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Greetings from Montgomery

12th International
F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference

Montgomery, Alabama
Nov 6th - 10th, 2013

Special Events (continued)

2. "Who Was Sara Mayfield?" with Jennifer Horne (Thursday, 8 a.m. at Troy University, Montgomery Campus)

If you've read your share of Fitzgerald biographies you probably know this book as the most critically disdained treatment of Scott and Zelda's lives and careers:

Sometimes unfairly known as the "anti-Milford," Exiles from Paradise was published in 1971 to correct so-called "misperceptions" popularized by Nancy Milford's bestselling Zelda from the previous year. The book's claim to fame was that its author was a childhood friend of Z's who knew the inside story-which turned out to be more a one-sided case of defending a dead friend and a hometown from gossip than of telling any "true" stories. As Kirkus Reviews put it at the time, "In [Miss Mayfield's] retelling of the entire story from drink to quarrel to drink to debt to drink, Scott not only suffers but Zelda gains very little; Miss Mayfield confirms here, chides and corrects there (without notes), claims at one point that Scott's 'off color' jokes were responsible for Zelda's crack-up, tampers with some of the relative knowns (the Josanne-here Jozan-affair becomes an 'infatuation') and one is left feeling that the book is a disservice to Zelda as well as Scott."

Because of the biography's negative reception, critics have spent little time exploring Mayfield herself. (Sally Cline's 2002 bio is the rare exception). A few years ago, Jennifer Horne set out to develop a fuller picture of who the woman was and discovered a compelling character with a life story every bit as tangled and tragic as Zelda's. Because Mayfield is a Montgomerian-and because she was also a confidante of H. L. Mencken's wife Sara Haardt and Tallulah Bankhead as well-we thought Jennifer's research in progress offered an excellent opportunity to humanize a misunderstood figure. Nobody will walk away thinking Exiles from Paradise is a rehabilitated book. You will, however, have a deeper appreciation of why it was written the way it was.

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(2013)A Brand-New Motion Picture Version starring Leonardo DiCaprio! Details, Review, and Images COMING SOON!


Fitzgerald and Faulkner Societies Collaborated at ALA Convention

The William Faulkner Society and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society worked together to organize a symposium on the two writers at the American Literature Association's 2012 convention which was held in San Francisco, May 24-27, 2012. A review will be forthcoming.

Contacts: Maggie Gordon Froehlich, Department of English, Pennsylvania State University, Hazelton (mgf10@psu.edu), and Jay Watson, Department of English, University of Mississippi (jwatson@olemiss.edu)