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F. Scott Fitzgerald - Geskiedenis

F. Scott Fitzgerald - Geskiedenis

F. Scott Fitzgerald

1896- 1940

Romanskrywer

Francis Scott Fitzgerald is op 24 September 1896 in St Paul Minnesota gebore. Fitzgerald het grootgeword in 'n gemaklike Katolieke huis en na Katolieke skole gegaan. Hy het na die Newman School gegaan vir hoërskool en daarna na Princeton, waar hy sy eerste roman geskryf het. Hy verlaat Princeton om in 1917 by die weermag aan te meld. Nadat hy die weermag gedien het, het hy 'n kort tydjie in New York gewerk om advertensie -eksemplare te skryf, voordat hy teruggekeer het na sy ouerhuis om This Side of Paradise wat deur Scribner uitgegee is, te voltooi. onmiddellike sukses, met die begin van sy loopbaan. Fitzgerald beskryf die morele verval van die rykes in sy verhale uit die era wat hy 'The Jazz Age' noem.

'N Moeilike huwelik met die verstandelik onstabiele Zelda Sayre, tesame met sy eie probleme (insluitend alkoholmisbruik en finansiële terugslae), het sy loopbaanvordering tot 'n mate belemmer, hoewel hy daarin geslaag het om van die mees bekroonde literatuur van die eeu te skryf, waaronder The Great Gatsby (1925).


F. Scott Fitzgerald se eerste roman gepubliseer

Hierdie kant van die paradys word gepubliseer, en stel onmiddellik die 23-jarige F. Scott Fitzgerald bekend om roem en rykdom.

Fitzgerald, vernoem na sy voorvader Francis Scott Key, skrywer van “The Star Spangled Banner, ” is gebore in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 'n eens welgestelde gesin wat in rykdom en invloed neergedaal het. Met die finansiering van 'n welgestelde tante, is Fitzgerald in 1911 na die kosskool in New Jersey gestuur en twee jaar later aan die Princeton-universiteit gegaan. Alhoewel Fitzgerald aktief betrokke was by teater, kuns en ander kampusaktiwiteite, was sy finansiële agtergrond aansienlik swakker as dié van sy klasmaats, en sy status van buitestaanders, hetsy werklik of denkbeeldig, het 'n steek gelaat. Hy verlaat Princeton na drie jaar en sluit by die weermag aan tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog.

Terwyl hy in die weermag was, was hy gestasioneer in Montgomery, Alabama, waar hy 'n romanse ontwikkel het met die bevoorregte, vertroetelde Zelda Sayre, dogter van 'n hooggeregshof in die staat en#xA0Justice. Soos die heldin van The Great Gatsby, sy verwerp die jong man uit vrees dat hy haar nie sal kan ondersteun nie, en soos Gatsby, het Fitzgerald belowe om haar terug te wen. Hy verhuis na New York, herskryf 'n roman oor Princeton wat hy op universiteit begin het, en word onmiddellik die jongste skrywer wat ooit deur Scribner verskyn het. Sy roem en fortuin is op die oomblik veilig, hy oortuig Zelda om met hom te trou, en die twee begin 'n warrelwind lewe van glansryke partytjies en uitspattige verblyf in New York.

Die Fitzgeralds het ver bo hul vermoë geleef en was gou in die skuld. Hulle verhuis na Europa in die hoop om die uitgawes te besnoei, waar hulle bevriend raak met ander uitgeweke skrywers, waaronder Ernest Hemingway en Gertrude Stein. Terwyl hy in Europa was, het Fitzgerald sy meesterstuk voltooi The Great Gatsby (1925).

Alhoewel Fitzgerald in sy leeftyd dosyne kortverhale gepubliseer het, waarvoor hy ruim betaal is, het die egpaar se skuld gestyg. Fitzgerald het in alkoholisme gedompel, en sy vrou het toenemend onstabiel geword. In 1930 het sy die eerste van verskeie onderbrekings opgedoen en is sy geïnstitusionaliseer. Sy het die res van haar lewe in 'n sanitarium deurgebring.  

Fitzgerald se volgende roman, Tender is die nag, kon nie by die Amerikaanse publiek aanklank vind nie, en die lotgevalle van Fitzgerald het gedaal. In 1937 verhuis hy na Hollywood om te probeer draaiboekskryf. Hy het verlief geraak op 'n Hollywood -skinderrubriekskrywer, opgehou drink, en hernu literêre pogings begin, maar is in 1940 op 44 -jarige ouderdom aan 'n hartaanval oorlede.


Flappers was beroemd of berug, afhangende van jou standpunt en#x2014 vir hul onstuimige kleredrag.

Hulle het modieuse rokke van korter, korter onthullende lengtes en laer nekke aangetrek, hoewel dit nie tipies pas nie: reguit en skraal was die gunsteling silhoeët.

Flappers het skoene met hoë hakke gedra en hul korsette weggegooi ten gunste van bra's en onderklere. Hulle het vreugdevol rouge, lipstiffie, mascara en ander skoonheidsmiddels aangebring en korter haarstyle soos die bobbe verkies.

Ontwerpers soos Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli en Jean Patou het flappermode beheer. Jean Patou se uitvinding van gebreide swemklere en vroue se sportdrag soos tennisklere het 'n vryer, meer ontspanne silhoeët geïnspireer, terwyl die breiwerk van Chanel en Schiaparelli vroulike klere sonder twyfel gebring het. Madeleine Vionnet se vooroordeel-ontwerpe (gemaak deur stof teen die korrel te sny) beklemtoon die vorm van 'n vrou se liggaam op 'n meer natuurlike manier.


Hulle het groot gewoon, maar was altyd stukkend

The Great Gatsby word dikwels beskou as die toonbeeld van die 1920's in hierdie land - new geld wat groot partytjies hou wat deurdrenk is in sjampanje, jazz en mode. En dit is presies hoe die Fitzgeralds geleef het - vir 'n rukkie.

F. Scott Fitzgerald se eerste roman, 1920's Hierdie kant van die paradys, was 'n onmiddellike treffer en topverkoper. Die sukses van die roman het hom in staat gestel om met Zelda te trou en het hom op 23 -jarige ouderdom 'n beroemdheid gemaak. Soos Great Writers Inspire opgemerk het, het hulle onmiddellik bo hul vermoë begin leef, betaal vir weelderige huise en duur etes, gedrink en gedans. Scott se tweede roman, Die Mooiste en die Verdoemdes, was ook 'n topverkoper, waardeur hulle hul nuwe leefstyl kon volhou.

Selfs op die hoogtepunt van hul roem en sukses, sukkel die Fitzgerald's met geld en spandeer dit vinniger as wat hulle ingekom het. van vriende. Scott was byna onmiddellik verplig om kort fiksie te skryf om ekstra inkomste te bewerkstellig, wat volgens hom afgelei word van sy belangriker werk, maar hul voortdurende skuld het hom op 'n trapmeul laat werk om lenings af te betaal en dan meer te leen. Soos Die Washington Post notas, teen 1937 was die Fitzgeralds pap.


Huweliks- en geestesgesondheidsprobleme

Zelda was 'n muise vir F. Scott en haar kenmerke word prominent aangetref in sommige van sy mees opvallende werke, waaronder Hierdie kant van die paradys, Die Mooi en die Verdomde, The Great Gatsby en Tender is die nag. F. Scott het selfs so ver gegaan om woordelikse uittreksels uit die persoonlike dagboek van Zelda te steel en dit in sy romans op te neem, 'n taktiek wat 'n afwaartse spiraal in hul disfunksionele huwelik begin het, vol alkoholisme, geweld en kommer oor geestesgesondheid. & #xA0

Toe die aandelemark in 1929 neerstort, het hul uitstekende leefstyl van reis en toegeeflikheid in duie gestort en het hulle finansiële ondergang gelaat. In 1930 is Zelda met skisofrenie gediagnoseer en het haar oorblywende jare in en uit verskillende geestesgesondheidsklinieke deurgebring. Die gesin is swaar getref deur The Great Depression en   left penniless. Uiteindelik was Zelda se huwelik met F. Scott niks anders as 'n fa 󧫞 nie. F. Scott sterf op 44 aan 'n hartaanval op 21 Desember 1940.


