The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, the novel depicts narrator Nick Carraway's interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby's obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.

The Great Gatsby
The book cover with title against a dark sky. Beneath the title are lips and two eyes, looming over a city.
The cover of the first edition
AuthorF. Scott Fitzgerald
Cover artistFrancis Cugat
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreTragedy
PublishedApril 10, 1925 (US)
February 10, 1926 (UK)
PublisherCharles Scribner's Sons (US)
Chatto & Windus (UK)
Media typePrint (hardcover & paperback)
Pages218 (Original US Edition)
Preceded byThe Beautiful and Damned (1922) 
Followed byTender Is the Night (1934) 

The novel was inspired by a youthful romance Fitzgerald had with a socialite, and by parties he attended on Long Island's North Shore in 1922. Following a move to the French Riviera, he completed a rough draft in 1924. After submitting the draft to editor Maxwell Perkins, the editor persuaded Fitzgerald to revise the work over the following winter. Despite being happy with the content of the text after revision, Fitzgerald was ambivalent about the book's title and considered a variety of alternatives. The final title that he was documented to have desired was Under the Red, White, and Blue. Fitzgerald was, however, happy with painter Francis Cugat's final cover design.

After its publication by Scribner's in April 1925, The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews from literary critics who believed that it did not hold up to Fitzgerald's previous writing and thus signaled the end of the author's literary achievements. As such, Gatsby sold poorly, and although Fitzgerald believed that negative criticisms of the novel did not interpret his work correctly, when the author died in 1940 he believed himself to be a failure and his work forgotten. However, during World War II the novel faced a critical and scholarly re-examination, and it soon became a core part of most American high school curricula and a focus of American popular culture. Numerous stage and film adaptations followed in the subsequent decades.

Gatsby continues to attract popular and scholarly attention. The novel was most recently adapted to film in 2013 by director Baz Luhrmann, while modern scholars emphasize the novel's treatment of social class, inherited wealth compared to those who are self-made, race, environmentalism, and its cynical attitude towards the American dream. As with other works by Fitzgerald, criticisms include allegations of antisemitism. The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary masterwork and a contender for the title of the Great American Novel.

Historical and biographical contextEdit

Set on the prosperous Long Island of 1922, The Great Gatsby provides a critical social history of Prohibition-era America during the Jazz Age.[a] That period—known for its jazz music,[2] economic prosperity,[3] flapper culture,[4] libertine mores,[5] rebellious youth,[6] and ubiquitous speakeasies—is fully rendered in Fitzgerald's fictional narrative. Fitzgerald uses many of these 1920s societal developments to tell his story, from simple details such as petting in automobiles to broader themes such as Fitzgerald's discreet allusions to bootlegging as the source of Gatsby's fortune.[7][8]

Fitzgerald educates his readers about the hedonistic society of the Jazz Age by placing a relatable plotline within the historical context of "the most raucous, gaudy era in U.S. history,"[1] which "raced along under its own power, served by great filling stations full of money."[3][9] In Fitzgerald's eyes, the 1920s era represented a morally permissive time when Americans of all ages became disillusioned with prevailing social norms and were monomaniacally obsessed with self-gratification: "[The Jazz Age represented] a whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure."[10] Hence, The Great Gatsby represents Fitzgerald's attempt to communicate his ambivalent feelings regarding the Jazz Age, an era whose themes he would later regard as reflective of events in his own life.[11]

Various events in Fitzgerald's youth are reflected throughout The Great Gatsby.[12] Fitzgerald was a young Midwesterner from Minnesota, and, like the novel's narrator who went to Yale, he was educated at an Ivy League school, Princeton.[13] While at Princeton, the 19-year-old Fitzgerald met Ginevra King, a 16-year-old socialite with whom he fell in love.[14][15] However, Ginevra's family discouraged Fitzgerald's pursuit of their daughter due to his lower-class status, and her father purportedly told the young Fitzgerald that "poor boys shouldn't think of marrying rich girls."[16]

Rejected as a suitor due to his lack of financial prospects, Fitzgerald joined the United States Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.[17] He was stationed at Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, Alabama where he met Zelda Sayre, a vivacious 17-year-old Southern belle.[18] Zelda agreed to marry him but her parents ended their engagement until he could prove a financial success.[19] Thus Fitzgerald is similar to Jay Gatsby in that he fell in love while a military officer stationed far from home and then sought success to prove himself to the woman he loved.[20][19]

After his success as a novelist and as a short story writer, Fitzgerald married Zelda and moved to New York.[21] He found his new affluent lifestyle in the exclusive Long Island social milieu to be simultaneously both seductive and repulsive.[22][23] Fitzgerald—like Gatsby—had always exalted the rich and was driven by his love for a woman who symbolized everything he desired, even as he was led towards a lifestyle which he loathed.[23][19]

Plot summaryEdit

George Wilson and his wife Myrtle live in the "valley of ashes," a refuse dump (shown in the above photograph) historically located in New York City during the 1920s. Today, the area is Flushing Meadows–Corona Park.

In Spring 1922, Nick Carraway—a Yale alumnus from the Midwest and a veteran of the Great War—journeys east to New York City to obtain employment as a bond salesman. He rents a bungalow in the Long Island village of West Egg, next to a luxurious estate inhabited by Jay Gatsby, an enigmatic multi-millionaire who hosts dazzling soirées yet does not partake in them.

One evening, Nick dines with his distant relative, Daisy Buchanan, in the fashionable town of East Egg. Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan, formerly a Yale football star whom Nick knew during his college days. The couple has recently relocated from Chicago to a colonial mansion directly across the bay from Gatsby's estate. At their mansion, Nick encounters Jordan Baker, an insolent flapper and golf champion who is a childhood friend of Daisy's. Jordan confides to Nick that Tom keeps a mistress, Myrtle Wilson, who brazenly telephones him at his home and who lives in the "valley of ashes," a sprawling refuse dump.[24] That evening, Nick sees Gatsby standing alone on his lawn, staring at a green light across the bay.

Days later, Nick reluctantly accompanies a drunken and agitated Tom to New York City by train. En route, they stop at a garage inhabited by mechanic George Wilson and his wife Myrtle. Myrtle joins them, and the trio proceed to a small New York apartment that Tom has rented for trysts with her. Guests arrive, and a party ensues that ends with Tom slapping Myrtle and breaking her nose after she mentions Daisy.

One morning, Nick receives a formal invitation to a party at Gatsby's mansion. Once there, Nick is embarrassed that he recognizes no one and begins drinking heavily until he encounters Jordan. While chatting with her, he is approached by a man who introduces himself as Jay Gatsby and insists that both he and Nick served in the 3rd Infantry Division during the war. Gatsby attempts to ingratiate himself with Nick and, when Nick leaves the party, he notices Gatsby watching him.

In late July, Nick and Gatsby have lunch at a speakeasy. Gatsby tries to impress Nick with tales of his war heroism and his Oxford days. Afterward, Nick meets Jordan at the Plaza Hotel. She reveals that Gatsby and Daisy met around 1917 when Gatsby was an officer in the American Expeditionary Forces. They fell in love, but when Gatsby was deployed overseas, Daisy reluctantly married Tom. Gatsby hopes that his newfound wealth and dazzling parties will make Daisy reconsider. Gatsby uses Nick to stage a reunion with Daisy, and the two embark upon a sexual affair.

