You Can Now Airbnb the Home of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Where the Author Wrote Tender Is the Night

Pho­to by George F. Lan­deg­ger, via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

F. Scott Fitzger­ald start­ed writ­ing in earnest at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, sev­er­al of whose lit­er­ary and cul­tur­al soci­eties he joined after enrolling in 1913. So much of his time did he devote to what would become his voca­tion that he even­tu­al­ly found him­self on aca­d­e­m­ic pro­ba­tion. Still, he kept on writ­ing nov­els even after drop­ping out and join­ing the Army in 1917. He wrote hur­ried­ly, with the prospect of being shipped out to the trench­es hang­ing over his head, but that grim fate nev­er arrived. Instead the Army trans­ferred him to Camp Sheri­dan out­side Mont­gomery, Alaba­ma, at one of whose coun­try clubs young Scott met a cer­tain Zel­da Sayre, the “gold­en girl” of Mont­gomery soci­ety.

With his sights set on mar­riage, Scott spent sev­er­al years after the war try­ing to earn enough mon­ey to make a cred­i­ble pro­pos­al. Only the pub­li­ca­tion of This Side of Par­adise, his debut nov­el about a lit­er­ar­i­ly mind­ed stu­dent at Prince­ton in wartime, con­vinced Zel­da that he could main­tain the lifestyle to which she had become accus­tomed. Between 1921, when they mar­ried, and 1948, by which time both had died, F. Scott and Zel­da Fitzger­ald lived an occa­sion­al­ly pro­duc­tive, often mis­er­able, and always intense­ly com­pelling life togeth­er. The sto­ry of this ear­ly cul­tur­al “pow­er cou­ple” has an impor­tant place in Amer­i­can lit­er­ary his­to­ry, and Fitzger­ald enthu­si­asts can now use Airbnb to spend the night in the home where one of its chap­ters played out.

The rentable apart­ment occu­pies part of the F. Scott Fitzger­ald Muse­um in Mont­gomery, an oper­a­tion run out of the house in which the Fitzger­alds lived in 1931 and 1932. For the increas­ing­ly trou­bled Zel­da, those years con­sti­tut­ed time in between hos­pi­tal­iza­tions. She had come from the Swiss sana­to­ri­um that diag­nosed her with schiz­o­phre­nia. She would after­ward go to Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal in Bal­ti­more, where she would write an ear­ly ver­sion of her only nov­el Save Me the Waltz, a roman à clef about the Fitzger­ald mar­riage. For Scot­t’s part, the Mont­gomery years came in the mid­dle of his work on Ten­der is the Night, the fol­low-up to The Great Gats­by for which crit­ics had been wait­ing since that book’s pub­li­ca­tion in 1925.

“The house dates to 1910,” writes the Chica­go Tri­bune’s Beth J. Harpaz. “The apart­ment is fur­nished in casu­al 20th cen­tu­ry style: sofa, arm­chairs, dec­o­ra­tive lamps, Ori­en­tal rug, and pil­lows embroi­dered with quotes from Zel­da like this one: ‘Those men think I’m pure­ly dec­o­ra­tive and they’re fools for not know­ing bet­ter.’ ” Evoca­tive fea­tures include “a record play­er and jazz albums, a bal­cony, and flow­er­ing mag­no­lia trees in the yard.” It may not offer the kind of space need­ed to throw a Gats­by-style bac­cha­nal — to the end­less relief, no doubt, of the muse­um staff — but at $150 per night as of this writ­ing, trav­el­ers look­ing to get a lit­tle clos­er to these defin­ing lit­er­ary icons of the Jazz Age might still con­sid­er it a bar­gain. It also comes with cer­tain mod­ern touch­es that the Fitzger­alds could hard­ly have imag­ined, like wi-fi. But then, giv­en the well-doc­u­ment­ed ten­den­cy toward dis­trac­tion they already suf­fered, sure­ly they were bet­ter off with­out it.

You can book your room at Airbnb here.

via Men­tal Floss

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free: The Great Gats­by & Oth­er Major Works by F. Scott Fitzger­ald

Rare Footage of Scott and Zel­da Fitzger­ald From the 1920s

Win­ter Dreams: F. Scott Fitzger­ald’s Life Remem­bered in a Fine Film

The Evo­lu­tion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Sig­na­ture: From 5 Years Old to 21

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Hand­writ­ten Man­u­scripts for The Great Gats­by, This Side of Par­adise & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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