F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Age of Excess

F. Scott Fitzgerald en sy vrou, Zelda, was aan baie dinge skuldig. Hulle was onstuimig, dit was bekend dat hulle te veel drink, en hulle was geneig tot ernstige depressie en selfvernietigende gedrag, maar niemand kon hulle ooit van spaarsaamheid beskuldig nie. In 1923 vertrek die jong paartjie (hy was sewe en twintig, sy was drie en twintig) na Frankryk. Sewentien stukke bagasie en 'n volledige stel bagasie saamneem Ensiklopedie Britannica, huur hulle 'n enorme klipvilla wat 2,5 kilometer bo St. Raphäel rus, ''n rooi dorpie wat naby die see gebou is', het Scott aan 'n vriend verduidelik, 'met gay rooi dakhuise en 'n lug van onderdrukte karnaval daaroor. ” Hulle villa was bedek met balkonne van blou en wit Moorse teëls en omring deur 'n geurige boord van suurlemoen, olywe en palmbome wat na 'n lang grondpad padgegee het - die enigste gang uit hul Mediterreense kasteel. Ironies genoeg was dit daar - ongeveer duisend kilometer van die huis af, in sy gemaklike sitplek in die Franse Middellandse See - wat Scott die belangrikste Amerikaanse roman van die tyd geskryf het: The Great Gatsby.

Die roman van Fitzgerald, 'n verhaal van liefde en verraad, vertel die verhaal van Jay Gatsby, 'n arm seun met 'n duistere oorsprong wat tot groot rykdom en aansien styg. Die roman was op baie maniere 'n kenmerk van sy tyd. Want soos die verteller van die boek, Nick Caraway, ontdek, is Gatsby se geld en roem op 'n leuen gebou. (Lees die roman as u wil weet wat die leuen was!) In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald het die buitensporighede van die twintigerjare blootgelê - 'n welvarende tyd waarin baie Amerikaners die seëninge van verbruikerswese en oormaat kom geniet het, net om te sien hoe dit alles om hulle neerstort met die Groot Depressie wat in 1929 aanbreek. Caraway beskryf die weelde van Gatsby se herehuis aan die strand op Long Island en die uitspattigheid van die partytjies wat hy gehou het. 'Daar was musiek uit my buurman se huis deur die someraande,' vertrou hy. 'In sy blou tuine het mans en meisies gekom soos motte tussen die fluisteringe en die sjampanje en die sterre. By hoogwater die middag kyk ek hoe sy gaste van die toring van sy vlot duik of die son op die warm sand van sy strand neem. . . Op naweke het sy Rolls Royce 'n omnibus geword en partytjies van en na die stad gehou. . . En op Maandae het agt bediendes, waaronder 'n ekstra tuinier, die hele dag met moppies en skuurborsels en hamers en tuinskeermiddels geswoeg en die verwoestings van die vorige nag herstel. " Net soos die Roaring Twenties, was die lewe in die skaduwee van Jay Gatsby 'n wonder.

Kyk na die konteks waarin Fitzgerald geskryf het: Amerika het in die 1920's dinamiese veranderings ondergaan. Tussen 1921 en 1924 het die land se bruto nasionale produk van $ 69 miljard tot $ 93 miljard gestyg, terwyl die totale lone van ongeveer $ 36,4 miljard tot $ 51,5 miljard gestyg het. Die Verenigde State het die Eerste Wêreldoorlog as 'n debiteure -nasie aangegaan en na vore getree as die grootste skuldeiser van Europa, ter waarde van $ 12,5 miljard. Uit 'n relatiewe oogpunt was Amerika ryk, en dit het gewys. Toe 'n prominente bankfamilie in Philadelphia die wenkbroue laat lig vir die installering van goue toebehore in sy badkamers, trek 'n woordvoerder van die stam die kritiek af en verduidelik bloot dat '[u] dit nie hoef te poets nie.

Om die waarheid te sê, die meeste Amerikaners het nie goue krane nie, en baie min het iets geniet wat Jay Gatsby se rykdom benader, maar gewone Amerikaners het steeds deelgeneem aan die algemene welvaart. Terwyl slegs 16 persent van die Amerikaanse huishoudings in 1912 geëlektrifiseer was, het bykans twee derdes teen die middel van die twintigerjare elektrisiteit gehad. Dit beteken dat die gemiddelde gesin ure se handmatige swoeg en primitiewe huishouding kan vervang met die bevredigende brom van die elektriese stofsuier, die elektriese yskas en vrieskas en die outomatiese wasmasjien, wat gedurende die twintigerjare wyd gebruik is. Teen die einde van die 1920's het meer as 12 miljoen Amerikaanse huishoudings radiostelle aangeskaf. Terselfdertyd het die aantal telefoonlyne byna verdubbel, van 10,5 miljoen in 1915 tot 20 miljoen teen 1930.

Dit lyk asof rykdom innovasie teweegbring. Dit het meer as honderd jaar geneem voordat die Amerikaanse patentekantoor sy miljoenste patent in 1911 uitgereik het binne vyftien jaar nadat dit sy twee miljoenste uitgereik het. Talle nuwe fabrieksprodukte het die groeiende verbruikersmark oorstroom, met binnekort bekende handelsname soos Scotch tape, Welch se druiwesap, Listerine-mondspoelmiddel, Wheaties-graan, Kleenex-sneespapier, die elektriese skeermes van Schick en die limonadepopsicle.

As die meeste mense nie na die suide van Frankryk kon reis vir rus en inspirasie nie, het hulle wel 'n nuwe reeks openbare vermaaklikhede geniet wat twintig jaar tevore amper nie denkbaar was nie: danspale, filmpaleise soos Chicago's Oriental Theatre en Rialto -pretparke in New York soos Luna en Steeplechase op Coney Island, elk pragtig verlig deur soveel as 250,000 elektriese gloeilampe in die stad, bofbalstadions soos Ebbets Field en Shibe Park, maklik bereikbaar met die openbare vervoer.

Amerikaners kon ook groot hoeveelhede massa-vervaardigde glasware, juweliersware, klere, huishoudelike items en duursame goedere koop, wat die onderskeid tussen ryk en arm vervaag. Net soos Nick Caraway nie die leuen agter Gatsby se rykdom en opvoeding kon onderskei nie, het baie ryker Amerikaners nou probleme ondervind om te onderskei tussen sosiale klasse. 'Ek kon vroeër iets vertel oor die agtergrond van 'n meisie wat deur haar klere aansoek gedoen het om 'n werk as stenograaf', het 'n sakeman in Muncie, Indiana, gesê, 'maar vandag moet ek gereeld wag totdat sy praat, 'n goue tand wys , of gee my andersins 'n tweede idee. ”

Amerikaners in die 1920's was ook versot op 'n nuwe kultus van beroemdhede. Die dekade het aanleiding gegee tot sportlegendes soos Babe Ruth, wat net so bekend was vir sy ywerige aptyt as vir sy tuisrekord, en Jack Dempsey, die swaargewigkampioen wat teen die middel van die twintigerjare in byna soveel films verskyn het as titels . Terwyl die Saterdagaand Pos en Colliers gesamentlik het elke jaar tussen 1901 en 1914 gemiddeld ses-en-dertig biografiese profiele gepubliseer, in die dekade na die Eerste Wêreldoorlog het die syfer jaarliks ​​tot ongeveer ses-en-sestig profiele gestyg. Voordat 1920 byna driekwart van hierdie artikels nou politieke en sakeleiers bevat, het meer as die helfte betrekking op sleutelfigure in vermaak en sport. Die genie van F. Scott Fitzgerald was sy vermoë om sy eie beeld in die media te kweek. Die genie van sy kenmerkende karakter, Jay Gatsby, was sy vermoë om 'n sluier van beroemdhede te skep wat sy ware oorsprong gemasker het.

Maar vir al die dinamika van die eeu, het Amerikaners nie die Jazz -era ongekwalifiseerd aangeneem nie. As hulle die welvaart daarvan geniet, was hulle ook bang vir die sosiale gevolge daarvan. Die opkoms van seks voor die huwelik, die toetrede van vroue tot die werkplek, die afbreek van tradisionele godsdienstige sedes en die instroming van miljoene nuwe immigrante uit Suid- en Oos -Europa het aanleiding gegee tot 'n sterk terugslag. Dieselfde dekade wat Scott en Zelda Fitzgerald aanleiding gegee het, was dus ook 'n sterk terugslag. In dorpe en stede in Amerika het 'n herleefde Ku Klux Klan teen Afro -Amerikaners, immigrante, Katolieke en 'los vroue' geveg. Ondersteuners van verbod het deur 'n beperkende wet gegaan wat die verkoop of produksie van drank verbied het (te oordeel na die roman van Fitzgerald, die verbod het 'n beperkte effek). Konserwatiewe Christene het Fundamentalistiese kerke gestig en probeer om God terug te bring na sy tradisionele plek in huise en skole. Daar was kortliks 'n diep en deurdringende teenstrydigheid - en baie Amerikaners het dit gevoel.

