am 17. Juli 2000
Although published seventy-five years ago, Fitzgerald's masterpiece remains as fresh as the day it appeared. It could have been written yesterday. It is as perfect a novel as one is likely to find in American literature; not a word is wrong or out of place. The choice of a second person narrator gives the reader wider and greater appreciation of the characters and events. At the center of it all, of course, is Jay Gatsby, bootlegger, liar, party-giver, doomed romantic. His love for Daisy Buchanan, his "incorruptible dream", is the only genuine emotion felt by any of the characters (excepting narrator Nick Carroway, whose loyalty to Gatsby is touching), all of whose superficiality is buried beneath the glitter and gaiety of the Jazz Age, the endless parties, the extramarital affairs, the endless-flowing booze, the accumulation of wealth and things.
This edition of the book features critical commentary and notes from Prof. Matthew Bruccoli, the world's foremost Fitzgerald scholar.
am 27. März 2000
Jay Gatsby. The most sophisticated, popular, extravagant man on West Egg Island. The host of lavish, extraordinary parties, sprawled across the gardens of his enormous house, filled with aristocrats, vibrant colors, jazz music, laughter, and the tinklin of glasses. A personable young man if there ever was one. A friend to all, and fond of calling them "old boy." And above all, an Oxford man. Or is he? For it seems one can never fully trust Gatsby and the stories of his past. The occasional uncertainty d hesitancy in his voice, as well as frequent inquiries, investigations, and juicy rumors, contradict the his words. Jay Gatsby is the hero of F. Scott Fiztgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby, an captivating novel full of intertwining stories and characters, and the revelation of the first connection is intriguing enough to leave the reader begging for the next. A won rful story, The Great Gatsby is laced with mystery, and spiced with a dash of romance. The tale unfolds itself in 1922, on the Long Island provinces of West and East Egg Island, the latter being the more fashionable of the two, and the island where Daisy and Tom Bucanan reside. Daisy is a sparkling young woman and adored by all that meet er. She is sociable, polite, energetic, enthusiastic, and positively delightful, complete with a voice resembling lilting music notes. But this bright girl isn't all she seems; even lovely Daisy has a passionate secret. Her husband, Tom, is an athletic an, the epitome of arrogance. His eyes are always described as "flashing about restlessly." The former football hero demands dominance over all, especially over the women in his life; his wife, and his over-the-top, full-figured mistress, Myrtle Wilson. t is only when he feels denied of this control that he shows emotion. Across the bay, on the West Egg, lives Daisy's cousin, and Tom's college friend, Nick Callaway, who also happens to be Gatsby's neighbor (just some of the slew of intertwining connec ons between the characters). Nick is the narrator of the story, and does well in presenting an objective view of the string of events that take place. Perhaps this is because he lives by the rule to not criticize others. However, he is incredibly percep ve, and whatever criticisms and opinions he does take on become completely justified to the reader, biased or not. Nick is forever changed by his encounters with Gatsby, but still remains able to continue his normal life, leaving any stinging memories b ind. Perhaps this can be attributed to Jordan Baker, who can be considered the anchor of sanity, or the accomplice for the plot basis. Jordan, Daisy's good friend, moves through the story to become Nick's love interest, but also serves as the source of e missing pieces of the story, the glue between other characters, without being incredibly integral to the connections themselves. As said before, The Great Gatsby is a wonderful whirl of mixing and mingling pasts and presents. It focuses around Jay Gatsby and his quest to recapture the love he had and lost five years ago; Daisy, who loves him in return. However, between elaborate chemes and secret meetings, the two must conquer husbands, mistresses, death, tragedy, and pass the test of true love and loyalty. And despite how much readers come to wish them well, at times their happy fate is wholly uncertain. Through the tangled story of Gatsby and Daisy's romance, and the web of characters and events that surround them, Fitzgerald makes it painfully clear to his readers that people are interminably connected, and the actions of one can start a chain that e ects the lives of many. And, contrary to main-stream fictitious happiness, love does not always prove to be pure and true, or prevail over all. Although The Great Gatsby eventually proves itself to be a simply engrossing novel, the primary story line can be difficult to deeply fall into. The first seventy-five pages can seem dry and lagging, as they primarily consist of explaining how Nick cam to live in West Egg, and retelling seemingly unimportant encounters with several of the characters, probably simply a method of presenting them to readers. However, with the introduction of Mr. Wolfshiem, a shady character, as well as the conversation b ween Gatsby and Nick that precedes that meeting, the plot thickens tremendously. It is with these two events that the mysterious story and the intertwining pasts begin to unfold themselves, and readers will find themselves immediately entranced by the s uence of events to come. The Great Gatsby, though not entirely difficult, should also not be tackled by those who find expressive language and metaphors troubling. However, once readers have become aquatinted with Fitzgerald's writing, his exquisite use of language and metapho will become apparent. They will find the lavish words find even necessary to match the sophisticated nature of the characters. He makes exceptional use of metaphor, best exemplified by his description of Daisy's voice. It is praised time and time again, nd is said to retain the quality of music, notes that will never be played again, the sound of tinkling money, and glowing and singing noise, the sort that the ear follows up and down. Jordan is also frequently said to "balance objects on her chin," def ing the way she holds herself. And just outside of New York is an area where everything is apparently made from ashes, and the piercing blue streams of sky are solely referred to as "the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg." These metaphors help to paint a wo erfully vivid picture, making sounds and sights come alive, full with depth and meaning.
