Like no other decade, the 1920s carried a number of nicknames: the “Dry Era,” the “Jazz Age,” the “Roaring Twenties” and, as the denizens of Paris referred to it, les Anées Folles, the “Crazy Years.” On both sides of the ocean, perhaps, no two people personified that epoch better than F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. And today, July 24, 2018, would have been Zelda’s 118th birthday.
She was perhaps the quintessential “flapper,” the term used to describe the rebellious, non-conformist young woman of that era. She bobbed her hair and dressed (and behaved) provocatively. She smoked and enjoyed a cocktail or three, Volstead Act be damned!
And if Zelda was the personification of a flapper, her husband Scott was its chronicler and unofficial spokesperson. Specifically, you’ll find Zelda’s wild, flapper streak throughout the pages of his 1922 novel The Beautiful and Damned, which some critics referred to as The Beautiful and Slammed. You’ll also find aspects of her sprinkled throughout the pages of his other prose, notably in This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Jelly Bean, and his short story collection, Flappers and Philosophers.