Fitzgerald was 'n volmaakte kroniekskrywer van sy tyd. Hy was 'n ywerige deelnemer aan en 'n streng kritikus van die welvaartskultuur wat die 1920's kenmerk. In Gatsby, sy alter ego, Nick Caraway, onthou bedroef die Amerika van sy jeug. Volgens Nick het die Midde -Weste 'n verlore ouderdom vergestalt - 'n eenvoudiger tyd voor telefone en filmpaleise en winkels. Met die trein vanuit Chicago, “toe ons in ons wintersnag instap en die regte sneeu, begin ons sneeu langs ons uitstrek en teen die vensters glinster, en die dowwe ligte van klein Wisconsin -stasies beweeg verby, 'n skerp wilde omhelsing skielik in die lug kom. ” Dit was 'my Midde -Weste', verduidelik hy in die slotbladsye van die roman, 'nie die koring of die weivelde of die verlore Swede -dorpe nie, maar die opwindende treine van my jeug en die straatlampe en slee -klokkies in die ysige donker en die skaduwees van hulsterkranse wat deur verligte vensters gegooi word. Ek is deel daarvan. . . Ek sien nou dat dit 'n verhaal van die Weste was - Tom en Gatsby, Daisy en Jordan en ek, was almal Westerlinge, en miskien het ons 'n gebrek aan gemeen wat ons subtiel onaanpasbaar gemaak het in die Oosterse lewe. "

Maar as die Weste vir Fitzgerald 'n ouer Amerika verteenwoordig, was dit duidelik uit sy roman dat die land se trein ooswaarts beweeg. Teen 1920 het 'n meerderheid Amerikaners in stede gewoon. Die wêreld het vinnig verander en modern geword, en die prairies van die jeug van Nick Caraway het stadig maar seker die nasionale geheue geword.

Die wêreld wat Fitzgerald beskryf het, het op 29 Oktober 1929 neergestort. Dit was Black Tuesday, toe die aandelemark in duie stort. Die opbloei -ekonomie het geskeur. En Amerika se jazz -tydperk was amptelik verby.

Eintlik het die ineenstorting van die aandelemark baie min te doen gehad met die aanvang van die Groot Depressie. Baie min Amerikaners in die 1920's het aandele of sekuriteite besit. In werklikheid was die voorspoedigste dekade van die land op 'n kaartehuis gebou. Lae lone, hoë vlakke van seisoenale werkloosheid, chroniese stagnasie in die landbousektor en 'n hopeloos ongelyke verdeling van welvaart was die donkerder verhaal wat agter die welvaart van die twintigerjare skuil.

Daar was 'n prys om te betaal, so 'n skewe konsentrasie van die land se rykdom. Goeie tye het immers op goeie verkope staatgemaak. Dieselfde boere en werkers wat die ekonomiese groei vroeg in die dekade aangevuur het deur blink nuwe motors en elektriese wasmasjiene te koop, het hul limiet bereik. Teen die laat twintigerjare, toe adverteerders vir hulle sê dat hul motors en wasmasjiene verouderd is en vervang moet word, kan die werkersklas eenvoudig nie bekostig om nuwes te koop nie. Ongekoopte verbruikersartikels het op die rakke gaan lê. Fabrieke verminder hul produksie. Werkers is met miljoene ontslaan. Die goeie tye was verby.

The Great Gatsby bly steeds besig om Amerikaners te fassineer en vas te hou. In 'n era wat baie soos die 1920's was - 'n tyd waarin ons nuwe vlakke van gemak en gemak geniet het, waarin ons beroemdheid en weelde vier, maar waarin daar steeds skerp ongelykhede van rykdom en voorreg bly -Gatsby is meer relevant as ooit. 'So het ons aangehou,' soos Fitzgerald geskryf het, 'bote teen die stroom, wat onophoudelik in die verlede ingedraai word.'

Joshua Zeitz het Amerikaanse geskiedenis aan die Harvard Universiteit en Cambridge Universiteit geleer. Hy is die skrywer van Flapper: 'n Slegte verhaal oor seks, styl, beroemdhede en die vroue wat American Modern gemaak het (2006) en White Ethnic New York: Jode, Katolieke en die vorming van die na-oorlogse politiek (2007). Hy skryf tans 'n gesamentlike biografie van John Hay en John Nicolay.


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Geleë op die welvarende Long Island van 1922, The Great Gatsby bied 'n kritiese sosiale geskiedenis van Amerika in die verbod-era gedurende die jazz-era. [a] Die fiktiewe verhaal van Fitzgerald maak daardie tydperk volledig bekend - bekend vir sy jazzmusiek, [2] ekonomiese welvaart, [3] flapperkultuur, [4] libertynse sedes, [5] rebelse jeugdiges, [6] en alomteenwoordige praatjies. Fitzgerald gebruik baie van hierdie maatskaplike ontwikkelings uit die twintigerjare om sy verhaal te vertel, van eenvoudige besonderhede soos motorvoertuie tot breër temas soos bootlegging as die onwettige bron van Gatsby se fortuin. [7] [8]

Fitzgerald dra die hedonisme van die Jazz Age -samelewing oor deur 'n verwante plotlyn in die historiese konteks van die mees opwindende en flitsendste era in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis te plaas. [3] [9] In die oë van Fitzgerald verteenwoordig die era 'n moreel permissiewe tyd waarin Amerikaners van alle ouderdomme ontnugter raak oor die heersende sosiale norme en versot is op plesier. [10] Fitzgerald self het 'n sekere ambivalensie teenoor die jazz -tydperk gehad, 'n era waarvan hy later sy temas as 'n weerspieëling van gebeure in sy eie lewe sou beskou. [11]

The Great Gatsby weerspieël verskillende gebeure in die jeug van Fitzgerald. [12] Hy was 'n jong Midwester uit Minnesota. Soos die verteller van die roman wat na Yale gegaan het, is hy opgelei aan 'n Ivy League -skool, Princeton. [13] Daar ontmoet die 19-jarige Fitzgerald Ginevra King, 'n 16-jarige geselligheid op wie hy baie verlief geraak het. [14] [15] Alhoewel Ginevra dolverlief op hom was, [16] het haar hoër klasgesin openlik sy hofmakery van hul dogter ontmoedig weens sy laer klasstatus, en haar pa het na bewering vir hom gesê dat 'arme seuns nie' Ek dink nie daaraan om met ryk meisies te trou nie ". [17]

Deur die gesin van Ginevra as 'n vryer verwerp vanweë sy gebrek aan finansiële vooruitsigte, het 'n selfmoord Fitzgerald te midde van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog by die Amerikaanse weermag aangesluit en as tweede luitenant aangestel. [18] [19] Terwyl hy wag op die ontplooiing na die Westelike front waar hy hoop om in die geveg te sterf, [19] is hy gestasioneer in Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, Alabama, waar hy Zelda Sayre ontmoet, 'n lewendige 17-jarige Suidelike Belle . [20] Nadat hy verneem het dat Ginevra met die skatryk sakeman William "Bill" Mitchell in Chicago getroud is, het Fitzgerald Zelda gevra om met hom te trou. [21] Zelda het ingestem, maar hul huwelik uitgestel totdat hy finansieel suksesvol geword het. [22] [23] Fitzgerald is dus soortgelyk aan Jay Gatsby deurdat hy verloof geraak het terwyl 'n militêre offisier ver van die huis gestasioneer het en daarna rykdom gesoek het om met haar te trou. [24] [25]

Na sy sukses as kortverhaalskrywer en as romanskrywer, trou Fitzgerald met Zelda in New York, en die pasgetroude egpaar verhuis gou na Long Island. [26] Ondanks die eksklusiewe Long Island -omgewing, het Fitzgerald stilweg die buitensporige partytjies afgekeur, [27] en die welgestelde persone wat hy teëgekom het, het hom dikwels teleurgestel. [28] Terwyl hy daarna streef om die rykes na te volg, vind hy dat hulle bevoorregte lewenstyl moreel onrusbarend was. [29] [30] Hoewel Fitzgerald - net soos Gatsby - altyd die rykes bewonder het, het hy nietemin 'n smeulende wrok teenoor hulle gehad. [30]

In die lente van 1922 reis Nick Carraway - 'n Yale -alumnus uit die Midde -Weste en 'n veteraan uit die Eerste Wêreldoorlog - na New York om werk te kry as 'n verbandverkoper. Hy huur 'n bungalow in die Long Island-dorpie West Egg, langs 'n luukse landgoed wat bewoon word deur Jay Gatsby, 'n raaiselagtige multi-miljoenêr wat skitterende gesellighede huisves, maar nie daarin deelneem nie.

