The Great Gatsby

Introduction

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

The novel was inspired by a youthful romance Fitzgerald had with socialite Ginevra King and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island's North Shore in 1922. Following a move to the French Riviera, Fitzgerald completed a rough draft in 1924. He submitted the draft to editor Maxwell Perkins, who persuaded Fitzgerald to revise the work over the following winter. After making revisions, Fitzgerald was satisfied with the text, but remained ambivalent about the book's title and considered several alternatives. Painter Francis Cugat's final cover design impressed Fitzgerald who incorporated a visual element from the art into the novel.

After its publication by Scribner's in April 1925, The Great Gatsby received generally favorable reviews; some literary critics believed it did not equal Fitzgerald's previous efforts and signaled the end of his literary achievements. Gatsby was a commercial failure, selling fewer than 20,000 copies by October, and Fitzgerald's hopes of a monetary windfall from the novel were unrealized. When the author died in 1940, he believed himself to be a failure and his work forgotten. After his death, the novel faced a critical and scholarly re-examination amid World War II, and it soon became a core part of most American high school curricula and a part of American popular culture. Numerous stage and film adaptations followed in the subsequent decades.

Gatsby continues to attract popular and scholarly attention. Contemporary scholars emphasize the novel's treatment of social class, its portrayal of inherited versus self-made wealth, race, environmentalism, and its cynical attitude towards the American dream. As with other works by Fitzgerald, criticisms include allegations of antisemitism. The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary masterwork and a contender for the title of the Great American Novel.


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