F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference
Nov 6th - 10th, 2013
3. Bus Tour of Significant Fitzgerald Sites
(Thursday, Nov 7, 1:30-5:30 p.m.)
After lunch on Thursday, we'll load into buses to tour Fitzgerald associated sites in Montgomery. Some may seem trivial-The Elite Café, where they ate-while others are more importance, including 6 Pleasant Avenue, where Zelda grew up, and Camp Sheridan, where Scott was stationed. Whatever their relative significance, they all share one common thing: they're all gone! No, really: most of the Fitzgerald sites have been lost to history. But that doesn't mean you won't get a sense of the local geography, as well as insights into the city itself.
Our most important stop will be to a place that does still exist: Oakwood Cemetery, home of "The Ice Palace." There you'll not only see the valley of Confederate graves Sally Carrol Happer strides through but the peculiar mausoleum described in this passage from a 1919 letter from Zelda to her beau:
I've spent to-day in the grave-yard … trying to unlock a rusty iron vault built into the side of the hill.… The boys wanted to get in to test my nerve-to-night-I wanted to feel "William Wreford, 1864." Why should graves make people feel in vain? I've heard that so much, and [Thomas] Grey is so convincing [in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard], but somehow I can't find anything hopeless in having lived-All the broken columnes [sic] and clasped hands and doves and angels mean romances.… Isn't it funny how, out of a row of Confederate soldiers, two or three will make you think of dead lovers and dead loves-when they're exactly like the others, even to the yellowish moss? Old death is so beautiful-so very beautiful-We will die together-I know-
|While at Oakwood, we'll also visit the graves of Zelda's parents and remember the beautiful passage from Save Me the Waltz in which the divine Ms. F describes her father's final resting place.|
Our final stop of the afternoon will be Oak Park, where Zelda would have lounged away summers as a teenager. The park's history is a complicated one and bears the scars of the city's infamous segregationist history. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful piece of greenery, and while there we'll have a reception at the city planetarium, which is operated by Troy University. As we all know, Fitzgerald was fixated with stars and the romantic beauty of starlight; they're all throughout his writing.
The planetarium will also be the site of our afternoon keynote:
"The Seduction of Dick Diver," by Scott Donaldson
|Longtime Society members know and revere Professor Donaldson as the author of Fool for Love, F. Scott Fitzgerald, originally published in 1983 but now, through the miracle of technology, republished by the University of Minnesota Press. Some of the most insightful assessments of Fitzgerald ever are found in Professor Donaldson's "greatest hits" collection, Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days(2009), and his Death of a Rebel: The Charlie Fenton Story (2011) is a magnificent exploration of a charismatic, doomed Hemingway scholar that bridges the gap between journalism and scholarship.|