Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Save Me the Waltz makes fascinating reading for a student of literary history in several ways. First, there is the matter of the novel’s being read by one of the most famous twentieth century editors, Maxwell Perkins, who liked it well enough to give it serious consideration. Fitzgerald, however, also read the novel and made many changes, against the wishes of Zelda, although she eventually agreed to them. He had been working on his own novel about their marriage, Tender Is the Night, at the time, and had his way regarding matters he wished deleted or changed in the original manuscript of Save Me the Waltz. Together, Harry Dan Piper states, “these two chronicles of the same marriage seen from the wife’s and the husband’s points of view, form one of the most unusual pairs of novels in recent literary history.”

In a later edition (1960), the novel includes a preface by Harry T. Moore, a note on the text by Matthew J. Bruccoli, a set of emendations, and “an exact type transcript of the typescript opening of Chapter 2 in the form originally set in galleys.”

Scholars and critics have shown interest in the novel primarily because of the prominent position occupied by F. Scott Fitzgerald in American literary history. Consequently, critical concern has focused on autobiographical insights rather than on the aesthetic merits of Save Me the Waltz. Most critics, however, have mentioned the turgid prose...

(The entire section is 469 words.)