Op 'n aand eet Nick saam met 'n verre familielid, Daisy Buchanan, in die modieuse stad East Egg. Daisy is getroud met Tom Buchanan, voorheen 'n Yale -sokkerster wat Nick tydens sy universiteitsdae geken het. Die egpaar verhuis onlangs van Chicago na 'n herehuis oorkant die baai van Gatsby se landgoed. Daar ontmoet Nick Jordan Baker, 'n onbeskofte flapper en gholfkampioen wat 'n jeugvriend van Daisy is. Jordan vertrou aan Nick dat Tom 'n minnares, Myrtle Wilson, aanhou wat hom braaf by sy huis bel en wat in die "vallei van as" woon, 'n uitgestrekte vullishoop. [31] Die aand sien Nick Gatsby alleen op sy grasperk staan ​​en staar na 'n groen lig oor die baai.

Dae later vergesel Nick teësinnig 'n dronk en opgewonde Tom per trein na New York. Onderweg stop hulle by 'n motorhuis wat deur die werktuigkundige George Wilson en sy vrou Myrtle bewoon word. Myrtle sluit by hulle aan, en die trio gaan na 'n klein woonstel in New York wat Tom saam met haar gehuur het. Gaste arriveer, en 'n partytjie vind plaas wat eindig met Tom wat Myrtle slaan en haar neus breek nadat sy Daisy noem.

Op 'n oggend ontvang Nick 'n formele uitnodiging vir 'n partytjie in die herehuis van Gatsby. Daar aangekom, is Nick skaam dat hy niemand herken nie en begin baie drink totdat hy Jordan ontmoet. Terwyl hy met haar gesels, word hy genader deur 'n man wat hom voorstel as Jay Gatsby en daarop aandring dat hy en Nick tydens die oorlog in die 3de Infanteriedivisie gedien het. Gatsby poog om homself by Nick te vereer en as Nick die partytjie verlaat, sien hy hoe Gatsby na hom kyk.

Einde Julie eet Nick en Gatsby middagete by 'n speakeasy. Gatsby probeer Nick beïndruk met verhale oor sy oorlogsheldmoedigheid en sy Oxford -dae. Daarna ontmoet Nick Jordan in die Plaza Hotel. Jordan onthul dat Gatsby en Daisy mekaar omstreeks 1917 ontmoet het toe Gatsby 'n offisier in die Amerikaanse ekspedisiemagte was. Hulle het verlief geraak, maar toe Gatsby oorsee ontplooi is, trou Daisy huiwerig met Tom. Gatsby hoop dat sy nuutgevonde rykdom en skitterende partytjies Daisy sal laat heroorweeg. Gatsby gebruik Nick om 'n reünie met Daisy op te voer, en die twee begin 'n seksuele verhouding.

In September ontdek Tom die aangeleentheid toe Daisy Gatsby onverskillig met onbeskaamde intimiteit voor hom aanspreek. Later, in 'n Plaza Hotel -suite, stry Gatsby en Tom oor die aangeleentheid. Gatsby dring daarop aan dat Daisy verklaar dat sy Tom nooit liefgehad het nie. Daisy beweer sy is lief vir Tom en Gatsby, en ontstel albei. Tom onthul Gatsby is 'n swendelaar wie se geld afkomstig is van alkohol. Toe sy dit hoor, besluit Daisy om by Tom te bly. Tom sê smalend vir Gatsby om met haar huis toe te ry, wetende dat Daisy hom nooit sal verlaat nie.

Terwyl hulle terugkeer na East Egg, ry Gatsby en Daisy by Wilson se motorhuis en hul motor tref Myrtle per ongeluk en vermoor haar onmiddellik. Gatsby onthul aan Nick dat Daisy die motor bestuur het, maar dat hy van plan is om die skuld vir die ongeluk te neem om haar te beskerm. Nick spoor Gatsby aan om te vlug om vervolging te vermy, maar hy weier. Nadat Tom vir George gesê het dat Gatsby die motor besit wat Myrtle getref het, neem 'n ontstelde George aan dat die eienaar van die voertuig die minnaar van Myrtle moet wees. George skiet Gatsby noodlottig in die swembad van sy herehuis en pleeg dan selfmoord.

'N Paar dae na die moord op Gatsby kom sy pa Henry Gatz vir die skaars begrafnis by. Na die dood van Gatsby, haat Nick New York en besluit dat Gatsby, Daisy, Tom en hy almal Westerlinge was wat nie geskik was vir die Oosterse lewe nie. Nick ontmoet Tom en weier aanvanklik om sy hand te skud. Tom erken dat hy die een was wat aan George gesê het dat Gatsby die voertuig besit wat Myrtle doodgemaak het. Voordat hy terugkeer na die Midde -Weste, keer Nick terug na Gatsby se herehuis en staar oor die baai na die groen lig wat uit die einde van Daisy se beskuldigdebank kom.

  • Nick Carraway-'n oudleerling van die Yale-universiteit uit die Midde-Weste, 'n veteraan uit die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, en 'n pas aangekomde inwoner van West Egg, 29 (later 30), wat as die eerste persoon verteller dien. Hy is die buurman van Gatsby en 'n verbandverkoper. Carraway is gemaklik en ietwat optimisties, hoewel laasgenoemde kwaliteit vervaag namate die roman vorder. Hy wanhoop uiteindelik oor die dekadensie en onverskilligheid van die Oosterse lewe en keer terug na die Weste. [32]
  • Jay Gatsby (oorspronklik James "Jimmy" Gatz) - 'n jong, geheimsinnige miljoenêr met skaduryke sakeverbindings (later onthul dat hy 'n bootlegger is), oorspronklik uit Noord -Dakota. Gedurende die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, toe hy 'n jong militêre offisier was wat by die Amerikaanse weermag se Camp Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, gestasioneer was, het Gatsby die liefde van sy lewe, die debutant Daisy Buchanan, teëgekom. Later, na die oorlog, studeer hy kortliks aan die Trinity College, Oxford, in Engeland. [33] Volgens Fitzgerald se vrou Zelda het hy Gatsby gedeeltelik gebaseer op hul raaiselagtige buurman op Long Island, Max Gerlach. [34] Gerlach, 'n militêre veteraan, het 'n selfgemaakte miljoenêr geword vanweë sy pogings om te plunder en was baie lief daarvoor om die frase "ou sport" in sy briewe aan Fitzgerald te gebruik. [35]
  • Daisy Buchanan-'n vlak, selfversorgde en jong debutant en geselligheid uit Louisville, Kentucky, geïdentifiseer as 'n flapper. [36] Sy is Nick se tweede neef, een keer verwyder, en die vrou van Tom Buchanan. Voordat sy met Tom trou, het Daisy 'n romantiese verhouding met Gatsby gehad. Haar keuse tussen Gatsby en Tom is een van die sentrale konflikte van die roman. Fitzgerald se romanse en lewenslange obsessie met Ginevra King het die karakter van Daisy geïnspireer. [37] [14] [38]
  • Thomas "Tom" Buchanan- 'n miljoenêr wat in East Egg en Daisy se man woon. Tom is 'n indrukwekkende gespierde man met 'n diep stem en arrogante houding. Hy was 'n voetbalster by Yale en is 'n wit oppergesagter. [39] Onder ander literêre modelle het [b] Buchanan sekere parallelle met William "Bill" Mitchell, die sakeman van Chicago wat met Ginevra King getroud is. [41] Buchanan en Mitchell was albei Chicagoans met 'n belangstelling in polo. [41] Buchanan is ook, net soos Ginevra se pa Charles King, vir wie Fitzgerald 'n ergernis was, 'n keiserlike Yale -man en polospeler uit Lake Forest, Illinois. [42]
  • Jordan Baker-'n amateur-gholfspeler met 'n sarkastiese streep en 'n afsydige houding, en Daisy se jarelange vriend. Sy is die grootste deel van die roman die vriendin van Nick Carraway, hoewel hulle teen die einde uitmekaar groei. Sy het 'n skaduryke reputasie as gevolg van gerugte dat sy in 'n toernooi bedrieg het, wat haar reputasie sosiaal en as gholfspeler benadeel het. Fitzgerald het Jordan gebaseer op die gholfspeler Edith Cummings, 'n vriend van Ginevra King, hoewel Cummings nooit daarvan verdink is dat hy bedrieg het nie. [43] Haar naam is 'n toneelstuk oor die twee gewilde motorhandelsmerke, die Jordan Motor Car Company en die Baker Motor Vehicle, albei in Cleveland, Ohio, [44] wat verwys na die "vinnige" reputasie van Jordan en die nuwe vryheid wat aan Amerikaanse vroue gebied word , veral flappers, in die 1920's. [45] [46] [47]
  • George B. Wilson- 'n werktuigkundige en eienaar van 'n motorhuis. Sy vrou, Myrtle Wilson, en Tom Buchanan, wat hom beskryf as "so dom dat hy nie weet dat hy lewe nie", hou nie van hom nie. Aan die einde van die roman vermoor George Gatsby, omdat hy verkeerdelik glo dat hy die motor bestuur het wat Myrtle vermoor het, en homself dan doodgemaak het.
  • Myrtle Wilson—George se vrou en die minnares van Tom Buchanan. Myrtle, wat 'n hewige lewenskrag het, is desperaat om toevlug te vind by haar teleurstellende huwelik. Sy word per ongeluk deur Gatsby se motor vermoor, aangesien sy per ongeluk dink dat Tom nog steeds bestuur en agterna hardloop.
  • Meyer Wolfsheim[c] - 'n Joodse vriend en mentor van Gatsby's, beskryf as 'n dobbelaar wat die Wêreldreeks van 1919 reggestel het. Wolfsheim verskyn slegs twee keer in die roman, die tweede keer weier om die begrafnis van Gatsby by te woon. Hy is 'n verwysing na Arnold Rothstein, 'n berugte misdaadkoningin in New York wat Fitzgerald een keer in onbepaalde omstandighede ontmoet het. [50] Rothstein het die skuld gekry vir vuurhoutjies in die Black Sox -skandaal wat die Wêreldreeks van 1919 besmet het. [51]