 
The twenty-story Plaza Hotel—a château-like edifice with an architectural style inspired by the French Renaissance.

In September, Tom discovers the affair when Daisy carelessly addresses Gatsby with unabashed intimacy in front of him. Later, at a Plaza Hotel suite, Gatsby and Tom argue about the affair. Gatsby insists that Daisy declare that she never loved Tom. Daisy claims she loves Tom and Gatsby, upsetting both. Tom reveals that Gatsby is a swindler whose money comes from bootlegging alcohol. Upon hearing this, Daisy chooses to stay with Tom. Tom scornfully tells Gatsby to drive her home, knowing that Daisy will never leave him.

So we beat on, boats against the current,
borne back ceaselessly into the past.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby[25]

While returning to East Egg, Gatsby and Daisy drive by Wilson's garage and their car accidentally strikes Tom's mistress, Myrtle, killing her instantly. Gatsby reveals to Nick that it was Daisy who was driving the car, but that he intends to take the blame for the accident to protect her. Nick urges Gatsby to flee to avoid prosecution, but he refuses. After Tom tells George that Gatsby owns the car that struck Myrtle, a distraught George assumes the owner of the vehicle must be Myrtle's paramour. George fatally shoots Gatsby in his mansion's swimming pool, then commits suicide.

Several days after Gatsby's murder, his father Henry Gatz arrives for the sparsely-attended funeral. After Gatsby's death, Nick comes to hate New York and decides that Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, and he were all Westerners unsuited to Eastern life. Nick encounters Tom and initially refuses to shake his hand. Tom admits that he was the one who told George that Gatsby owned the vehicle that killed Myrtle. Before returning to the Midwest, Nick returns to Gatsby's mansion one last time and stares across the bay at the green light emanating from the end of Daisy's dock.

Major charactersEdit

Ginevra King (left)—whom Fitzgerald romantically pursued—inspired the character of Daisy Buchanan. Edith Cummings (right) was an amateur golfer who inspired the character of Jordan Baker. Both were fêted in the press as among Chicago's "four most desirable" debutantes.
  • Nick Carraway—a Yale University graduate from the Midwest, a World War I veteran, and, at the start of the plot, a newly arrived resident of West Egg, age 29 (later 30). He also serves as the first-person narrator of the novel. He is Gatsby's next-door neighbor and a bond salesman. He is easy-going, occasionally sarcastic, and somewhat optimistic, although this latter quality fades as the novel progresses. He ultimately despairs of the decadence and indifference of Eastern life and chooses to return to the West.[26]
  • Jay Gatsby (originally James "Jimmy" Gatz)—a young, mysterious millionaire with shady business connections (later revealed to be a bootlegger), originally from North Dakota. During World War I, when he was a young military officer stationed at the United States Army's Camp Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, he encountered the love of his life, the beautiful debutante Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is also said to have briefly studied at Trinity College, Oxford in England after the end of the war.[27] According to Fitzgerald's wife Zelda, the character was based on the bootlegger and former World War I officer, Max Gerlach.[28]
  • Daisy Buchanan—an attractive, though shallow and self-absorbed, young debutante and socialite from Louisville, Kentucky, identified as a flapper.[29] She is Nick's second cousin once removed, and the wife of Tom Buchanan. Before she married Tom, Daisy had a romantic relationship with Gatsby. Her choice between Gatsby and Tom is one of the central conflicts in the novel. The character of Daisy was inspired by Fitzgerald's youthful romance with Ginevra King.[30]
  • Thomas "Tom" Buchanan—a millionaire who lives in East Egg, and Daisy's husband. Tom is an imposing man of muscular build with a "husky tenor" voice and arrogant demeanor. He was a football star at Yale University. Buchanan has parallels with William Mitchell, the Chicagoan who married Ginevra King.[31] Buchanan and Mitchell were both Chicagoans with an interest in polo. Like Ginevra's father, whom Fitzgerald resented, Buchanan attended Yale and is a white supremacist.[32][33]
  • Jordan Baker—an amateur golfer and Daisy Buchanan's long-time friend with a sarcastic streak and an aloof attitude. She is Nick Carraway's girlfriend for most of the novel, though they grow apart towards the end. She has a slightly shady reputation because of rumors that she had cheated in a tournament, which harmed her reputation socially and as a golfer. Fitzgerald told Maxwell Perkins that Jordan was based on the golfer Edith Cummings, a friend of Ginevra King, though Cummings was never suspected of cheating.[34] Her name is a play on the two popular automobile brands, the Jordan Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor Vehicle, both of Cleveland, Ohio,[35] alluding to Jordan's "fast" reputation and the new freedom presented to American women, especially flappers, in the 1920s.[36][37][38]
  • George B. Wilson—a mechanic and owner of a garage. He is disliked by both his wife, Myrtle Wilson, and Tom Buchanan, who describes him as "so dumb he doesn't know he's alive." At the end of the novel, he kills Gatsby, wrongly believing that he had been driving the car that killed Myrtle, and then kills himself.
  • Myrtle Wilson—George's wife, and Tom Buchanan's mistress. Myrtle, who possesses a fierce vitality, is desperate to find refuge from her disappointing marriage. She is accidentally killed by Gatsby's car, as she thinks it is Tom still driving and runs after it (driven by Daisy, though Gatsby takes the blame for the accident).
  • Meyer Wolfsheim[b]—a Jewish friend and mentor of Gatsby's, described as a gambler who fixed the 1919 World Series. Wolfsheim appears only twice in the novel, the second time refusing to attend Gatsby's funeral. He is an allusion to Arnold Rothstein,[41][42] a New York crime kingpin who was notoriously blamed for match fixing in the Black Sox Scandal that tainted the 1919 World Series.[43]

Writing and productionEdit

The now-demolished Beacon Towers partly served as an inspiration for Gatsby's home.
Oheka Castle was another North Shore inspiration for the novel's setting.

Fitzgerald began planning his third novel in June 1922.[8] He desired to produce, in his words, a work that was "new," "beautiful," and "intricately patterned."[44] However, his work was interrupted by the troubled production of his stage play, The Vegetable throughout the late summer and early fall.[45] The play failed miserably, and Fitzgerald worked that winter on magazine stories struggling to pay his debt caused by the production.[46][45] The stories were, in his words, "all trash and it nearly broke my heart,"[45] although included among those stories was "Winter Dreams," which Fitzgerald later described as "a sort of first draft of the Gatsby idea."[47]

After the birth of their only child, Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald, the Fitzgeralds moved in October 1922 to Great Neck, New York, on Long Island. The town was used as the scene of The Great Gatsby.[48] Fitzgerald's neighbors in Great Neck included such prominent and newly wealthy New Yorkers as writer Ring Lardner, actor Lew Fields, and comedian Ed Wynn.[8] These figures were all considered to be "new money," unlike those who came from Manhasset Neck or Cow Neck Peninsula—places that were home to many of New York's wealthiest established families, and which sat across the bay from Great Neck.

