Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Anniversary to The Great Gatsby

Hey, guys!!! It has been a hot minute since I've posted anything. Writing has been pretty much reserved for my two grad-level English classes. Anyway, I couldn't let the day pass without recognizing one of my favorite novels, The Great Gatsby. I love literature way too much to just pick one novel as my favorite, but The Great Gatsby is right up there at the top. F. Scott Fitzgerald's tale, as told by narrator Nick Carraway, explores one man's obsession with the romantic notion of love and the American Dream.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald 1937 June 4 (1) (photo by Carl van Vechten)

Today is the 87th anniversary of the publication of The Great Gatsby. First published on April 10, 1925, Fitzgerald was paid an $3,939 advance for The Great Gatsby. I don't think Fitzgerald had any idea of how popular his novel would become to future generations, especially considered several of his books were out of print during his lifetime. Like the characters of Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived a lavish and decadent lifestyle which ended with both dead before the age of 50. Fitzgerald drank himself to death dying of a heart attack at age 44 in 1940. Eight years later, His wife Zelda, who spent the last years of her life in a mental institution, died at age 48 in a fire at the asylum.

Although the novel is now 87 years old, you can still see elements of Fitzgerald's vision of the rich and famous played out all over television every day. In December, Baz Luhrmann will resurrect Gatsby with a 3D interpretation of the novel starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. It will be the seventh screen version of the novel (my favorite is still the 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow). Good luck, Baz...

My students will begin reading The Great Gatsby. I absolutely hope they enjoy it as much as I have. Happy Birthday, Gatsby!!!

My articles on Gatsby:
The Gatsby Complex, Part One: The Lost Generation
The Gatsby Complex, Part Two: The Tom Buchanans
The Gatsby Complex, Part 3: The Ladies of Gatsby
The Gatsby Complex, Part 4: Gatsby

I wrote those a couple of years ago. They are just my observations about the times, and how to connect a novel with "the real world." That's it guys and gals. Now, I'm back to reading Emily Dickinson and Anita Desai. Have papers due on those two ladies next week. Until next time, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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