Fitzgerald het sy derde roman in Junie 1922 begin uiteensit. [8] Hy het daarna gesmag om 'n voortreflike werk te lewer wat mooi en ingewikkeld gevorm is, [52] maar die moeilike produksie van sy toneelstuk. Die Groente herhaaldelik sy vordering onderbreek. [53] Die toneelstuk flop, en Fitzgerald het die winter tydskrifverhale geskryf om skuld te betaal wat deur die produksie daarvan gemaak is. [54] Hy beskou hierdie verhale as waardeloos, [53] hoewel "Winter Dreams" onder hulle ingesluit is, wat Fitzgerald beskryf het as sy eerste poging tot die Gatsby -idee. [55]

In Oktober 1922, na die geboorte van hul enigste kind, Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald, verhuis die Fitzgeralds na Great Neck, New York, op Long Island. [56] Hul bure in Great Neck het sulke nuut welgestelde persone ingesluit soos die skrywer Ring Lardner, die akteur Lew Fields en die komediant Ed Wynn. [8] Hierdie syfers is almal beskou nouveau riche (nuwe rykes), in teenstelling met diegene wat afkomstig was van Manhasset Neck, wat oorkant die baai van Great Neck was - plekke waar baie van die rykste gevestigde families in New York tuis was. [57] Hierdie werklike samestelling het Fitzgerald sy idee vir "West Egg" en "East Egg" gegee. In die roman word Great Neck (Kings Point) die "nuwe geld" -skiereiland van West Egg en Port Washington (Sands Point) word die "ou geld" East Egg. [57] Verskeie Gold Coast-herehuise in die omgewing het as inspirasie gedien vir Gatsby se landgoed, waaronder Land's End, [58] Oheka Castle, [59] en die sedertdien gesloopte Beacon Towers. [60]

Terwyl hy op Long Island gebly het, was die Fitzgeralds se raaiselagtige buurman [d] Max Gerlach. [34] [62] Purportedly born in America to a German immigrant family, [e] Gerlach had been a major in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, and he later became a gentleman bootlegger who lived like a millionaire in New York. [64] Flaunting his new wealth, [f] Gerlach threw lavish parties, [66] never wore the same shirt twice, [67] used the phrase "old sport", [68] and fostered myths about himself including that he was a relation of the German Kaiser. [69] These details about Gerlach inspired Fitzgerald in his creation of Jay Gatsby. [70]

During this same time period, the daily newspapers sensationalized the Hall–Mills murder case over many months, and the highly publicized case likely influenced the plot of Fitzgerald's novel. [71] The case involved the double-murder of a man and his lover on September 14, 1922, mere weeks before Fitzgerald arrived in Great Neck. Scholars have speculated that Fitzgerald based certain aspects of the ending of The Great Gatsby and various characterizations on this factual incident. [72]

Inspired by the Halls–Mills case, the mysterious persona of Gerlach and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island, Fitzgerald had written 18,000 words for his novel by mid-1923 but discarded most of his new story as a false start. [73] Some of this early draft resurfaced in the 1924 short story "Absolution". [74] In earlier drafts, [g] Daisy was originally named Ada and Nick was Dud, [76] and the two characters had shared a previous romance prior to their reunion on Long Island. [77] These earlier drafts were written from the viewpoint of an omniscient narrator as opposed to Nick's perspective. [78] A key difference in earlier drafts is a less complete failure of Gatsby's dream. [79] Another difference is that the argument between Tom Buchanan and Gatsby is more balanced, although Daisy still returns to Tom. [79]

Werk aan The Great Gatsby resumed in earnest in April 1924. [80] Fitzgerald decided to depart from the writing process of his previous novels and told Perkins that he was intent on creating an artistic achievement. [81] He wished to eschew the realism of his previous two novels and to compose a creative work of sustained imagination. [82] To this end, he consciously imitated the literary styles of Joseph Conrad and Willa Cather. [83] He was particularly influenced by Cather's 1923 work, A Lost Lady, and he later wrote a letter to Cather apologizing for any unintentional plagiarism. [84] Soon after this burst of effort, work slowed while the Fitzgeralds moved to the French Riviera, where a marital crisis [h] soon developed. [86]

Despite an ongoing marital crisis, Fitzgerald continued to write steadily and submitted a near-final version of the manuscript to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, on October 27. [87] Perkins informed him in a November letter that Gatsby was too vague as a character and that his wealth and business, respectively, needed a convincing explanation. [88] Fitzgerald thanked Perkins for his detailed criticisms and claimed that such feedback would enable him to perfect the manuscript. [89] Having relocated with his wife to Rome, [90] Fitzgerald made revisions to the manuscript throughout the winter. [88]

Content after a few rounds of revision, Fitzgerald submitted the final version in February 1925. [91] Fitzgerald's alterations included extensive revisions of the sixth and eighth chapters. [92] He declined an offer of $10,000 for the serial rights to the book so that it could be published sooner. [93] He received a $3,939 advance in 1923 and would receive $1,981.25 upon publication. [94]

Alternative titles Edit

Fitzgerald had difficulty choosing a title for his novel and entertained many choices before reluctantly deciding on The Great Gatsby, [95] a title inspired by Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes. [96] Previously he had shifted between Among Ash Heaps and Millionaires, [95] Trimalchio, [95] Trimalchio in West Egg, [97] On the Road to West Egg, [97] Under the Red, White, and Blue, [95] The Gold-Hatted Gatsby, [97] and The High-Bouncing Lover. [97] The titles The Gold-Hatted Gatsby en 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. [98]

Fitzgerald initially preferred titles referencing Trimalchio, [i] the crude upstart in Petronius's Satyricon, and even refers to Gatsby as Trimalchio once in the novel. [100] Unlike Gatsby's spectacular parties, Trimalchio participated in the orgies he hosted but, according to literary critic Tony Tanner, there are subtle similarities between the two characters. [101] By November 1924, Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins that he had settled upon the title of Trimalchio in West Egg. [102]