This real-life juxtaposition gave Fitzgerald his idea for "West Egg" and "East Egg." In this novel, Great Neck (Kings Point) became the "new money" peninsula of West Egg and Port Washington (Sands Point) became the "old money" East Egg.[49] Several mansions in the area served as inspiration for Gatsby's home, such as Oheka Castle,[50] and the since-demolished Beacon Towers.[51] Another possible inspiration was Land's End, a notable Gold Coast Mansion where Fitzgerald may have attended a party.[52]

While the Fitzgeralds were living in New York, the Hall–Mills murder case was sensationalized in the daily newspapers over the course of many months, and the highly publicized case likely influenced the plot of Fitzgerald's novel.[53][54] The case involved the double-murder of a man and his lover which occurred on September 14, 1922, mere weeks before Fitzgerald and his wife arrived in Great Neck. Scholars have speculated that Fitzgerald based certain aspects of the ending of The Great Gatsby as well as various characterizations on this factual incident.[55]

By mid-1923, Fitzgerald had written 18,000 words for his novel,[56] but discarded most of his new story as a false start. Some of it, however, resurfaced in the 1924 short story "Absolution."[57] Work on The Great Gatsby began in earnest in April 1924. Fitzgerald wrote in his private ledger: "Out of woods at last and starting novel."[45] He decided to make a departure from the writing process of his previous novels and told Perkins that the novel was to be a "consciously artistic achievement".[58] He wished to fashion a "purely creative work—not trashy imaginings as in my stories but the sustained imagination of a sincere and yet radiant world."[59][60] Soon after this burst of inspiration, work slowed while the Fitzgeralds made a move to the French Riviera,[61] where a marital crisis[c] soon developed.[45]

By August, however, Fitzgerald was hard at work and completed a near-final version of the manuscript in October, sending the book to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, and agent, Harold Ober, on October 30.[45] The Fitzgeralds then moved to Rome for the winter.[62] Fitzgerald made revisions through the winter after Perkins informed him in a November letter that Gatsby himself was too vague as a character and that his wealth and business, respectively, needed a convincing explanation.[63] Fitzgerald thanked Perkins for his detailed criticisms and stated, "With the aid you've given me I can make Gatsby perfect."[64]

Content after a few rounds of revision, Fitzgerald returned the final batch of revised galleys in the middle of February 1925.[65] Fitzgerald's alterations included extensive revisions of the sixth and eighth chapters.[45] Further, he declined an offer of $10,000 for the serial rights to the book so that it could be published sooner.[45] He had received a $3,939 advance in 1923 and $1,981.25 upon publication.[66][67]

Alternative titlesEdit

 
Fitzgerald's editor, Maxwell Perkins, convinced the author to abandon his original title of Trimalchio in West Egg in favor of The Great Gatsby.

Fitzgerald had difficulty choosing a title for his novel and entertained many choices before reluctantly choosing The Great Gatsby,[68] a title inspired by Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes.[69] Previously he had shifted between Among Ash Heaps and Millionaires,[68] Trimalchio,[68] Trimalchio in West Egg,[70] On the Road to West Egg,[71] Under the Red, White, and Blue,[68] The Gold-Hatted Gatsby,[68][71] and The High-Bouncing Lover.[68][71] The titles The Gold-Hatted Gatsby and The High-Bouncing Lover came from Fitzgerald's epigraph for the novel, one which he wrote himself under the pen name of Thomas Parke D'Invilliers.[72] He initially preferred titles referencing Trimalchio, the crude upstart in Petronius's Satyricon, and even refers to Gatsby as Trimalchio once in the novel: "It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night—and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over."[73] Unlike Gatsby's spectacular parties, Trimalchio participated in the audacious and libidinous orgies he hosted but, according to Tony Tanner's introduction to the Penguin edition, there are subtle similarities between the two.[74]

In November 1924, Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins that he had settled upon the title of Trimalchio in West Egg,[75] but he was eventually persuaded that the reference was too obscure and that people would not be able to pronounce it.[76] His wife, Zelda, and Perkins both expressed their preference for The Great Gatsby and the next month Fitzgerald agreed.[77] A month before publication, after a final review of the proofs, he asked if it would be possible to re-title it Trimalchio or Gold-Hatted Gatsby but Perkins advised against it. On March 19, 1925,[78] Fitzgerald expressed intense enthusiasm for the title Under the Red, White, and Blue, but it was at that stage too late to change.[79][80] The Great Gatsby was published on April 10, 1925.[81] Fitzgerald remarked that "the title is only fair, rather bad than good."[82]

Early drafts of the novel have been published under the title Trimalchio: An Early Version of The Great Gatsby.[83][84] A notable difference between the Trimalchio draft and The Great Gatsby is a less complete failure of Gatsby's dream in Trimalchio. Another difference is that the argument between Tom Buchanan and Gatsby is more balanced, although Daisy still returns to Tom.[85]

Cover artEdit

Early drafts of the cover by artist Francis Cugat.

The cover of the first printing of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature.[86] It depicts disembodied eyes and a mouth over a blue skyline, with images of naked women reflected in the irises. A little-known Barcelonan painter named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the cover while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing the work.[86]

The cover was completed before the novel, and Fitzgerald was so enamored with it that he told his publisher Max Perkins that he had "written it into" the novel.[87] Fitzgerald's remarks about incorporating the painting into the novel led to the interpretation that the eyes are reminiscent of those of fictional optometrist Dr. T. J. Eckleburg depicted on a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson's auto repair shop.[88]

This latter interpretation was supported by author Ernest Hemingway who claimed in his memoir A Moveable Feast that Fitzgerald had told him the cover referred to a billboard in the valley of the ashes.[89] However, although this passage has some resemblance to the painting, a closer explanation can be found in Fitzgerald's explicit description of Daisy Buchanan as the "girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs."[86]

Contemporary receptionEdit

The Great Gatsby was published by Charles Scribner's Sons on April 10, 1925. Fitzgerald called Perkins on the day of publication to monitor reviews: "Any news?"[45] "Sales situation doubtful," read a wire from Perkins on April 20, "[but] excellent reviews."[90] Fitzgerald responded on April 24, saying the cable "depressed" him, closing the letter with "Yours in great depression."[90] Fitzgerald had hoped the novel would be a commercial success, perhaps selling as many as 75,000 copies.[90] The book had sold fewer than 20,000 copies by the time the original sale was done in October.[45] Despite this, Scribner continued to sell the original edition until 1946. At that time, various other editions of Gatsby were now in print, so there was no reason to continue marketing the original edition.[45] Fitzgerald received letters of approbation from contemporaries Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, and poet T. S. Eliot regarding the novel; however, such correspondence was merely private opinion, and Fitzgerald feverishly sought public acclaim from professional critics.[45]

 
Critic H.L. Mencken dismissed the novel upon its publication as lacking in substance, although he praised its style.

The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews from literary critics of the day. Generally the most effusive of the positive reviews was Edwin Clark of The New York Times, who felt the novel was "A curious book, a mystical, glamourous story of today."[91] Similarly, Lillian C. Ford of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "[the novel] leaves the reader in a mood of chastened wonder," calling the book "a revelation of life" and "a work of art."[92] The New York Post called the book "fascinating ... His style fairly scintillates, and with a genuine brilliance; he writes surely and soundly."[93] The New York Herald Tribune was less impressed, referring to The Great Gatsby as "purely ephemeral phenomenon, but it contains some of the nicest little touches of contemporary observation you could imagine—so light, so delicate, so sharp ... a literary lemon meringue."[94] In The Chicago Daily Tribune, H. L. Mencken called the book "in form no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that," while praising the "charm and beauty of the writing" and the "careful and brilliant finish."[95]

The thing that chiefly interests the basic Fitzgerald is still the florid show of modern American life—and especially the devil's dance and that goes on at the top. He is unconcerned about the sweating and suffering of the nether herd; what engrosses him is the high carnival of those who have too much money to spend and too much time for the spending of it. Their idiotic pursuit of sensation, their almost incredible stupidity and triviality, their glittering swinishness—these are the things that go into his notebook.