am 29. Juni 2000
I have read this book every summer since I first read it as part of a high school reading list. It is one of my favorite books in that it takes the reader back to a very romantic, colorful time in history. It profiles the life of a tragic, wreckless dreamer who re-invents himself to capture the heart of a his first love.
I think what brings me back to this book time and time again is the poetic quality of the writing. Each reading brings seems to bring out new ideas and facets to this story. It is beautifully written. One thing worth noticing is the use of colors that Fitzgerald employs throughout the story. The book also captures a slice of life in the 1920s - a period of time which often seems akin to the present in its massive explosion of wealth.
I think the fact that the story takes place in the summer also ads to my enjoyment of this book. When I sit on the beach reading it,I can picture myself on the north shore of Long Island at one of Gatsby's parties, with jazz music in the air, and his beautiful house ablaze with a festive glow....
am 22. Februar 2000
The Great Gatsby is an important book, make no mistake. It is also the finest novel of a very fine novelist. At a time when America was just beginning to realise that it was as susceptible to corruption, greed and self-delusion as every other country on the planet, Fitzgerald wrote a book that really does capture the moment a nation founded on ideals realises that ideals are hard to live by.
Gatsby, the central anti-character, is a mere shadow, a man who reinvents himself to win the heart of the girl he think he loves. The foundations of this infatuation and subsequent reinvention are rotten and the result must be rotten too. Fitzgerald writes beautifully, his words tinged with the sadness and quiet desperation that flavours the whole novel, and his characters all seem to sense that their lives are built on precarious ideas about success, happiness and love.
The Great Gatsby is a very honest and acute portrayal of a nation built on the misbegotten assumption that you can be whoever you want to be, and the consequences that that belief holds. More importantly it is a brilliant and moving novel.
Das erste mal las ich diesen Roman gezwungenermaßen in der Schule und war, wie sollte es auch anders sein, wenig begeistert. Die ständige Suche nach diversen stylistic devices sowie die Interpretationen von Charakteren in einzelnen Kapiteln haben mir damals echt schlechte Laune bereitet. Heute, sechs Jahre später, habe ich "The Great Gatsby" nur so aus Spaß an der Freude gelesen und war begeistert.
Nick Carrahan erzählt die Geschichte seines Nachbarn Jay Gatsby, der in seiner Villa fast täglich riesige Partys schmeißt. Doch keienr von seinen Gästen scheint etwas über die wahre Geschichte von Gatsby Bescheid zu wissen. Es kursieren die wildesten Gerüchte wie er zu seinem Reichtum gekommen ist, aber niemand scheint die Wahrheit zu kennen.
Dabei ist alles ganz einfach. Gatsby hat sein Leben nur einem einzigen Zweck untergeordnet, nämlich seine geliebte Daisy, Nicks Cousine, zu erobern. Diese lernte er vor fünf Jahren, als mittelloser Soldat, kurz bevor er in den Ersten Weltkrieg zog, kennen. Sie versprach ihm, auf ihn zu warten und heiratete dann doch den reichen, aber dummen und brutalen, Footballspieler Tom Buchanan. Gatsby ist sich sicher, dass Daisy ihn liebt, ihn aber wegen seiner Armut nicht heiraten konnte.
