form in an attempt to move from victim to artist. It is through her letters to Scott Fitzgerald that we discover her inner struggles and her longing for a career of her own. This article analyzes the different ways Zelda describes her traumas, as well as the symptoms of nostalgia and regret that can be found in Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’s correspondence with her absent husband.


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Author Biography

Vanesa Vázquez-Novo, Universidade da Coruña

Vanesa Vázquez-Novo is a scholar and teaching assistant of English as a Second Language and English Grammar at the University of A Coruña (Spain). Vanesa was granted a 3-year pre-doctoral fellowship by the regional Government of Galicia in May 2018. She has participated in different international conferences such as the “Gender and the Graphic Novel Symposium”, held at the University of Barcelona in March 2019, the “14th International Conference of the Spanish Association for American Studies”, held at the University of Salamanca in April 2019, and the “43rd AEDEAN Conference”, held at the University of Alicante in November 2019. Vanesa has worked as a Spanish Language Assistant at Wootton Upper School and Kimberley College (UK) in 2017 and 2018. She has also done research as a Visiting Scholar at the University of California (Santa Barbara) from August to October 2019. She is currently working on her PhD Dissertation, and her research interests include: Modernist women writers, female (auto) biographies, and trauma studies.


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How to Cite

Vázquez-Novo, V. “‘The Long Roads to Forgotten Regretted nostalgias’: Traumatic Wounds in the Letters of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald”. Revista De Estudios Norteamericanos, vol. 25, June 2021, doi:10.12795/REN.2021.i25.05.



Received 2020-06-19
Accepted 2021-05-04
Published 2021-06-25