H. L. Mencken, Chicago Tribune, May 1925[96]

Several writers felt that the novel left much to be desired following Fitzgerald's previous works and promptly criticized him. Harvey Eagleton of The Dallas Morning News believed the novel signaled the end of Fitzgerald's success: "One finishes Great Gatsby with a feeling of regret, not for the fate of the people in the book, but for Mr. Fitzgerald."[97] John McClure of The Times-Picayune said that the book was unconvincing, writing, "Even in conception and construction, The Great Gatsby seems a little raw."[98] Ralph Coghlan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch felt the book lacked what made Fitzgerald's earlier novels endearing and called the book "a minor performance ... At the moment, its author seems a bit bored and tired and cynical."[99] Ruth Snyder of New York Evening World called the book's style "painfully forced," noting that the editors of the paper were "quite convinced after reading The Great Gatsby that Mr. Fitzgerald is not one of the great American writers of to-day."[100] The reviews struck Fitzgerald as completely missing the point, and he concluded that most reviewers misunderstood the novel.[101]

Gatsby did not have the commercial success of his two previous novels, This Side of Paradise (1920) and The Beautiful and Damned (1922). Although the novel went through two initial printings, some of these copies remained unsold years later.[102] Fitzgerald himself attributed the poor sales to the fact that women tended to be the main audience for novels during this time, and Gatsby did not contain an admirable female character.[102] According to his own ledger, he earned only $2,000 from the book.[61][66] Although 1926 brought Owen Davis' stage adaptation and the Paramount-issued silent film version, both of which brought in money for the author, Fitzgerald still felt the novel fell short of the recognition he hoped for and, most importantly, would not propel him to becoming a serious novelist in the public eye.[45] For several years afterward, the general public believed The Great Gatsby to be nothing more than a nostalgic period piece.[45] By the time Fitzgerald died in 1940, the novel had fallen into near obscurity.[103]

Revival and reassessmentEdit

 
Fitzgerald's friend Edmund Wilson helped revive the author's posthumous reputation.

In 1940, Fitzgerald suffered a third and fatal heart attack, and he died believing his work forgotten.[104] His obituary in The New York Times hailed him as a "brilliant novelist" and mentioned Gatsby as Fitzgerald "at his best."[105] In the wake of Fitzgerald's death, a strong appreciation for the book gradually developed in underground circles. Future writers Budd Schulberg and Edward Newhouse were deeply affected by it, and author John O'Hara acknowledged its influence on his work.[106] By the time that Gatsby was republished in Edmund Wilson's edition of The Last Tycoon in 1941, the prevailing opinion in writers' circles now deemed the novel to be an enduring work of fiction.[45]

In the spring of 1942, mere months after the United States' entrance into the Second World War, an association of publishing executives created the Council on Books in Wartime with the stated purpose of distributing paperback Armed Services Editions books to combat troops. The Great Gatsby was one of these books.[107] Within the next several years, 155,000 copies of Gatsby were distributed to U.S. soldiers overseas,[108] and the book proved to be popular among beleaguered soldiers, according to the Saturday Evening Post's contemporary report.[109]

By 1944, a full-scale Fitzgerald revival had suddenly occurred.[45][110] Full-length scholarly articles on Fitzgerald's works were being published in periodicals and, by the following year, the earlier consensus among professional critics that The Great Gatsby was little more than an unremarkable period piece had effectively vanished.[45] This belated Fitzgerald revival was led by the tireless promotional efforts of literary critic Edmund Wilson, who was Fitzgerald's Princeton classmate and his close friend.[110] In 1951, three years after Zelda's death in a hospital fire, Professor Arthur Mizener of Cornell University published The Far Side of Paradise, the first biography of Fitzgerald.[111] Mizener's best-selling biography emphasized The Great Gatsby's positive reception by literary critics which may have further influenced public opinion and renewed interest in it.[112]

By 1960—thirty-five years after the novel's original publication—the book was steadily selling 50,000 copies per year, and renewed interest led The New York Times editorialist Mizener to proclaim that the novel was a masterwork of 20th-century American literature.[45] By 1974, The Great Gatsby had attained its status as a literary masterwork and was deemed a contender for the title of the "Great American Novel."[113] By the mid-2000s, many literary critics considered The Great Gatsby to be one of the greatest novels ever written,[114] and the work was part of the assigned curricula in the near majority of U.S. high schools.[103] As of 2013, The Great Gatsby had sold over 25 million copies worldwide and continues to annually sell an additional 500,000 copies. The work is Scribner's most popular title; in 2013, the e-book alone sold 185,000 copies.[115] The novel's U.S. copyright expired on January 1, 2021, when all works published in 1925 entered the public domain in the United States.[116][117]

Critical analysisEdit

ThemesEdit

American dreamEdit

 
The "American dream" is a central theme underlying Fitzgerald's work.

Following the novel's revival, later critical writings on The Great Gatsby focused on Fitzgerald's disillusionment with the American dream in the context of the hedonistic Jazz Age,[a] a name for the era which Fitzgerald claimed to have coined.[118] In 1970, scholar Roger L. Pearson asserted that Fitzgerald's work, more so than other twentieth century novels, is especially linked with this conceptualization of the American dream.[119] Pearson traced the literary origins of this particular dream to Colonial America. This dream "is the belief that every man, whatever his origins, may pursue and attain his chosen goals, be they political, monetary, or social. It is the literary expression of the concept of America: The land of opportunity."[119]

However, Pearson noted that Fitzgerald's particular treatment of this theme is devoid of the optimism which is discernible in the writings of earlier American authors.[119] He suggests that Gatsby serves as a false prophet of the American dream.[120] The American dream pursued by Gatsby results only in dissatisfaction and disenchantment to those who chase it, owing to its unattainability.[120] In this analytical context, the green light emanating across the Long Island Sound from Gatsby's house is frequently interpreted as a symbol of Gatsby's unrealizable goal to win Daisy and, consequently, to achieve the American dream.[103][121]

Class permanenceEdit

Gatsby's inability to achieve the American dream is commonly ascribed by scholars and writers to entrenched class disparities in American society.[122] The novel underscores the limits of the American lower class to transcend their station of birth.[123] Scholar Sarah Churchwell contends that Fitzgerald's novel is, in essence, a tale of class warfare in a status-obsessed country that refuses to acknowledge publicly that it even has a class system.[123]

Although scholars posit different explanations for the continuation of class differences in the United States, there is a consensus regarding the novel's message in conveying its underlying permanence.[124] Although Gatsby's fundamental conflict occurs between entrenched sources of socio-economic power and upstarts such as Gatsby who threaten their interests,[125] Fitzgerald's novel shows that a class permanence persists despite the country's capitalist economy that prizes innovation and adaptability.[125] Dianne Bechtel argues that Fitzgerald plotted the novel to illustrate that class transcends wealth in America. Even if the poorer Americans become rich, they remain inferior to those Americans with "old money."[126] Consequently, Gatsby and other characters in the novel are trapped in a rigid American class system.[127]

Gender relationsEdit

 
A "flapper" as depicted by Ellen Pyle on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post (1922).