Für fünf Jahre wohnte er nun in Sichtweite von Daisys und Toms Haus, ohne sich ihr zu nähern. Er benutzt nun Nick, um Daisy zu sich einzulanden und endlich die Vergangenheit zu ändern (ein Hauptmotiv des Romans). Gatsby und Daisy treffen sich, doch die Geschichte nimmt einen Verlauf, den Gatsby so nicht erwartet hat.
"The Great Gatsby" ist zu aller erst eine unsentimentale, brutale Liebesgeschichte. Jahrelang hat Gatsby nur für die eine Illusion gelebt, sein ganzes Leben auf ein Ziel ausgerichtet und muss dafür bitter bezahlen.
Zum anderen rechnet der Roman schonungslos mit dem American Dream ab. Werte wie "ambition" oder "success" führen hier nicht zu einem glücklichen Ende, sondern zu einem einsamen und sinnlosen Leben.
am 3. September 2015
Der Roman wurde zum Klassiker, wenn auch erst Jahrzehnte nach dem Erscheinen und nachdem der Autor sich totgesoffen hatte. F. Scott Fitzgerald erzählt von männlichen Männern in New York 1922. Sie sind reich, sie sind mächtig, sie sind hartleibig. Sie nehmen sich, was sie wollen: Häuser, Frauen, Fassaden, Imperien, noch mehr Frauen, Wasserflugzeuge, neue Namen. Sie gehen über Leichen, doch das nicht ohne Stil.
Manchen haben sich hochgearbeitet, den amerikanischen Traum umgesetzt, andere erbten, wieder andere täuschen nur vor. Es riecht nach Rasierwasser, Whiskey und Zigaretten (auch wenn Ich-Erzähler und Gatsby, anders als ihr Umfeld und ihr Erfinder, nicht viel trinken). Erst allmählich zeigt sich, dass Fitzgerald hier auch Beziehungsdramen und einen Kriminalfall ausrollt.
Wenig pompös ist (neben ein paar mausgrauen Kleinverdienern) nur der Ich-Erzähler, die unwichtigste Figur im Gefüge. Für ihn findet Fitzgerald einen durchgehend ruhigen, knappen, unaufgeregten, eminent lesbaren Ton – der auch darüber hinwegtäuscht, dass der Roman sehr langsam in Gang kommt und Gatsby erst nach vielen Seiten erscheint. Dies ist Fitzgeralds dritter Roman, und hier läuft er zu Bestform auf; die hatte sich im zweiten Teil des Vorgängers, Die Schönen und Verdammten von 1922, schon angedeutet, und diesmal verzichtet Fitzgerald noch auf Feuilleton und reduziert aufdringlich Autobiografisches.
Der kurze Roman spielt nur in New York, in den teuren Vorstädten East Egg und West Egg und auf den Straßen und Bahnstrecken dazwischen – räumlich fast so kompakt wie eine Kurzgeschichte, und zeitlich nur über gut drei Monate verteilt. Es gibt nur wenige Rückblenden; ein paar Dinge erzählt Fitzgerald allerdings verspätet oder vage.
Fast jeder Satz scheint eine besondere Bedeutung zu tragen (und Fitzgeraldologe Bruccoli liefert im Band F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference viele faszinierende Erklärungen, Hintergründe und Abbildungen, dazu kommt reichlich weitere englische Sekundärliteratur zu diesem Roman). Gelegentlich erinnert dieser Roman an Geschichten von Patricia Highsmith, so mit den wohlhabenden Amerikanern, die auf einem Alkoholfilm ihr dolce far niente meistern und einem Übeltäter, der zunächst unbesorgt weiter das Dasein genießt.
Interessant: Jay Gatsby ist nicht die unbestrittene Hauptfigur. Drei weitere Akteure spielen ebenfalls wichtige Rollen, dazu kommen bedeutetende Nebenfiguren. Fitzgerald schildert kunstvoll spannungsgeladene Gespräche in Dreier- oder Fünfergruppen – die Anspannungen gehen allein aus den Dialogen hervor, Gefühle und Gesichtsausdrücke muss der Autor gar nicht mehr beschreiben.
Ich hab's auf Englisch gelesen, kann also die vielen deutschen Übersetzungen nicht beurteilen. Ich hatte eine ungekürzte englische Schul-Ausgabe des deutschen Klett-Verlags: Auf jeder Seite werden zehn oder 15 Vokabeln erklärt – die meisten kannte ich, für einige Erklärungen war ich dankbar (für mich enthalten alle Fitzgerald-Romane im Englischen etwas mehr unbekannte Vokabeln als der Durchschnitt meiner englischen Lektüre). Außerdem bringt das schmale Taschenbuch eine Zeittafel und paar kurze Aufsätze zu Fitzgerald, seiner Zeit und der 1974er-Verfilmung.
