Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Gausse’s Hôtel des Étrangers (gos-es oh-tel day-say-trahn-jay). Hotel on the French Riviera located somewhere “between Marseilles and the Italian Border” in which the novel opens. The hotel’s beach is where the initial infatuation begins between Dick Diver and film star Rosemary Hoyt and is the site of many scenes juxtaposed to indicate both the Divers’ charm as a couple and the ultimate disintegration of their marriage.
The hotel is significant as a gathering place for an elite group of wealthy and fashionable people, of whom Dick Diver is the indisputable star. Initially Diver’s “talent” is described as an ability to bring out the best in people and make them feel inexplicably satisfied with themselves without too much self-examination. It is his idealism that draws people to him. The hotel also serves as a meeting place for the disparate symbolic elements in Tender Is the Night in which an older, worldly, aesthetically and morally bankrupt Europe–which is epitomized in the Hotel, the Riviera, Paris, and Rome–is contrasted with a “diseased” America, epitomized by Nicole Diver’s mental illness brought on by a betrayal of her innocence. Although Dick represents all that is vital, charming, hopeful, and best in America, he is unable to save his “home” (an Old World sense of tradition and values) and himself (American idealism). Instead, he sacrifices his own spiritual depth and potential to revitalize his psychologically sick wife (an irrevocably materialistic America).
*Zurich. Swiss city that is the site of the novel’s first flashback (to 1917), which delineates how Dick Diver meets and decides to wed–and rehabilitate–Nicole, the mental patient. It is also the site of Nicole’s internment after falling ill later in the novel.
Zurich may represent parallels with Fitzgerald’s own problems with his wife Zelda, who was hospitalized in a Swiss sanatorium until her death. The novel’s book 2 opens in Zurich, where Dick is to complete his studies. Switzerland is described as an “island” and implies isolation from the complications of a more morally bankrupt world. Switzerland is also where the couple finally retreats when Nicole’s sister, Baby Warren, finances Dick’s interest in a mental clinic. Finally, the city and its country also represent the field of psychoanalysis (Dick’s profession), his dedication to his wife, and ultimately his inability to cure himself of his incipient alcoholism.
*Rome. Italy’s capital city is the site of Dick Diver’s brawl with police, his affair with Rosemary, and a physical representation of his apparent deterioration. A horrific scene of violence in the Italian jail is symptomatic of the morally degenerating Dick–who can be saved only by the influence and money of Baby Warren–evidencing his moral degradation at being “bought” (implied throughout the novel every time Nicole’s money is mentioned.) The final irony, foreshadowed by Rome, is that by “consecrating” himself to his marriage, Dick is destroyed, while Nicole is cured. The cure, however, is representative of a prosperous America–robust, powerful, eminently capitalistic–just as Nicole herself has become, and who spends frivolously because she can. This “cure,” however, is achieved at a terrible cost, for Dick’s idealism and essence are lost.