The Great Gatsby


Fitzgerald had difficulty choosing a title for his novel and entertained many choices before reluctantly choosing The Great Gatsby,[42] a title inspired by Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes.[43] Prior, Fitzgerald shifted between Gatsby; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Trimalchio;[42] Trimalchio in West Egg;[44] On the Road to West Egg;[44] Under the Red, White, and Blue;[42] Gold-Hatted Gatsby;[42][44] and The High-Bouncing Lover.[42][44] He initially preferred titles referencing Trimalchio, the crude parvenu in Petronius's Satyricon, and even refers to Gatsby as Trimalchio once in the novel: "It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night—and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over."[45] Unlike Gatsby's spectacular parties, Trimalchio participated in the audacious and libidinous orgies he hosted but, according to Tony Tanner's introduction to the Penguin edition, there are subtle similarities between the two.[46]

In November 1924, Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins that "I have now decided to stick to the title I put on the book ... Trimalchio in West Egg"[47] but was eventually persuaded that the reference was too obscure and that people would not be able to pronounce it.[48] His wife, Zelda, and Perkins both expressed their preference for The Great Gatsby and the next month Fitzgerald agreed.[49] A month before publication, after a final review of the proofs, he asked if it would be possible to re-title it Trimalchio or Gold-Hatted Gatsby but Perkins advised against it. On March 19, 1925,[50] Fitzgerald expressed intense enthusiasm for the title Under the Red, White and Blue, but it was at that stage too late to change.[51][52] The Great Gatsby was published on April 10, 1925.[53] Fitzgerald remarked that "the title is only fair, rather bad than good."[54]

Early drafts of the novel entitled Trimalchio: An Early Version of The Great Gatsby have been published.[55][56] A notable difference between the Trimalchio draft and The Great Gatsby is a less complete failure of Gatsby's dream in Trimalchio. Another difference is that the argument between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby is more even,[57] although Daisy still returns to Tom.

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