M.E. ist der Roman freilich für Schüler ungeeignet. Wer ihn liest, sollte schon als Erwachsener Erfahrungen in der erwachsenen Berufswelt gesammelt haben. Andererseits bietet der Roman gute Grundlagen für Diskussionen über Moral und sogar über den unmittelbaren Inhalt, denn Fitzgerald drückt manche Dinge nur indirekt oder verschleiert aus. Der Anhang liefert bereits ein paar Fragen für jedes Kapitel – so wie auch die book circle-Anhänge bei aktuellen englischen Roman-Taschenbüchern.
Und eben weil der Roman etwas mysteriös, sehr gut und auch sehr kurz ist, habe ich ihn gleich zweimal hintereinander gelesen. Beim zweiten Mal war es wie ein neues Buch.
Die bekanntesten Verfilmungen:
Gatsby lebt sehr stark von der ruhigen Stimme des Ich-Erzählers, eine Nebenfigur in der Handlung. Wie viele Kritiker beider bekannnter Verfilmungen anmerken, lässt sich dieser Ton nicht auf der Leinwand umsetzen; die Kinofassungen haben also eine andere Stimmung als der Roman.
1974: Buch F.F. Coppola, Regie Jack Clayton, mit Robert Redford, Mia Farrow
2013: Co-Autor, Regie Baz Luhrmann, mit Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan
"Süßes Gift..." - deutschsprachige Kritiken:
Paul Ingendaay 2011 in der FAZ:
Der Sprache dieses Romans ist ein süßes Gift beigemischt. Denn all der poetische Aufwand gilt einer durch und durch verkommenen Scheinwelt... Es gelingt ihm ((Fitzgerald)) das Kunststück, die zerstobene Hoffnung eines Gauners in große Tragödie zu verwandeln und an der Nichtigkeit seines Traums zugleich die Größe seines Traums zu beweisen... Fitzgerald hat für diese desillusionierte Ära Bilder gefunden, die wir noch heute als zeitgenössisch empfinden... Dass wir diesen Roman noch heute lesen, beruht auf seiner Dichte, Spannung, poetischen Qualität und der reflektierten Ausgestaltung seiner Motive... neun von zehn Romanen, die im Jahre 1925 auf der amerikanischen Bestsellerliste standen, sind heute vergessen; „Der große Gatsby“ nicht. Wie kein anderer amerikanischer Roman des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts zieht er den gewöhnlichen Leser ebenso an wie Scharen von Philologen, wird unermüdlich gedeutet, zerlegt, veropert, verfilmt... und seit dem Jahr 2000 gibt es in der Cambridge Edition unter dem Titel „Trimalchio“ sogar die unlektorierte Vorstufe des Romans zu kaufen
Paul Ingendaay 2004 in der FAZ:
Mein Lieblingsbuch... diesen verführerischsten aller kurzen Romane... ohne Dünkel oder Besserwisserei. Das ist das Große am "Großen Gatsby": daß er sein Thema anpackt, als stellte es kein moralisches Risiko dar, daß er es nie denunziert oder durch Belehrung entschärft. Fitzgerald überließ sich der rauschenden Welt, deren Untergang er hier beschreibt, mit Haut und Haaren.
Johanna Adorján, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung:
((Fitzgerald)) tupft seine Sätze so leicht und rhythmisch hin, dass die Partyszene bei der Lektüre zu vibrieren scheint. Unmöglich, die Schönheit seiner Sprache ins Deutsche zu übertragen, so einen swingenden Sound gibt das Deutsche nicht her (die eleganteste Übersetzung scheint mir noch die von Johanna Ellsworth zu sein). Seine Personenbeschreibungen sind herrlich
"Short, easy to read, and full of low-hanging symbols..." – englische Kritiken:
In seiner Liste der 100 besten englischsprachigen Romane (ohne Rangfolge) schreibt der Guardian über Gatsby:
The American novel on this list that remains, after many readings, one of my all-time favourites, an unquiet masterpiece whose mystery never fails to exert its power... The "jazz" side of Gatsby, amply represented by Baz Luhrmann's movie, remains seductive. The plot, ripped from the pages of a tabloid and crossed with a romantic novelette, has the potency of cheap music. The attraction of Gatsby intensifies with the text itself, a glittering diamond of brevity less than 60,000 words long... it's also a prose-poem, an elegy to its author's lost love, a hymn to the anxieties of the American dream
New York Times 1925:
...a conflict of spirituality set against the web of our commercial life. Both boisterous and tragic, it animates this new novel by Mr. Fitzgerald with whimsical magic and simple pathos that is realized with economy and restraint... more a long short story than a novel... this is a book of potent overtones... With sensitive insight and keen psychological observation, Fitzgerald discloses in these people a meanness of spirit, carelessness and absence of loyalties. He cannot hate them, for they are dumb in their insensate selfishness, and only to be pitied... He writes well-he always has-for he writes naturally, and his sense of form is becoming perfected.