In addition to exploring the difficulties of achieving the American dream, The Great Gatsby also explores societal gender expectations during the Jazz Age.[128] Specifically, the character of Daisy Buchanan has been identified as personifying the emerging cultural archetype of the flapper.[29] At the time, flappers were typically young modern women who bobbed their hair and wore short skirts.[129][130] They also drank alcohol and had premarital sex.[131][7]

Despite the newfound societal freedoms attained by flappers in the 1920s,[132] Fitzgerald's work nonetheless critically examines the continued limitations upon women's agency during this period.[133] In this context, although early critics viewed the character of Daisy to be a "monster of bitchery,"[134] later scholars such as Leland S. Person, Jr. asserted that Daisy's character exemplifies the marginalization of women in the elite social milieu that Fitzgerald depicts.[133][135] Writing in 1978, Person noted that Daisy is more of a hapless victim than a manipulative victimizer.[136] She is the target first of Tom's callous domination and next of Gatsby's dehumanizing adoration.[136] She involuntarily becomes the holy grail at the center of Gatsby's unrealistic quest to be steadfast to a youthful conception of himself.[136] In the ensuing contest of wills between Tom and Gatsby, Daisy is reduced to a trophy wife or a glorified ornament whose sole existence is to augment her possessor's socio-economic success.[137]

As an upper-class white woman living in East Egg during this time period, Daisy must adhere to societal expectations and gender norms such as actively fulfilling the roles of dutiful wife, nurturing mother, and charming socialite.[133] Many of Daisy's choices—ultimately culminating in the tragedy of the ending and misery for all those involved—can be partly attributed to her prescribed role as a "beautiful little fool"[d] who is reliant on her husband for financial and societal security.[134] Her decision to remain with her husband despite her feelings for Gatsby is thus attributable to the status and security that her marriage to Tom Buchanan provides.[134]

Race and displacementEdit

 
Fitzgerald's novel references the fictional book, Goddard's The Rise of the Colored Empires, which is a parody of The Rising Tide of Color (1920) by Lothrop Stoddard.

Many scholars have written on the novel's treatment of race and displacement; in particular, a perceived threat posed by newer immigrants to America, triggering concerns over a loss of socio-economic status.[139] In one instance, Tom Buchanan—the novel's antagonist—claims that he, Nick, and Jordan are racially superior Nordics, and decries immigration and advocates white supremacy.[140][141] A fictional book alluded to by Tom, Goddard's The Rise of the Colored Empires, was intended by Fitzgerald to be a parody of Lothrop Stoddard's The Rising Tide of Color, which was a bestseller in the 1920s.[142] Stoddard warned that immigration would alter America's racial composition and destroy the country.[141]

Analyzing these elements, literary theorist Walter Benn Michaels contends that Fitzgerald's novel reflects a historical period in American literature characterized by fears over the influx of Southern and Eastern European immigrants whose "otherness" challenged Americans' sense of national identity.[143][144] Such anxieties were more salient in national discourse than the societal consequences of the First World War,[145][146] and the defining question of the period was who constituted "a real American".[147]

In this context of immigration and displacement, Tom's hostility towards Gatsby, who is the embodiment of "latest America,"[148] has been interpreted as partly embodying status anxieties of the time involving anti-immigrant sentiment.[148] Gatsby—whom Tom belittles as "Mr. Nobody from Nowhere"[149]—functions as a cipher due to his obscure origins, his unclear religio-ethnic identity, and his indeterminate class status.[143] Although his ethnicity is vague, his last name Gatz and his father's adherence to the Lutheran religion indicate his family are recent German immigrants.[150] This would preclude them from the coveted status of Old Stock Americans.[150] Consequently, Gatsby's socio-economic ascent is deemed a threat not only due to his status as nouveau riche, but also because he is perceived as an outsider.[151]

Due to such themes, The Great Gatsby arguably captures the perennial American experience because it is a story about change and those who resist it, whether the change comes in the form of a new wave of immigrants or the nouveau riche or successful minorities.[125] As Americans living in the 1920s to the present are defined by their fluctuating economic and social circumstances, contemporary readers are thus able to relate to Gatsby which has contributed to the novel's enduring popularity.[125]

Technology and environmentEdit

Technological and environmental criticisms of Gatsby seek to place the novel and its characters in a broader historical context.[152] In 1964, Leo Marx argued in The Machine in the Garden that Fitzgerald's work evinces a tension between a complex pastoral ideal of a bygone America and the societal transformations caused by industrialization and machine technology.[153] Specifically, the valley of the ashes represents a man-made wasteland which is a byproduct of the industrialization that has made possible Gatsby's booming lifestyle, including his automobile.[154] Marx argues that Fitzgerald, via Nick, expresses a pastoral longing typical of other 1920s American writers such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway.[155] Although such writers cherish the pastoral ideal, they accept that technological progress has deprived this ideal of nearly all meaning.[156] In this context, Nick's repudiation of the East represents a futile attempt to withdraw into nature.[156] Yet, as Fitzgerald's work shows, any technological demarcation between East and West has vanished, and one cannot escape into a pastoral past.[156]

In more recent years, scholars have argued that the voracious pursuit of wealth as criticized in Fitzgerald's novel offers a warning about the perils of environmental destruction in pursuit of self-interest.[157] According to Kyle Keeler, Gatsby's quest for greater status manifests in the form of self-centered, anthropocentric resource acquisition.[157] This encompasses Gatsby's "inspiration via Dan Cody's mining practices to his involvement in intense deforestation during World War I to his bootlegging enterprise dependent on South American agriculture."[157] Gatsby conveniently ignores the wasteful devastation of the valley of ashes in order to pursue a consumerist lifestyle and exacerbates the wealth gap that became increasingly salient in 1920s America.[157] For these reasons, Keeler argues that—while Gatsby's socioeconomic ascent and self-transformation depend upon these very factors—each one is nonetheless partially responsible for the ongoing ecological crisis.[157]

ControversyEdit

Fitzgerald based the character of Meyer Wolfsheim on Jazz Age racketeer Arnold Rothstein who was murdered in 1928.

The Great Gatsby has been accused of displaying anti-Semitism through the use of Jewish stereotypes.[158] The book describes Meyer Wolfsheim,[b] a character based on real-life Jewish gambler Arnold Rothstein,[159] as "a small, flat-nosed Jew", with "tiny eyes" and "two fine growths of hair" in his nostrils.[160] His nose is described as "expressive", "tragic", and able to "flash... indignantly."[160] A corrupt profiteer who assisted Gatsby's bootlegging operations and manipulated the World Series, Wolfsheim has also been interpreted as representing the Jewish miser stereotype. Richard Levy, author of Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, claims that Wolfsheim serves to link Jewishness with corruption.[160]

In a 1947 article for Commentary, Milton Hindus, an assistant professor of humanities at the University of Chicago, stated that while he believed the book was "excellent" on balance, Wolfsheim was its most abrasive character, and the work reads akin to "an anti-Semitic document."[161] However, Hindus argued that the Jewish stereotypes displayed by Wolfsheim were typical of the time period in which the novel was written and set and that its anti-Semitism was of the "habitual, customary, 'harmless,' unpolitical variety."[161][160]

A 2015 article by essayist Arthur Krystal agreed with Hindus' assessment that Fitzgerald's use of Jewish caricatures was not driven by malice and merely reflected commonly-held beliefs of his time. He notes the accounts of Frances Kroll, a Jewish woman and secretary to Fitzgerald, who claimed that Fitzgerald was hurt by accusations of anti-Semitism and responded to critiques of Wolfsheim by claiming that he merely "fulfilled a function in the story and had nothing to do with race or religion."[158]

