Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell - review by Anne Sebba

Anne Sebba

Grace under Pressure

Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation


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What exactly is a flapper? According to Zelda Fitzgerald, possibly the most vibrant and troubled of the six women in this book, ‘Flappers are brave and gay and beautiful.’ She said she hoped her daughter would be a flapper rather than a genius. Interviewed by an American reporter about her attitudes to modern women, Zelda commented, ‘I like the jazz generation, and hope my daughter’s generation will be jazzier. I think a woman gets more happiness out of being gay … than out of a career that calls for hard work, intellectual pessimism and loneliness.’

But at the time Zelda made these comments, though only 26, she was close to the breakdown that would destroy her once starry existence as the wife and muse of the novelist F Scott Fitzgerald, and was far from feeling brave, beautiful or high-spirited. As this informative and deeply moving

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