New York Times 1960 über die wechselhafte Rezeptionsgeschichte:
...a classic of twentieth-century American fiction. There are three editions of it in print, and its text has become a subject of concern to professional bibliographers. It has not always been so, nor has "Gatsby" always sold at the rate of 50,000 copies a year, as it did last year... At its publication they thought it skillful light fiction. For the next twenty-five years, on the rare occasions when it was discussed, it was considered a nostalgic period piece with "the sadness and the remote jauntiness of a Gershwin tune," as Peter Quennell said in 1941... by 1945 the opinion that "Gatsby" was merely a period piece had almost entirely disappeared... whatever disagreements we may have over Fitzgerald's work as a whole, there remain few doubts of the greatness of "Gatsby" or of its imaginative relevance to American experience.
Los Angeles Times 1925:
Character could not be more skillfully revealed than it is here... The story is powerful as much for what is suggested as for what is told. It 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. And it is very great. Mr. Fitzgerald has certainly arrived.
New York Magazine, Kathryn Schulz, 2013:
In the words of the critic Jonathan Yardley, “that it is the American masterwork.”... T. S. Eliot called it “the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James.”... That’s the received Gatsby: a linguistically elegant, intellectually bold, morally acute parable of our nation... I am in thoroughgoing disagreement with all of this. I find Gatsby aesthetically overrated, psychologically vacant, and morally complacent... It is, among other things, a pedagogical perennial, in part for obvious reasons. The book is short, easy to read, and full of low-hanging symbols... I will grant Fitzgerald this much: Somehow, in the five years between his literary debut and The Great Gatsby, he taught himself to write. This Side of Paradise is intermittently brilliant but terrifically uncontrolled. Gatsby, by contrast, is focused and deliberate: a single crystal, scrupulously polished... Indeed, The Great Gatsby is less involved with human emotion than any book of comparable fame I can think of. None of its characters are likable. None of them are even dislikable, though nearly all of them are despicable. They function here only as types... almost everything in sight serves a symbolic purpose: the automobiles and ash heaps, the upright Midwest and poisonous East, the white dresses and decadent mansions... Heavy plot, heavy symbolism, zero ¬psychological motivation... Gatsby contains the best party scenes in American literature... As readers, we revel in the glamorous dissipation of the rich, and then we revel in the cheap satisfaction of seeing them fall.
New York Review of Books 2000 in einem langen Artikel über die Entstehungsgeschichte:
He ((Fitzgerald)) knew very well that the book in hand was far finer than anything he had attempted before... his greatest work of fiction... exquisite mastery
Fitzgerald-Lektor Perkins über die erste Manuskriptfassung an Fitzgerald:
It has vitality to an extraordinary degree, and glamour and a great deal of underlying thought of unusual quality.
Jay McInerney im Guardian 2012:
The book was little noticed on your side of the Atlantic ((England, Europa)) on its initial publication. Collins, which had published the English editions of F Scott Fitzgerald's first two novels, rejected it outright, and the Chatto and Windus edition failed to arouse much enthusiasm, critical or commercial, when it was published in London in 1926... Fitzgerald's slim tale of the jazz age became the most celebrated and beloved novel in the American canon. It's more than an American classic; it's become a defining document of the national psyche, a creation myth... Telling the story from Carraway's point of view was the key to the delicate balancing act Fitzgerald performed in narrating his improbable love story... Gatsby without Nick's voice, without his presiding consciousness, is like Bob Dylan's lyrics without music... The enduring appeal of Fitzgerald's third novel, as with many great novels, is partly dependent on a benign misinterpretation on the part of readers, a surrender to fascination with wealth and glamour, and the riotous frivolity of the jazz age... Ultimately, Jay Gatsby's story mirrors Fitzgerald's, a poor boy who falls in love with the golden girl and performs heroic feats in order to win the hand of the princess.