Disliking Fitzgerald's chosen title of Trimalchio in West Egg, editor Max Perkins persuaded him that the reference was too obscure and that people would be unable to pronounce it. [103] Zelda and Perkins both expressed their preference for The Great Gatsby, and the next month Fitzgerald agreed. [104] A month before publication, after a final review of the proofs, he asked if it would be possible to re-title it Trimalchio of Gold-Hatted Gatsby, but Perkins advised against it. On March 19, 1925, [105] Fitzgerald expressed enthusiasm for the title Under the Red, White, and Blue, but it was too late to change it at that stage. [106] [107] The novel was published as The Great Gatsby on April 10, 1925. [108] Fitzgerald believed the book's final title to be merely acceptable and often expressed his ambivalence with the name. [109]

Cover art Edit

The cover of the first printing of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature. [110] 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 writing the work. [110] The cover was completed before the novel, and Fitzgerald was so enamored with it he told Max Perkins that he had included its imagery in the novel. [110] Fitzgerald's remarks about incorporating the painting into the novel led to the interpretation that the eyes are reminiscent of those of fictional optometrist T. J. Eckleburg depicted on a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson's auto repair shop. [111] Author Ernest Hemingway supported this latter interpretation and claimed that Fitzgerald had told him the cover referred to a billboard in the valley of the ashes. [112] 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". [110]

Contemporary reviews Edit

Charles Scribner's Sons published The Great Gatsby on April 10, 1925. [113] Fitzgerald cabled Perkins the day after publication to monitor reviews: "Any news?" [113] "Sales situation doubtful [but] excellent reviews", read a telegram from Perkins on April 20. [114] Fitzgerald responded on April 24, saying the cable dispirited him, closing the letter with "Yours in great depression". [114] Fitzgerald soon received letters from contemporaries Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, and poet T. S. Eliot praising the novel. [115] Although gratified by such correspondence, Fitzgerald sought public acclaim from professional critics. [116]

The Great Gatsby received generally favorable reviews from literary critics of the day. [117] The most laudatory review was by Edwin Clark of Die New York Times, who felt the novel was a mystical and glamorous tale of the Jazz Age. [118] Similarly, Lillian C. Ford of the Los Angeles Times hailed the novel as a revelatory work of art that "leaves the reader in a mood of chastened wonder". [119] The New York Post described Fitzgerald's prose style as scintillating and genuinely brilliant. [120] The New York Herald Tribune was less impressed, referring to The Great Gatsby as "a literary lemon meringue" that nonetheless "contains some of the nicest little touches of contemporary observation you could imagine—so light, so delicate, so sharp". [121] In The Chicago Daily Tribune, H. L. Mencken judged the work's plot to be highly improbable, while praising the elegance of the writing and the "careful and brilliant finish". [122]

Several reviewers felt the novel left much to be desired following Fitzgerald's previous works and criticized him accordingly. Harvey Eagleton of Die Dallas Morning News predicted the novel signaled the end of Fitzgerald's artistic success. [123] Ralph Coghlan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dismissed the work as an inconsequential performance by a once-promising author who had grown bored and cynical. [124] Ruth Snyder of New York Evening World eviscerated the book's style as painfully forced and declared the editors of her newspaper were "quite convinced after reading The Great Gatsby that Mr. Fitzgerald is not one of the great American writers of today". [125] John McClure of The Times-Picayune insisted the plot was implausible and the book itself seemed raw in its construction. [126]

After reading these reviews, Fitzgerald believed that many critics misunderstood the novel. [81] He lamented that "of all the reviews, even the most enthusiastic, not one had the slightest idea what the book was about". [127] In particular, Fitzgerald resented criticisms of the novel's plot as implausible since he had never intended for the story to be realistic. [81] Instead, he crafted the work to be a romanticized depiction that was largely scenic and symbolic. [128] According to his friend John Peale Bishop, Fitzgerald further resented the fact that critics failed to perceive the many parallels between the author's life and the character of Jay Gatsby in particular, that both created a mythical version of themselves and attempted to live up to this legend. [129] Dispirited by critics failing to understand the novel, Fitzgerald remained hopeful that the novel would at least be a commercial success, perhaps selling as many as 75,000 copies. [130]

To Fitzgerald's great disappointment, Gatsby was a commercial failure in comparison with his previous efforts, This Side of Paradise (1920) en The Beautiful and Damned (1922). By October, the book had sold fewer than 20,000 copies after its original release. [53] Although the novel went through two initial printings, many copies remained unsold years later. [131] Fitzgerald attributed the poor sales to the fact that women tended to be the primary audience for novels during this time, and Gatsby did not contain an admirable female character. [131] According to his ledger, he earned only $2,000 from the book. [132] Although Owen Davis' 1926 stage adaptation and the Paramount-issued silent film version brought in money for the author, Fitzgerald lamented the novel fell far short of the success he had hoped for and would not bring him recognition as a serious novelist in the public eye. [53] With the onset of the Great Depression, The Great Gatsby was regarded as little more than a nostalgic period piece. [53] By the time Fitzgerald died in 1940, the novel had fallen into near obscurity. [133]

Revival and reassessment Edit

In 1940, Fitzgerald suffered a third and fatal heart attack and died believing his work forgotten. [134] His obituary in Die New York Times hailed him as a brilliant novelist and cited Gatsby as his greatest work. [135] In the wake of Fitzgerald's death, a strong appreciation for the book gradually developed in writers' circles. Future authors Budd Schulberg and Edward Newhouse were deeply affected by it, and John O'Hara acknowledged its influence on his work. [136] By the time that Gatsby was republished in Edmund Wilson's edition of The Last Tycoon in 1941, the prevailing opinion in writers' circles deemed the novel to be an enduring work of fiction. [53]

In the spring of 1942, mere months after the United States' entrance into World War II, 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 them. [137] Within the next several years, 155,000 copies of Gatsby were distributed to U.S. soldiers overseas, [138] and the book proved popular among beleaguered troops, according to the Saterdagaand Pos ' s contemporary report. [139]

By 1944, a full-scale Fitzgerald revival had suddenly occurred. [140] 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 merely a sensational story or a nostalgic period piece had effectively vanished. [141] The tireless promotional efforts of literary critic Edmund Wilson, who was Fitzgerald's Princeton classmate and his close friend, led this belated Fitzgerald revival. [142] 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. [143] 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. [144]

By 1960—thirty-five years after the novel's original publication—the book was steadily selling 50,000 copies per year. Renewed interest in it led Die New York Times editorialist Mizener to proclaim the novel was a masterwork of 20th-century American literature. [53] 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". [145] By the mid-2000s, many literary critics considered The Great Gatsby to be one of the greatest novels ever written, [146] and the work was part of the assigned curricula in the near majority of U.S. high schools. [133] As of early 2020, The Great Gatsby had sold almost 30 million copies worldwide and continues to sell an additional 500,000 copies annually. [147] The work is Scribner's most popular title in 2013, the e-book alone sold 185,000 copies. [148] The novel's U.S. copyright expired on January 1, 2021, when all works published in 1925 entered the public domain. [149]

Major themes Edit

The American dream Edit

Following the novel's revival, later critical writings on The Great Gatsby focused on Fitzgerald's disillusionment with the American dream in the hedonistic Jazz Age, [150] a name for the era which Fitzgerald claimed to have coined. [151] 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. [152] Pearson traced the literary origins of this dream to Colonial America. The dream is the belief that every individual, regardless of their origins, may seek and achieve their desired goals, "be they political, monetary, or social. It is the literary expression of the concept of America: The land of opportunity". [152]

However, Pearson noted that Fitzgerald's particular treatment of this theme is devoid of the discernible optimism in the writings of earlier American authors. [152] He suggests Gatsby serves as a false prophet of the American dream, [153] and pursuing the dream only results in dissatisfaction for those who chase it, owing to its unattainability. [153] 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. [133] [154]

Class permanence Edit

Scholars and writers commonly ascribe Gatsby's inability to achieve the American dream to entrenched class disparities in American society. [155] The novel underscores the limits of the American lower class to transcend their station of birth. [106] Scholar Sarah Churchwell contends that Fitzgerald's novel is a tale of class warfare in a status-obsessed country that refuses to acknowledge publicly it even has a class system. [106]

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. [156] Although Gatsby ' s fundamental conflict occurs between entrenched sources of socio-economic power and upstarts like Gatsby who threaten their interests, [157] Fitzgerald's novel shows that a class permanence persists despite the country's capitalist economy that prizes innovation and adaptability. [157] Dianne Bechtel argues 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". [158] Consequently, Gatsby and other characters in the novel are trapped in a rigid American class system. [159]

