The Gatsby Affair: Scott, Zelda, and the Betrayal That Shaped an American Classic

A literary biography that upends everything readers have thought about the Fitzgeralds’ legendary romance and exposes Zelda’s reckless affair with the French aviator who became Scott’s model for Jay Gatsby, and for whom she was prepared to leave her marriage.

There was before Edouard Jozan and after, simple as that. The affair became that singular event for the Fitzgeralds, a decisive and determining experience continually revisited. It played a pivotal role in Zelda’s two novels, and but for it, The Great Gatsby would be more about lost illusions than adultery, and Jay Gatsby, a different character.

Both a literary study and probing look at an iconic couple’s psychological makeup, The Gatsby Affair explores this previously untold story and offers readers a bold new interpretation about how one of America’s greatest novels became profoundly influenced. 

It also examines Scott’s continual plagiarism of Zelda’s writing, from the early use of her diaries for his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to his last completed work, Tender Is the Night, in which, along with personal details of her breakdown, he used entire sections of letters she had sent from Prangins sanitarium. Since he was paying the bills, he considered Zelda’s writing his domain, and the brilliance of her life rests on how much she was able to accomplish, despite the formidable odds of being Scott Fitzgerald’s wife. 

When Edouard Jozan encountered Zelda Fitzgerald on the beach at San Raphael in the summer of 1924, he could never have known how their lives would be changed forever. He was prepared to love and she a willing accomplice. Her affair with the Frenchman set into motion a series of catastrophic circumstances that triggered a profound depression and culminated in Zelda’s first suicide attempt. By the time she questioned how much a heart can hold, she had ample time to experience its pain. She had lived by her own rules in America, but by doing so in France, what befell her was so damaging, it could not be dispelled by all the confidence that had characterized her youth. 
What began as a harmless interlude set into motion a series of tectonic consequences that became a turning point in the Fitzgeralds’ marriage. From then on, Scott set out to neutralize Zelda so there would be no further indiscretions. With alarming haste, she got reduced to a psychiatric label which condemned her to a life in asylums, where she was traumatized with interventions that worsened preexisting conditions and precipitated new ones.He never forgave her for the affair, and she never forgave him for institutionalizing her. They each had something to hold against each other for the rest of their lives. 

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Sometimes Maddness Is Wisdom

  Irresistibly charming, recklessly brilliant, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald epitomized everything that was beautiful and damned about the Jazz Age. But behind the legend, there was a highly complex and competitive marriage–a union not of opposites but almost of twins who both inspired and tormented each other, and who were ultimately destroyed by their shared fantasies. Now in this frank, stylish, superbly written new book, Kendall Taylor tells the story of the Fitzgerald marriage as it has never been told before.

Following the success of Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, Scott and Zelda took New York by storm. Scott was recognized as the greatest American author of the twenties and everyone was fascinated with Zelda, his ravishing young wife, known as the model for all his flapper heroines. Ultimately it all fell apart, and Kendall Taylor tells us why. Drawing on previously suppressed material, including crucial medical records, Taylor sheds fresh light on Zelda’s depths and mysteries–her rich but largely unrealized artistic talents, her own ambitions that were unfulfilled because she was Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald, her passionate love affairs. Zelda’s contribution to Scott’s fiction, which was based on her diaries, her letters, and her life, was her only great achievement–and for that she may have paid the terrible price of her own sanity.

In Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom, Kendall Taylor has created the definitive Fitzgerald biography. Written with sympathy, original insight, and dazzling style–and featuring memorable appearances from Edmund Wilson, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway, among others–this is a stunning portrait of a marriage, an age, and a fabulous but tragic woman. 

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Never Separate from the Heart

 Whenever an artist is more appreciated by fellow artist than by the critics or general public, it is often a signal that his or her work embodies special qualities. This is certainly the case with Phillip Evergood. Highly respected, indeed revered by other artists of his generation, Evergood was always viewed as an especially talented artist by his contemporaries, but has nonetheless remained on the periphery of recognition and acclaim. The intent of this book is to remedy this lack of critical attention. Kendall Taylor's well-documented and thorough study encourages readers and viewers alike to look again at the work of this highly individual and creative artist.  

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Direct through the Publisher


Author: Kendall Taylor

Title:  The Gatsby Affair; Scott, Zelda and the Betrayal That Framed an American Classic

ISBN: 978-1-5381-0493-4

Genre: Literary Criticism, Biography

Price:  Hardback $27.00 eBook $25.99

Pages: 320

Publication Date: August 8, 2018

Synopsis: The romance between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre has been celebrated as one of the greatest of the 20th century. But it was a tumultuous one, and from the beginning both engaged in flirtations that threatened to tear the couple apart. None had a more profound impact on the two, and on Scott’s writing, as the liaison between Zelda and a French aviator, Edouard Jozan. Although other biographers have written of Jozan as one of Scott’s romantic rivals, accounts of the pilot’s effect on the Fitzgeralds have been superficial. In her new book, Kendall Taylor sheds light on this romantic triangle. More than a casual fling, Zelda’s tryst with Jozan affected Scott as much as it did his wife, and ultimately influenced the author’s most famous creation, Jay Gatsby. Were it not for Zelda’s affair with the pilot, Scott’s novel might be less about betrayal and more about lost illusions.  Both a literary study and probing look an iconic couple’s psychological makeup, The Gatsby Affair offers readers a bold new interpretation of how one of America’s greatest novels was influenced.

Formats: Hardcover, e book

Territories Sold: North America 


“Kendall Taylor rips the lid off one of the world’s great literary mysteries—the love triangle between Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and French aviator Edouard Jozan. Brimming with strong research and enchanted writing, Taylor’s engaging account of the love affair and its consequences is sure to stir fans eager to dig into this absorbing chapter in the lives of Scott and Zelda.” 

—Bob Batchelor, author of Gatsby: The Cultural History of the Great American Novel

“With Admirable scholarship, Kendall Taylor takes the reader on a journey into the complex heart of the Jazz Era. Probing the volatile Fitzgerald marriage, she shows the destructive forces unleashed by infidelity, and portrays Zelda as a suppressed creator in her own right. An absorbing study of one of the most fascinating couples of the twentieth century.” 

—Mary McAuliffe, author of  When Paris Sizzled: The 1920’s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker and the Friends.

“Who is Edouard Jozan? The intriguing mystery man in the saga of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald has long eluded literary sleuths. In a stunning feat of research, Kendall Taylor brings the French aviator out of the shadows to reveal how he influenced the writing of a classic novel and left his mark on the marriage of an iconic couple. This is an important, richly detailed biography that will deepen our understanding of American literature.” 

—Marion Meade, author of Dorothy Parker; What Fresh Hell Is This?