Washington Post 2007 unter der Überschrift The Greatest Of Them All:
...the monumental achievement of Fitzgerald's career. Reading it now for the seventh or eighth time, I am more convinced than ever not merely that it is Fitzgerald's masterwork but that it is the American masterwork, the finest work of fiction by any of this country's writers... no American novel comes closer than "Gatsby" to surpassing literary artistry, and none tells us more about ourselves. In an extraordinarily compressed space -- the novel is barely 50,000 words long -- Fitzgerald gives us a meditation on some of this country's most central ideas, themes, yearnings and preoccupations: the quest for a new life, the preoccupation with class, the hunger for riches
USA Today 2013 (vor allem mit Zitaten anderer Meinungen):
It's time to revisit that ultimate literary cage fight: Which classic deserves The Great American Novel victory belt. In March, a Publishers Weekly poll crowned To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Other factions agitated for Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, The Sound and the Fury and The Grapes of Wrath.
Nick Carraway is gay and in love with Gatsby... The Great Gatsby is often praised, and rightly so, for its economy. So much is packed into this slender volume—not much more than 50,000 words, practically a novella.
Amazon.com: 4,2 von 5 Lesersternen, 5447 Stimmen
Amazon.de: 4,2 von 5 Lesersternen, 42 Stimmen (es gibt weitere Stimmen zu weiteren Ausgaben)
Goodreads: 3,86 von 5 Lesersternen, 2148710 Stimmen (jeweils September 2015)
am 1. August 2000
The depth of this book is such that I certainly can't give justice to it in mere review, but I'm going to try.
What a wonderful life this is. And what a wonderful book this is, capturing the essence of the ambition, lust, love and gay abandonment, not only of the 1920s, but of the human spirit itself. Widely regarded as a classic of modern literature, Fitzgerald manages to capture something very American, very modern, very sublime and truly timeless in this novel; from the relatively simple narrative of romantic yearnings, to the greedy ambitions, the lost loves, the complex enchantments, and the underlying despair; this is a journey of life, a musical symphony, a grecian poem caught up in a few idle words of a wondering writer in the early 20th century.
This book for me is just too much. Take the exchange between Nick and Gatsby about the 'past', and following 'lost dreams';- "You can't repeat the past" (Nick). "Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can" (Gastby). Can you? I still don't know. How about the early quote of "the foul dust that floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the shortwinded elations and abortive sorrows of men". A dark promise of things to come. And what about the exhileration and excitement of the "returning trains of my youth", near the end, where Nick decides to leave the 'big smoke' in New York, permanently tainted in his mind, for the wide plains, the homely townships, and to escape from the shallow, superficial and 'messy' lives of the Big Apple pretenders.
I won't spoil you with intricate details of the story, if you haven't read it and you want to understand modern literature and the modern western world, you have to read it. It is as simple as that.
This book is a poem, a unique expose of the human spirit, the western dream, the love and despair of life; quintessentially 20th century and quintessentially beautiful.
I wish I was seventeen and could read it again for the first time.
Oh Daisy, my long lost and hoped for true love, the future is still ours......
am 28. April 2000
I did not go to school in America, and read this book about a year ago, but for whatever reason, I ended up here, and have to write some kind of upbeat report on the Great Gatsby to try to balance the tide against all the revisionist critics.
The reason I mention school is that it would appear a lot of people have had traumatising experiences with classics being thrust down their throats. I do not know if it is a case of bad teacher, bad student, or simple incompatibility, but I would say this - if you really did not enjoy a book, DON'T TELL OTHER PEOPLE NOT TO READ IT! One of the most disappointing experiences of my literary career (if you can call it that) was when I recommended my girlfriend to read Catch-22, and had it metaphorically hurled in my face after "3 chapters". That's her right, but the negative reaction will always hurt more people than help them, whereas vice-versa for the positive one...especially since I have noticed that works that someone has always been attached to can still be reduced for them in the face of violent enough criticism. If you had a bad experience at school, it's fair enough to be upset about it...but this truly is a great book which should only have great things written about it.