Gender relations Edit

Besides exploring the difficulties of achieving the American dream, The Great Gatsby explores societal gender expectations during the Jazz Age. [160] The character of Daisy Buchanan has been identified specifically as personifying the emerging cultural archetype of the flapper. [36] Flappers were typically young, modern women who bobbed their hair and wore short skirts. [161] [162] They also drank alcohol and had premarital sex. [163] [7]

Despite the newfound societal freedoms attained by flappers in the 1920s, [164] Fitzgerald's work critically examines the continued limitations upon women's agency during this period. [165] In this context, although early critics viewed the character of Daisy to be a "monster of bitchery", [166] 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. [167]

Writing in 1978, Person noted Daisy is more of a hapless victim than a manipulative victimizer. [168] She is the target first of Tom's callous domination and next of Gatsby's dehumanizing adoration. [168] She involuntarily becomes the holy grail at the center of Gatsby's unrealistic quest to be steadfast to a youthful concept of himself. [168] The ensuing contest of wills between Tom and Gatsby reduces Daisy to a trophy wife whose sole existence is to augment her possessor's socio-economic success. [169]

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. [165] 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" [j] who is reliant on her husband for financial and societal security. [166] Her decision to remain with her husband, despite her feelings for Gatsby, is because of the security that her marriage to Tom Buchanan provides. [166]

Race and displacement Edit

Many scholars have analyzed the novel's treatment of race and displacement in particular, the perceived threat posed by newer immigrants to older Americans, triggering concerns over a loss of socio-economic status. [171] In one instance, Tom Buchanan—the novel's antagonist—claims that he, Nick, and Jordan are racially superior Nordics. Tom decries immigration and advocates white supremacy. [172] A fictional book alluded to by Tom, Goddard's The Rise of the Colored Empires, is a parody by Fitzgerald of Lothrop Stoddard's The Rising Tide of Color, a 1920s bestseller. [173] Stoddard warned immigration would alter America's racial composition and destroy the country. [174]

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. [175] Such anxieties were more salient in national discourse than the societal consequences of World War I, [176] [177] and the defining question of the period was who constituted "a real American". [178]

In this context of immigration and displacement, Tom's hostility towards Gatsby, who is the embodiment of "latest America", [179] has been interpreted as partly embodying status anxieties of the time involving anti-immigrant sentiment. [179] Gatsby—whom Tom belittles as "Mr. Nobody from Nowhere" [180] —functions as a cipher because of his obscure origins, his unclear religio-ethnic identity and his indeterminate class status. [181] 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. [182] This would preclude them from the coveted status of Old Stock Americans. [182] Consequently, Gatsby's socio-economic ascent is deemed a threat not only due to his status as nouveau riche, but because he is perceived as an outsider. [183]

Because of such themes, The Great Gatsby arguably captures the perennial American experience as it is a story about change and those who resist it, whether the change comes in the form of a new wave of immigrants, the nouveau riche, or successful minorities. [157] As Americans living in the 1920s to the present are defined by their fluctuating economic and social circumstances, contemporary readers can relate to Gatsby, which has contributed to the novel's enduring popularity. [157]

Technology and environment Edit

Technological and environmental criticisms of Gatsby seek to place the novel and its characters in a broader historical context. [184] 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. [185] Specifically, the valley of the ashes represents a man-made wasteland which is a byproduct of the industrialization that has made Gatsby's booming lifestyle, including his automobile, possible. [186] Marx argues that Fitzgerald, via Nick, expresses a pastoral longing typical of other 1920s American writers like William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. [187] Although such writers cherish the pastoral ideal, they accept technological progress has deprived this ideal of nearly all meaning. [188] In this context, Nick's repudiation of the East represents a futile attempt to withdraw into nature. [188] Yet, as Fitzgerald's work shows, any technological demarcation between East and West has vanished, and one cannot escape into a pastoral past. [188]

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. [189] According to Kyle Keeler, Gatsby's quest for greater status manifests as self-centered, anthropocentric resource acquisition. [189] Inspired by Dan Cody's predatory mining practices, Gatsbys participates in extensive deforestation amid World War I and then undertakes bootlegging activities reliant upon exploiting South American agriculture. [189] Gatsby conveniently ignores the wasteful devastation of the valley of ashes to pursue a consumerist lifestyle and exacerbates the wealth gap that became increasingly salient in 1920s America. [189] 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. [189]

Antisemitism Edit

The Great Gatsby has been accused of displaying antisemitism through the use of Jewish stereotypes. [190] The book describes Meyer Wolfsheim, [c] a character based on real-life Jewish gambler Arnold Rothstein, [191] as "a small, flat-nosed Jew", with "tiny eyes" and "two fine growths of hair" in his nostrils. [192] Fitzgerald describes his nose as "expressive", "tragic", and able to "flash . indignantly". [192] A corrupt profiteer who assisted Gatsby's bootlegging operations and manipulated the World Series, Wolfsheim has 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. [192]

In a 1947 article for Kommentaar, Milton Hindus, an assistant professor of humanities at the University of Chicago, stated that while he believed the book was a superb literary achievement, Wolfsheim was its most abrasive character, and the work contains an antisemitic undertone. [193] However, Hindus argued the Jewish stereotypes displayed by Wolfsheim were typical of the time when the novel was written and set and that its antisemitism was of the "habitual, customary, 'harmless,' unpolitical variety". [194]

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 antisemitism and responded to critiques of Wolfsheim by claiming he merely "fulfilled a function in the story and had nothing to do with race or religion". [190]

Stage Edit

Gatsby has been adapted for the stage multiple times since its publication. The first known stage adaptation was by American dramatist Owen Davis, [195] which subsequently became the 1926 film version. The play, directed by George Cukor, opened on Broadway on February 2, 1926, and had 112 curtain calls. A successful tour later in the year included performances in Chicago, August 1 through October 2. [196] 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. [197] In July 2006, Simon Levy's stage adaptation, directed by David Esbjornson, premiered at the Guthrie Theater to commemorate the opening of its new theater. [198] In 2010, critic Ben Brantley of Die New York Times highly praised the debut of Gatz, an Off-Broadway production by Elevator Repair Service. [199] The novel has been revised for ballet performances. In 2009, BalletMet premiered a version at the Capitol Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. [200] In 2010, The Washington Ballet premiered a version at the Kennedy Center. The show received an encore run the following year. [201]

Film en televisie Redigeer

The first movie version of the novel debuted in 1926. Itself a version of Owen 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 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. [202] Reportedly, Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda loathed the silent version. Zelda wrote to an acquaintance that the film was "rotten". She and Scott left the cinema midway through the film. [203]

Following the 1926 movie was 1949's The Great Gatsby, directed by Elliott Nugent and starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field and Macdonald Carey. [204] Twenty-five 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. [204] 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. [203]

Gatsby has been recast multiple times as a short-form television movie. The first was in 1955 as an NBC episode for Robert Montgomery Presents starring Robert Montgomery, Phyllis Kirk, and Lee Bowman. The episode was directed by Alvin Sapinsley. [205] In 1958, CBS filmed another adaptation as an episode of Speelhuis 90, also titled The Great Gatsby, which was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starred Robert Ryan, Jeanne Crain and Rod Taylor. [206] 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. [207] [206]

Other media Edit

The novel has been adapted for radio many times. The first was the 1950s hour-long adaptation for CBS' Family Hour of Stars starring Kirk Douglas as Gatsby. [208] The novel was read aloud by the BBC World Service in ten parts in 2008. 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. [209] [210] In 2010, Oberon Media released a casual hidden object game called Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby, [211] [212] in 2011, developer Charlie Hoey and editor Pete Smith created an 8-bit-style online game of The Great Gatsby gebel The Great Gatsby for NES, [213] [214] and in 2013, Leisteen released a short symbolic adaptation called The Great Gatsby: The Video Game. [215]


New York and Europe in the Jazz Age

While stationed in Alabama, Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre, the daughter of a state Supreme Court justice and a Montgomery socialite. They fell in love and became engaged, but she broke it off, worried that he would be unable to support them financially. Fitzgerald revised his first novel, which became This Side of Paradise it sold in 1919 and was published in 1920, becoming a quick success. As a direct result, he and Zelda were able to resume their engagement and were married that same year in New York City at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Their only daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald (known as “Scottie”) was born in October 1921.

The Fitzgeralds became staples of New York society, as well as the American expatriate community in Paris. Fitzgerald formed a close friendship with Ernest Hemingway, but they came into conflict over the subject of Zelda, who Hemingway openly hated and believed was holding Fitzgerald’s career back. During this time, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories, since only his first novel was a financial success during his lifetime. Hy het geskryf The Great Gatsby in 1925, but although it’s regarded as his masterpiece now, it was not a success until after his death. Much of his writing was tied to the “Lost Generation,” a phrase coined to describe the disillusionment in post-WWI years and often associated with the group of expatriate artists with which Fitzgerald mingled.

