Fitzgerald, F. Scott: 1896 - 1940

The Great Gatsby, 1925 - Information about the Book

  • Three years before the novel was published by Scribner's, Fitzgerald said that he planned to write "something new - something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." His old friend, Edmund Wilson, read the book immediately. He told Fitzgerald it was the best work he had done, although he thought the characters were unpleasant. T.S. Eliot told him it was the best new novel he had read in years.
    from The Writer's Almanac, MPR.
    Fitzgerald hoped to sell 20'000 copies.
  • About the significance and why the novel continues to resonate with readers of all ages. WHYY Radio; May 9, 2013

    With Suzanne del Gizzo, Chestnut Hill College, and Michael Tratner, Bryn Mawr College.
  • A conversation about The Great Gatsby with writer Jay McInerney and literature professor Anne Margaret Daniel. WNYC; May 6, 2013
  • The Great Gatsby: discussion
  • Studio 360 explores F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and finds out how this compact novel became the great American story of our age. Novelist Jonathan Franzen tells Kurt Andersen why he still reads it every year or two, and writer Patricia Hampl explains why its lightness is deceptive. November 25, 2010
  • Discusssion about the novel. National Endowment for the Arts; August 21, 2009, with Dana Gioia and these guests - transcript (29:12)
    • Excerpt: Matthew Bruccoli on Fitzgerald and wealth. National Endowment for the Arts

      Now, a Literary Moment...

      F. Scott Fitzgerald's acknowledged masterpiece is his 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. For the narrator of the book, Nick Carraway, there is an uncanny resemblance to Fitzgerald himself. They are both from a Midwestern city, studied at Ivy League universities and served in the army during World War I.

      Moving to New York after the War, Fitzgerald became both the witness of and a participant in the excesses of high society.

      Critic and scholar Matthew Bruccoli: Fitzgerald got his material in St. Paul as an insider/outsider; a kid who played with the rich kids in town, who went to dancing school with the rich kids in town, but whose father was a failure and - I'm sure - that Fitzgerald's concentration on, understanding of complex reactions to wealth and the wealthy began on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, MI.

      This Literary Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

    • Excerpt: Matthew Bruccoli on money and character. National Endowment for the Arts

      Now, a Literary Moment...

      Fast cars, fast women, and fast times. Ironically, it's a perfect description of the 1920s Jazz Age and its privileged socialites. But money and speed didn't bring happiness or meaning to this fast set living in the aftermath of World War I.

      Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald knew this -- as both a participant and a moral witness.

      Scholar Matthew Bruccoli: He became one of our great social novelists. He was the first of the American writers to write seriously about money and how it works. That's probably his greatest distinction. People said he wrote the first American gangster novel in The Great Gatsby. Aahh, I'm not sure it's true and if so, so what. Fitzgerald was the first American writer to write seriously about money and the effects of money on character.

      Matthew Bruccoli on F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  • Some thoughts about the novel from the Discovery Channel (Real 1:52)
  • Jay Gatsby and the Myth of American Origins: a lecture by Leo Marx. MIT School of Engineering; April 25, 2005 (Real 1:25:45)