"The first time I ever met Scott Fitzgerald a very strange thing happened."

F. Scott Fitzgerald's dependence on alcohol became notorious in the 1930s, as did the mental breakdowns of his wife, Zelda*. Indeed, the two conditions seemed inextricably linked. By the middle of the 1930s, Fitzgerald's alcoholism had become clinical, and he documented his experiences in his collection of essays entitled The Crack-Up. In a letter to a friend he is quoted as writing:

A short story can be written on a bottle, but for a novel you need mental speed that enables you to keep the whole pattern in your head and ruthlessly sacrifice as Ernest did in "Farewell to Arms." If a mind is slowed up ever so little it lives in the individual part of a book rather than in a book as a whole; memory is dulled.

F. Scott Fitzgerald on Book Drum

*For more on Scott and Zelda's relationship see 'Bookmark' for page 88: 'He told me that he and Zelda...'.