In 1926, Fitzgerald had his first movie offer: to write a flapper comedy for the United Artists studio. The Fitzgeralds moved to Hollywood, but after Fitzgerald’s affair with actress Lois Moran, their marital difficulties necessitated a move back to New York. There, Fitzgerald began working on a fourth novel, but his heavy drinking, financial difficulties, and Zelda’s declining physical and mental health got in the way. By 1930, Zelda was suffering from schizophrenia, and Fitzgerald had her hospitalized in 1932. When she published her own semi-autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, in 1932, Fitzgerald was furious, insisting that their lives together were “material” that only he could write about he even managed to get edits made to her manuscript before publication.


The early writings

In his first two novels, This Side of Paradise en The Beautiful and Damned (1922), Fitzgerald examined the lives of young characters who resembled himself and his friends. They lived for pleasure and acquisitions, and they were jaded and rebellious. These wealthy East Coast youths helped secure the popular image of the “lost generation” of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald described them at the conclusion of This Side of Paradise as “a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.”

In 1922, Fitzgerald published a second collection of short stories and finished a play, The Vegetable, which he considered his best work. He moved to New York to be near the Broadway opening, but the play flopped.

Fitzgerald maintained his high standard of living by continually borrowing money from Scribner's against the sale of future writing. After the play flopped, he found himself even further in debt. He and Zelda were increasingly fighting, often after heavy drinking. They retreated to Europe in an attempt to find peace.


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life was a study in destructive alcoholism

This is a red-letter week for American literature because it marks the debut of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby in 1925. The book was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons and both Scott and his editor, the legendary Max Perkins, hoped the book would sell 75,000 or more copies. The reviews were mixed and six months later only 20,000 had been sold. The remaining copies were boxed and warehoused.

Fitzgerald went to his grave thinking his work was forgotten and irrelevant. Thanks to the twenty-twenty vision of hindsight, we now know nothing could be further from the truth. Beginning with its re-discovery in the early 1950s, The Great Gatsby rose to become Scribner’s best-selling title. It has sold more than 25 million copies all over the world and each year sells more than 500,000.

But what does that have to do with great moments in medicine?

Bear with me as I provide a bit of context. For decades, I have taught Fitzgerald’s life and works to my students with the express purpose of using his life to demonstrate how deadly the diseases of alcoholism and addiction can be. I even once wrote about Scott’s struggles for the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 2009, to alert my medical colleagues of his sad but instructive story.

Let’s begin at the end. On December 21, 1940, Scott Fitzgerald dropped dead after eating a chocolate bar and reading the Princeton Alumni Weekly magazine. He was resting a bit before going back to writing his novel about Hollywood’s Dream Factory, an unfinished task we know as The Last Tycoon. At about 2:00 PM, he got out of his easy chair, began to struggle for breath as he clutched his pained chest, and hung onto the mantelpiece of his apartment’s fireplace for support. Soon after, he fell to the carpet with a thud. He was only 44.

A badly recovering alcoholic, Fitzgerald drank and smoked himself into a terminal spiral of cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, angina, dyspnea, and syncopal spells. He had already had a mild heart attack, in October of 1940, outside Schwab’s Drugstore on Sunset Boulevard.

The evening before he died, Scott went to the movies. Before the closing credits, however, he felt crushing chest pain and needed help in getting out of the theater and home to bed.

Two decades earlier, after the widely successful publication of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald was the toast of the literary world and a living legend of the Roaring Twenties, the era he called “the most expensive orgy in history.” Even now, the mention of his name instantly conjures up vivid images of flappers with bobbed hair and collegians wearing raccoon coats.

Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Sayre home in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1919. The following year they would marry. Photo via Getty Images

In many ways, his end was all but predestined thanks to a strong family history for alcoholism a personality marked by excessive risk taking, reckless behavior and what he called “a two-cylinder inferiority complex” and a dizzying series of emotional traumas—most notably his wife Zelda’s descent into madness.

Fitzgerald was already drinking to excess by the time he matriculated into Princeton in 1916. His problem only grew worse with each passing year. Throughout his life, Scott made a drunken fool out of himself at parties and public venues, spewing insults, throwing punches, and hurling ashtrays—behaviors followed by blackouts and memory loss.

Predictably, his excessive drinking sapped his health and creative energy. As he told his editor, Max Perkins, in 1935:

It has become increasingly plain to me that the very excellent organization of a long book or the finest perceptions and judgment in time of revision do not go well with liquor. A short story can be written on a bottle, but for a novel you need the mental speed that enables you to keep the whole pattern in your head and ruthlessly sacrifice the sideshows. . .

Between 1933 and 1937, Scott was hospitalized for alcoholism 8 times and thrown in jail on many more occasions. In February, March, and April 1936, Scott confessed the details about his breakdown on the high-profile pages of Esquire magazine. He titled them The Crack-Up. In an era when the admission of alcoholism was still considered a weakness of character, Scott’s public mea culpa was more than an act of candor or bravery it was tantamount to professional suicide.

In 1937, Fitzgerald somehow wrangled a job as a contract writer for the fabled Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios. Chain smoking and stuffing himself with fudge, chocolate bars, and sugary soda pop, an alcohol-starved Scott simply could not master the art of screenwriting by committee. His gorgeous prose just did not translate all that well to the staccato rhythm of the silver screen. He rebelled against the system by getting drunk.

Scott’s MGM contract was not renewed and he tried freelancing at some of the other studios. Too many times, he did what chronic alcoholics often do: he relapsed.

Struggling to abstain from liquor, Scott worried about his finances, precarious health, and the education of his daughter Scottie. More than once, friends suggested he join a sobriety support group that had been founded by a stockbroker named Bill Wilson and a physician named Bob Smith in 1935. It was called Alcoholics Anonymous. Scott’s response was both contemptuous and, ultimately, self-defeating:

I was never a joiner. AA can only help weak people because their ego is strengthened by the group. The group offers them the strength they lack on their own.

Instead, Scott chose to go it by himself, hoping that willpower alone would free him of his addiction. Despite periods of weeks to months “on the wagon,” the binges never really stopped, and each one took a greater toll on Scott’s battered brain and body. One time, he boasted of tapering his gin consumption but was still drinking 37 beers a day. In late October 1939, a few weeks after a disastrous drunken spree, Fitzgerald wrote his daughter Scottie a self-eulogy of sorts:

Anyhow I am alive again—getting by that October did something—with all its strains and necessities and humiliations and struggles. I don’t drink. I am not a great man, but sometimes, I think the impersonal and objective quality of my talent, and the sacrifices of it, in pieces, to preserve its essential value has some sort of epic grandeur. Anyhow after hours I nurse myself with delusions of that sort.

Fourteen months later, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s body was placed on view in the William Wordsworth Room of the Pierce Brothers Mortuary in Los Angeles. The undertakers expertly colored Scott’s gray hair back to its golden brown and disguised the wrinkles that marred a profile once admired by millions. Scott’s hands, however, told a more accurate tale of too much alcohol and unhealthy living they were as withered and frail as those belonging to an old man.

One of the few mourners to pay her respects was the Algonquin Round Table wit, poet, screenwriter, and alcoholic Dorothy Parker. She alternately praised Scott as her generation’s greatest novelist and roundly criticized him as a “horse’s ass.” Softly, under her breath, the bereaved and tipsy poet whispered, “The poor son-of-a-bitch.” Those who subsequently heard about the remark assumed Parker was making one of her famously inappropriate, sharp comments. In fact, she was quoting a line that appears near the end of The Great Gatsby. It was first uttered by the character “Owl-Eyes,” as he stood over the coffin of Jay Gatsby.

Every morning during those sad, last years of his life, Scott awoke with the hope that he could tell his alcoholic demons to scram. Some days he enjoyed a modicum of success in that task there were still many more, however, when he reached for a drink, and then another, sliding closer and closer to his grave. Fitzgerald, after all, was the man who famously observed, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

In retrospect, a better passage for Mrs. Parker to have recited while standing over Scott’s silent body would be the last luminous lines of his Long Island literary masterpiece:

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further. . . . And one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Left: Fitzgerald struggled with addition through his entire adult life. Photo via Getty Images


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