Both of Catch-22 and the Great Gatsby have humour and grace, and not a little hidden dignity. But Gatsby is clearly the superior work for the symbolists and amateur students of literature. It is a period novel, but like all the greatest of these kinds of works of fiction, it reaches far beyond its time. The writing is timeless, and the mystery makes for a latter day Much Ado About Nothing - perhaps it is boring on the surface, but boring like tectonic plates: fundamental, dealing in huge issues in subtle and slow movements. Yet it is not even a particularly long novel - several hours of great entertainment and effort well expended.
I hate having to write prescriptively, but sometimes you can't help reacting, you know?
am 18. Oktober 1999
F. Scott Fitzgerald is a pure genius. The Great Gatsby was beatifully written and completely captured the 1920s and its American Jazz Age. On the surface, Fitzgerald's novel seemed simple, but after a months study on it the book revealed so much more. Only a literary mastermind could have come up with such a subtle novel that came to be more complex and insightful than expected. Fitzgerald's characters is what brought life to the book. Nick, being the narrator, showed sensibility in the novel. Although Nick represented the middle class people striving to upgrade their status, he maintained his ground. Through the experiences that he had gone through being with the high society, there was a major turning point for him. Nick realized that that corrupt and shallow class had absolutely no morals. From there he moved back West, too afraid that he may experience what Gastby had experienced. Jay Gatsby on the other hand, was somewhat of an honorable mystery. He was a mystery because he was never seen directly, but mainly through other peoples perceptions. Nobody really knew him as a person and nobody knew his identity. Although, Gatsby was on a quest in search of something that meant his whole life to him. He wanted to re-live the past that he had with Daisy and didn't stop for a second to come back to reality no matter what other people had told him. Now Daisy was simply a basketcase and represented her society quite well. She was materialistic and extremely shallow, thus the name Daisy. She had played with people's minds and seemed to play with her own mind at the same time. The novel just came together very well with the connection of the seasons to Gatsby's dream to even the slightest detailing of the colour of clothing and even the vehicle's interior. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel was very insightful and well-crafted, but before making any first judgements after reading it thorough research will make you believe how great The Great Gatsby truly is.
am 17. Oktober 1999
The Great Gatsby, a book about love, wealth, triumph, and tragidy, was written by Scott F. Fitzgerald (1896-1940). Fitzgerald's original purpose for writing was to become wealthy and to impress his new wife, Zelda Sayre. Soon after his first book was published, he realized that he liked writing so much, he would make it his life-long profession.
The Great Gatsby is a book that tells us the way of life and love during the twenties. The book's main character, Nick Carraway tells of life, from his 30 year old male's perspective. Nick, living in the lower middle class, moved east to New York in search of riches, but what he finds, is an unexpected wealth that will change his view of life forever.
Fitzgerald wrote this book to present the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age. The twenties marked the decade where the American economy, and status levels, peaked. The rich were very rich, and the poor, very poor. Fitzgerald compared and contrasted these two groups very well. I believe what enabled him to do this was that during his life-time, he experienced both being rich, and being poor. Throughout the book, Fitzgerald contrasts the rich and the poor's status level. Through Nick, he talks about how the rich were looked up to and the poor were looked down on, with the exception of Nick's very wealthy next door neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Nick admire's Mr. Gatsby, he tells us this by writing about him, "He has an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again." In the same way, Mr. Gatsby treats Nick like he treats everyone. He is able to see past status and money, and look straight into the heart. As the story continues, Nick becomes Mr. Gatsby's best, and only true friend.
This book also illustrates the racism and rivalry between blacks and whites during this period. Nick tells us about this as he is driving in Mr. Gatsby's Rolls Royce. "As we crossed Blackwell's Island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chachauffuer, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry." Fitzgerald emphasized the race struggle many times during the book. One time, near the end, a fight breaks out over love. Jordan, exasperated at the immaturity of the two men, intently said, "Come on, we're all white here!"
After Mr. Gatsby's death, Nick Carraway decided to travel back to his homeland in the west. As he was reflecting on the past few years, he suddenly realized that Mr. Gatsby had not only been a good freind, but also an excellent mentor. Mr. Gatsby had been trying to teach him by his example that money has little or nothing to do with wealth. Wealth comes from your heart, not your pocket.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, Fitzgerald's writing was very new to me. At times, it was confusing or did not seem complete. I must say however, Fitzgerald did an excellent job at answering all of the many questions that were brought up during this story. I now understand why his books were chosen to "Speak for the 20's!"