AdaptationsEdit

StageEdit

Gatsby has been adapted for the stage multiple times since its publication. The first known stage adaptation was by American dramatist Owen Davis,[162] which subsequently became the 1926 film version. The play, directed by George Cukor, opened on Broadway on February 2, 1926, and ran for 112 performances. A successful tour later in the year included performances in Chicago, 1 August 20 through 2 October.[163]

More recently, The New York Metropolitan Opera commissioned John Harbison to compose an operatic treatment of the novel to commemorate the 25th anniversary of James Levine's debut. The work, called The Great Gatsby, premiered on December 20, 1999.[164]

In July 2006, Simon Levy's stage adaptation, directed by David Esbjornson, premiered at the Guthrie Theater to commemorate the opening of its new theatre.[165]

In 2010, Gatz, an Off-Broadway production by Elevator Repair Service, debuted and was highly praised by critic Ben Brantley of The New York Times.[166]

The novel has also been revised for ballet performances. In 2009, BalletMet premiered a version at the Capitol Theatre in Columbus, Ohio.[167] In 2010 The Washington Ballet premiered a version at the Kennedy Center. The show received an encore run the following year.[168][169]

Film and televisionEdit

The first movie version of the novel debuted in 1926. Itself a version of Davis's Broadway play, it was directed by Herbert Brenon and starred Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson, and William Powell. It is a famous example of a lost film. Reviews suggest that it may have been the most faithful adaptation of the novel, but a trailer of the film at the National Archives is all that is known to exist.[170] Reportedly, Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda loathed the silent version. Zelda wrote to an acquaintance that the film was "rotten." She and Scott departed the cinema midway through the film.[61][171]

Following the 1926 movie was 1949's The Great Gatsby, directed by Elliott Nugent and starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field, and Macdonald Carey.[170][171]

Twenty years later in 1974 The Great Gatsby appeared onscreen again. It was directed by Jack Clayton and starred Robert Redford as Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy, and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway.[170][171]

Most recently The Great Gatsby was directed by Baz Luhrmann in 2013, and starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy, and Tobey Maguire as Nick.[61][171]

A television adaptation of the novel was in development with Michael Hirst. The series will be a co-production between A+E Studios and ITV Studios America in association with Groundswell Productions.[172]

Other mediaEdit

Gatsby has also been adapted for other forms of media as well. It has been recast multiple times as a short-form television movie. The first was 1950's hour-long adaptation for CBS's Family Hour of Stars starring Kirk Douglas as Gatsby.[173] In 1955 The Great Gatsby was directed by Alvin Sapinsley as an NBC episode for Robert Montgomery Presents starring Robert Montgomery, Phyllis Kirk, and Lee Bowman.[174]Directly following NBC's version was a CBS episode for Playhouse 90, also titled The Great Gatsby, which was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starred Robert Ryan, Jeanne Crain, and Rod Taylor.[171] Most recently the novel was adapted as an A&E movie in 2000. The Great Gatsby was directed by Robert Markowitz and starred Toby Stephens as Gatsby, Mira Sorvino as Daisy, and Paul Rudd as Nick.[61][171]

The novel has also been read on radio, exemplified by BBC World Service's 2008 10-part reading of the novel. BBC has also performed the novel on radio. In a 2012 BBC Radio 4 broadcast, The Great Gatsby took the form of a Classic Serial dramatization. It was created by dramatist Robert Forrest.[175][176]

Gatsby has even been reimagined as a video game. In 2010 Oberon Media released a casual hidden object game called Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby,[177][178] in 2011 developer Charlie Hoey and editor Pete Smith created an 8-bit-style online game of The Great Gatsby called The Great Gatsby for NES,[179][180] and in 2013 Slate released a short symbolic adaptation called "The Great Gatsby: The Video Game."[181]

 
Cover of the first edition of The Great Gatsby's Italian-language edition, as published by Mondadori in 1936

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b Historian Jeff Nilsson described Fitzgerald as the poet laureate of the Jazz Age, "the most raucous, gaudy era in U.S. history." Nilsson posits that this period is among the most fascinating eras in U.S. history due to the cultural rebellion by American youth: "Youth in revolt didn't start at Woodstock, it began with Gertrude Stein's Lost Generation."[1]
  2. ^ a b The spelling "Wolfshiem" appears throughout Fitzgerald's original manuscript, while "Wolfsheim" was introduced by editor Edmund Wilson in the second edition.[39] This appears in later Scribner's editions.[40]
  3. ^ In France, while Fitzgerald was writing the novel near Cannes, his wife Zelda was allegedly romanced by a French officer and "romping around pretty much where the Palais des Festivals is."[61]
  4. ^ Daisy's declaration that she hopes her daughter will be a "beautiful little fool" was first spoken by Fitzgerald's wife Zelda when their child Scottie was born on October 26, 1921, in a St. Paul hospital.[138]

