Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who Was F. Scott Fitzgerald's Daisy? A new e-book

Chapter member Andrea Olmstead writes about her new e-book that investigates "Daisy"-- the leading lady of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby)  and her real-life counterpart, Margaret Terry Chanler (nicknamed "Daisy" in real life).  Chanler is a historical figure of musical significance. Andrea shares the musicological connections of her new book below:
Who Was F. Scott Fitzgerald's Daisy
A new e- book by Andrea Olmstead

Sometimes it helps to be a musicologist! You can catch things that scholars in other fields miss.

In writing my
Roger Sessions; A Biography I came across mention of composer Theodore Chanler's mother, Margaret Terry Chanler (1862-1952), described in a letter by Sessions' mother as "a great linguist, pianist, and reader." I knew that Fitzgerald and Sessions were born only months apart in 1896; Monday, September 24, is Fitzgerald's birthday.

I also already knew that Theodore, known as "Teddy," was a friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald's. Fitzgerald referred to Teddy's mother in his letters as "Mrs. Winthrop Chanler" in part because she was literally old enough to be his mother. All of Fitzgerald's scholars left it there; they did not know she was called "Daisy."

I even found a previously unpublished Fitzgerald letter to Teddy and reproduce it here.

A thwarted professional pianist--because she was a 19th-century woman--she made a point to go to premieres and get to know composers. The musicians she knew included Strauss, Mahler, Toscanini, Loeffler, Fairchild, Poulenc, Nadia Boulanger (a great friend) and Stravinsky. She played four-hand music at her Paris home weekly with Poulenc.

Henry James called her the most intellectual woman in America and Fitzgerald himself described her as "brilliant." I show in this book her direct influence on four characters in three of Fitzgerald's novels.

Her book,
Memory Makes Music, is a great read. Her daughter married Edward Pickman who gave Pickman Hall to the Longy School of Music of Bard College.

The e-book is available as a free download through tomorrow, Monday, October 1st (normally priced at $3.99) at Smashwords:
The coupon code is EZ47B

You can join the Smashwords site for free (email and password), from the book page, click "Add to Cart", enter coupon code and click "Update" and check out. Be sure to choose the correct format for your e-book or computer needs and click download.  

For more information, please contact Andrea Olmstead at andrea dot olmstead at gmail dot com

If you are a chapter member of the AMS-NE, we hope you will submit music-related posts for this blog. Posts may be edited for length and content, and are not guaranteed to be published. Publication is at the discretion of the blog editor. If you have a submission, please send it to Rebecca Marchand at rmarchand at bostonconservatory dot edu.

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