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ a b Donahue 2013a.
  2. ^ Fitzgerald 2003, p. 16: "The word jazz in its progress toward respectability has meant first sex, then dancing, then music. It is associated with a state of nervous stimulation, not unlike that of big cities behind the lines of a war."
  3. ^ a b Fitzgerald 2003, p. 18: "In any case, the Jazz Age now raced along under its own power, served by great filling stations full of money."
  4. ^ Fitzgerald 2003, p. 15: "Scarcely had the staider citizens of the republic caught their breaths when the wildest of all generations, the generation which had been adolescent during the confusion of the [Great] War, brusquely shouldered my contemporaries out of the way and danced into the limelight. This was the generation whose girls dramatized themselves as flappers, the generation that corrupted its elders and eventually overreached itself less through lack of morals than through lack of taste."
  5. ^ Fitzgerald 2003, p. 18: "The less sought-after girls who had become resigned to sublimating probable celibacy, came across Freud and Jung in seeking their intellectual recompense and came tearing back into the fray. By 1926 the universal preoccupation with sex had become a nuisance."
  6. ^ Donahue 2013a: "Youth in revolt didn't start at Woodstock, it began with Gertrude Stein's Lost Generation."
  7. ^ a b Fitzgerald 2003, pp. 14–15: "As far back as 1915 the unchaperoned young people of the smaller cities had discovered the mobile privacy of that automobile given to young Bill at sixteen to make him 'self-reliant'. At first petting was a desperate adventure even under such favorable conditions, but presently confidences were exchanged and the old commandment broke down."
  8. ^ a b c Bruccoli 2000, pp. 53–54.
  9. ^ Gross 1998, p. 167: "Like all great books, [The Great Gatsby] rises above its historical context. Although knowledge of the background adds dimension to the novel, it can stand very well without it. The garish, frenetic world of the 1920s is gone."
  10. ^ Fitzgerald 2003, p. 15: "[The Jazz Age represented] a whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure."
  11. ^ Fitzgerald 2003, pp. 13–24: Fitzgerald documented the Jazz Age and his own life's relation to the era in his essay, "Echoes of the Jazz Age" which was later published in the essay collection The Crack-Up.
  12. ^ Mizener 1965, pp. 11, 129, 140.
  13. ^ Mizener 1965, pp. 30–31.
  14. ^ Smith 2003: Fitzgerald later confided to his daughter that Ginevra King "was the first girl I ever loved" and that he "faithfully avoided seeing her" in order to "keep the illusion perfect."
  15. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 50: "Fitzgerald fell in love [with Ginevra King]. For Ginevra, he became for a time the most important of her many conquests."
  16. ^ Smith 2003: "That August Fitzgerald visited Ginevra in Lake Forest, Ill. Afterward he wrote in his ledger foreboding words, spoken to him perhaps by Ginevra's father, 'Poor boys shouldn't think of marrying rich girls.'"
  17. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 70.
  18. ^ Mizener 1965, pp. 79–80.
  19. ^ a b c Mizener 1965, p. 90: "Zelda would question whether he was ever going to make enough money for them to marry," and Fitzgerald was thus compelled to prove that "he was rich enough for her."
  20. ^ Mizener 1965, pp. 79–82.
  21. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 164.
  22. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 140: Although Fitzgerald strove "to become member of the community of the rich, to live from day to day as they did, to share their interests and tastes," he found such a privileged lifestyle to be morally disquieting.
  23. ^ a b Mizener 1965, p. 141: Fitzgerald "admired deeply the rich" and yet his wealthy friends often disappointed or repulsed him. Consequently, he harbored "the smouldering hatred of a peasant" towards the wealthy and their milieu.
  24. ^ Holowka 2009: "The valley of ashes was based on the sprawling Corona dump which would be regraded and buried under the 1939 World's Fair site, now Corona Flushing Meadows Park."
  25. ^ Fitzgerald 2006, p. 113.
  26. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 190.
  27. ^ McCullen 2007, pp. 11–20.
  28. ^ Bruccoli 2002, p. 178: "Jay Gatsby was inspired in part by a local figure, Max Gerlach. Near the end of her life Zelda Fitzgerald said that Gatsby was based on 'a neighbor named Von Guerlach or something who was said to be General Pershing's nephew and was in trouble over bootlegging.'"
  29. ^ a b Conor 2004, p. 301: "Fitzgerald's literary creation Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby was identified with the type of the flapper. Her pictorial counterpart was drawn by the American cartoonist John Held, Jr., whose images of party-going flappers who petted in cars frequented the cover of the American magazine Life during the 1920s."
  30. ^ Borrelli 2013.
  31. ^ Bruccoli 2002, p. 86.
  32. ^ Slater 1973, p. 54: "Early in the story, Nick Carraway, visiting the Buchanans, is surprised to hear Tom suddenly spout off about the polarization of the world between super-ethnic groups, the superior white race and the inferior colored races."
  33. ^ Bruccoli 2000, pp. 9–11, 246; Baker 2016
  34. ^ Bruccoli 2000, pp. 9–11.
  35. ^ Whipple 2019, p. 85.
  36. ^ Fitzgerald 1991, p. 184. Editor Matthew J. Bruccoli notes: "This name combines two automobile makes: The sporty Jordan and the conservative Baker electric."
  37. ^ Tredell 2007, p. 124: An index note refers to Laurence E. MacPhee's "The Great Gatsby's Romance of Motoring: Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker," Modern Fiction Studies, 18 (Summer 1972), pp. 207–12.
  38. ^ Fitzgerald 2006, p. 95; Fitzgerald 1997, p. 184
  39. ^ Fitzgerald 1991, p. liv.
  40. ^ Fitzgerald 1991, p. 148.
  41. ^ Bruccoli 2002, p. 179: "Meyer Wolfshiem, 'the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919,' was obviously based on gambler Arnold Rothstein, whom Fitzgerald had met in unknown circumstances."
  42. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 186.
  43. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 29.
  44. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 184.
  45. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Mizener 1960.
  46. ^ Curnutt 2004, p. 58: "The failure of The Vegetable in the fall of 1923 caused Fitzgerald, who was by then in considerable debt, to shut himself in a stuffy room over a garage in Great Neck, New York, and write himself out of the red by turning out ten short stories for the magazine market."
  47. ^ Fitzgerald 1963, p. 189: "3. 'Winter Dreams' (a sort of first draft of the Gatsby idea from Metropolitan 1923)"
  48. ^ Murphy 2010: From Fall 1922 to Spring 1924, Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda resided at 6 Gateway Drive in Great Neck, New York. While reflecting upon the wild parties held during the Jazz Age on "that slender riotous island," Fitzgerald wrote the early story fragments which would become The Great Gatsby.
  49. ^ Bruccoli 2000, pp. 38–39.
  50. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 45.
  51. ^ Randall 2003, pp. 275–277.
  52. ^ Kellogg 2011: "The 1902 home was owned, during its jazz-age heyday, by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope, one of the first recipients of the Pulitzer Prize and editor of the New York World. F. Scott Fitzgerald was said to have attended Swope's parties; the house, in Sands Point, New York, was the model for Daisy Buchanan's place."
  53. ^ Lopate 2014: Interview with Sarah Churchwell.
  54. ^ Churchwell 2013a, pp. 1–9.
  55. ^ Powers 2013, pp. 9–11: "The Hall-Mills murder case unfolded in the newspapers over many months: The double killing of an Episcopal minister and his lover occurred on the night of 14 September 1922, a few days before Fitzgerald and his wife arrived in New York."
  56. ^ West 2002, p. xi: "He produces 18,000 words; most of this material is later discarded, but he salvages the short story 'Absolution,' published in June 1924."
  57. ^ Bruccoli 2000, pp. 53–54; Eble 1974, p. 37; Haglund 2013
  58. ^ Eble 1974, p. 37. Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins: "I feel I have enormous power in me now. This book will be a consciously artistic achievement and must depend on that as the first books did not."
  59. ^ Flanagan 2000.
  60. ^ Leader 2000, pp. 13–15.
  61. ^ a b c d e f Howell 2013.
  62. ^ Tate 2007, p. 326: "They lived in ROME from October 1924 to February 1925."
  63. ^ Perkins 2004, pp. 27–30.
  64. ^ Eble 1974, p. 38.
  65. ^ Bruccoli 2000, pp. 54–56.
  66. ^ a b F. Scott Fitzgerald's ledger 1919–1938.
  67. ^ Zuckerman 2013.
  68. ^ a b c d e f Mizener 1965, p. 185; Bruccoli 2002, pp. 206–207
  69. ^ The Economist 2012: "Fitzgerald borrowed its title for The Great Gatsby (and some critics think Fournier's main characters were models for Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald's narrator, and his lovelorn pal)."
  70. ^ Vanderbilt 1999, p. 96: "A week later, in his next letter, he was floundering: 'I have not decided to stick to the title I put on the book, Trimalchio in West Egg. The only other titles that seem to fit it are Trimalchio and On the Road to West Egg. I had two others, Gold-hatted Gatsby and The High-bouncing Lover, but they seemed too slight.'"
  71. ^ a b c Vanderbilt 1999, p. 96.
  72. ^ Bruccoli 2002, p. 207.
  73. ^ Fitzgerald 1991, p. 88, Chapter 7, opening sentence.
  74. ^ Fitzgerald 2000, pp. vii–viii: Tanner's introduction to the Penguin Books edition.
  75. ^ Hill, Burns & Shillingsburg 2002, p. 331: In early November he wrote Perkins that "I have now decided to stick to the title I put on the book. Trimalchio in West Egg."
  76. ^ Fitzgerald & Perkins 1971, p. 87: "When Ring Lardner came in the other day I told him about your novel and he instantly balked at the title. 'No one could pronounce it,' he said; so probably your change is wise on other than typographical counts."
  77. ^ Bruccoli 2002, pp. 206–07
  78. ^ Tate 2007, p. 87: "He settled on The Great Gatsby in December 1924, but in January and March 1925 he continued to express his concern to Perkins about the title, cabling from CAPRI on March 19: CRAZY ABOUT TITLE UNDER THE RED WHITE AND BLUE STOP WHART [sic] WOULD DELAY BE."
  79. ^ Lipton 2013: "However, nearing the time of publication, Fitzgerald, who despised the title The Great Gatsby and toiled for months to think of something else, wrote to Perkins that he had finally found one: Under the Red, White, and Blue. Unfortunately, it was too late to change."
  80. ^ Churchwell 2013b: "At the last minute, [Fitzgerald] had asked his editor if they could change the new novel's title to Under the Red, White, and Blue, but it was too late."
  81. ^ Lazo 2003, p. 75: "When the book was published on April 10, 1925, the critics raved."
  82. ^ Bruccoli 2002, pp. 215–17
  83. ^ West 2002.
  84. ^ West 2013: "Luhrmann was also interested in Trimalchio, the early version of The Great Gatsby."
  85. ^ Alter 2013: "Gatsby comes across as more confident and aggressive in Trimalchio during a confrontation with romantic rival Tom Buchanan at the Plaza Hotel, challenging Tom's assertion that Gatsby and Daisy's affair is 'a harmless little flirtation.'"
  86. ^ a b c Scribner 1992, pp. 140–155.
  87. ^ Scribner 1992, pp. 140–155. Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins: "For Christ's sake don't give anyone that jacket you're saving for me. I've written it into the book."
  88. ^ Scribner 1992, pp. 140–155: "We are left then with the enticing possibility that Fitzgerald's arresting image was originally prompted by Cugat's fantastic apparitions over the valley of ashes; in other words, that the author derived his inventive metamorphosis from a recurrent theme of Cugat's trial jackets, one which the artist himself was to reinterpret and transform through subsequent drafts."
  89. ^ Hemingway 1964, p. 176: "A day or two after the trip Scott brought his book over. It had a garish dust jacket and I remember being embarrassed by the violence, bad taste, and slippery look of it. It looked like the book jacket for a book of bad science fiction. Scot told me not to be put off by it, that it had to do with a billboard along a highway in Long Island that was important in the story. He said he had liked the jacket and now he didn't like it. I took it off to read the book."
  90. ^ a b c O'Meara 2002, p. 49.
  91. ^ Clark 1925.
  92. ^ Ford 1925: "The story [...] leaves the reader in a mood of chastened wonder, in which fact after fact, implication after implication is pondered over, weighed and measured. And when all are linked together, the weight of the story as a revelation of life and as a work of art becomes apparent."
  93. ^ New York Post 1925.
  94. ^ New York Herald Tribune 1925.
  95. ^ Mencken 1925: "The Great Gatsby is in form no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that. The story for all its basic triviality has a fine texture; a careful and brilliant finish... What gives the story distinction is something quite different from the management of the action or the handling of the characters; it is the charm and beauty of the writing."
  96. ^ Mencken 1925.
  97. ^ Eagleton 1925: "[Fitzgerald] is considered a Roman candle which burned brightly at first but now flares out."
  98. ^ McClure 1925.
  99. ^ Coghlan 1925.
  100. ^ Snyder 1925.
  101. ^ Eble 1974, p. 37.
  102. ^ a b Bruccoli 2000, p. 175.
  103. ^ a b c Rimer 2008.
  104. ^ Donahue 2013b: "When 'Gatsby' author F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940, he thought he was a failure."
  105. ^ Fitzgerald's obituary 1940: "The best of his books, the critics said, was The Great Gatsby. When it was published in 1925 this ironic tale of life on Long Island, at a time when gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession, it received critical acclaim. In it, Mr. Fitzgerald was at his best."
  106. ^ Mizener 1960: "Writers like John O'Hara were showing its influence and younger men like Edward Newhouse and Budd Schulberg, who would presently be deeply affected by it, were discovering it."
  107. ^ Cole 1984, p. 25.
  108. ^ Cole 1984, p. 26: "One hundred fifty-five thousand ASE copies of The Great Gatsby were distributed-as against the twenty-five thousand copies of the novel printed by Scribners between 1925 and 1942."
  109. ^ Wittels 1945: "Troops showed interest in books about the human mind and books with sexual situations were grabbed up eagerly. One soldier said that books with 'racy' passages were as popular as 'pin-up girls'."
  110. ^ a b Verghis 2013.
  111. ^ Mizener 1965.
  112. ^ Mizener 1965, p. 183.
  113. ^ Eble 1974, pp. 34, 45; Batchelor 2013
  114. ^ Hogeback 2016; Lacayo & Grossman 2010; Burt 2010
  115. ^ Donahue 2013b.
  116. ^ Alter 2018.
  117. ^ Rossi 2020.
  118. ^ Pearson 1970, p. 638: "[Fitzgerald] was the self-appointed spokesman for the 'Jazz Age,' a term he takes credit for coining, and he gave it its arch-high priest and prophet, Jay Gatsby, in his novel The Great Gatsby."
  119. ^ a b c Pearson 1970, p. 638.
  120. ^ a b Pearson 1970, p. 645.
  121. ^ Hoover 2013: "What sank the novel in 1925 is the source of its success today. The Great Gatsby challenges the myth of the American dream, glowing like the green light on Daisy's dock."
  122. ^ Churchwell 2013b; Gillespie 2013; Bechtel 2017, p. 117
  123. ^ a b Churchwell 2013b.
  124. ^ Gillespie 2013; Bechtel 2017, p. 117; Churchwell 2013b
  125. ^ a b c d Gillespie 2013.
  126. ^ Bechtel 2017, p. 120.
  127. ^ Bechtel 2017, pp. 117, 128.
  128. ^ Drudzina 2006, pp. 17–20.
  129. ^ Conor 2004, p. 209: "More than any other type of the Modern Woman, it was the Flapper who embodied the scandal which attached to women's new public visibility, from their increasing street presence to their mechanical reproduction as spectacles."
  130. ^ Conor 2004, pp. 210, 221.
  131. ^ Fitzgerald 2003, p. 16: The flappers, "if they get about at all, know the taste of gin or corn at sixteen."
  132. ^ Conor 2004, p. 209.
  133. ^ a b c Person 1978, pp. 250–257.
  134. ^ a b c Person 1978, p. 253.
  135. ^ Donahue 2013a: "Often dismissed as a selfish ditz, is Daisy victimized by a society that offers her no career path except marriage to big bucks?"
  136. ^ a b c Person 1978, p. 250.
  137. ^ Person 1978, p. 256.
  138. ^ Bruccoli 2002, p. 156.
  139. ^ Slater 1973, p. 55; Pekarofski 2012, p. 52; Michaels 1995, pp. 18, 29; Vogel 2015, p. 43; Berman 1996, p. 33
  140. ^ Slater 1973, p. 54.
  141. ^ a b Michaels 1995, p. 29.
  142. ^ Slater 1973, p. 54; Vogel 2015, p. 36; Pekarofski 2012, p. 52
  143. ^ a b Pekarofski 2012, p. 52.
  144. ^ Michaels 1995, pp. 18, 29.
  145. ^ Berman 1996, p. 33.
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