by F. Scott Fitzgerald , Introduction by Tony Tanner
Category: Fiction / General
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 24 February 2000
Number of pages: 240
Prizes: Runner-up for The BBC Big Read Top 100 2003.
Shortlisted for BBC Big Read Top 100 2003.
Now the subject of a major new film from director Baz Luhrmann ("Romeo+Juliet", "Moulin Rouge!"), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, "The Great Gatsby" is F. Scott Fitzgerald's brilliant fable of the hedonistic excess and tragic reality of 1920s America. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Tony Tanner. Young, handsome and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby is the bright star of the Jazz Age, but as writer Nick Carraway is drawn into the decadent orbit of his Long Island mansion, where the party never seems to end, he finds himself faced by the mystery of Gatsby's origins and desires. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life, Gatsby is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon, this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel. In "The Great Gatsby", Fitzgerald brilliantly captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. But he does more than render the essence of a particular time and place, for - in chronicling Gatsby's tragic pursuit of his dream - Fitzgerald re-creates the universal conflict between illusion and reality. Like Jay Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) has acquired a mythical status in American literary history, and his masterwork. "The Great Gatsby" is considered by many to be the 'great American novel'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre, dubbed 'the first American Flapper', and their traumatic marriage and Zelda's gradual descent into insanity became the leading influence on his writing. As well as many short stories, Fitzgerald wrote five novels "This Side of Paradise", "The Great Gatsby", "The Beautiful and the Damned", "Tender is the Night" and, incomplete at the time of his death, "The Last Tycoon". After his death "The New York Times" said of him that 'in fact and in the literary sense he created a "generation"'. "A classic, perhaps the supreme American novel". (John Carey, "Sunday Times" Books of the Century).
One of the French novelists, I can never remember accurately whether it was Maurois or Mauriac, said that 'the door slams shut on a writer before the age of 12' - meaning that all his raw material has been formed by then. It feels a bit early but I know what he meant. Likewise, perhaps all the influential books are those encountered in one's formative years. Fitzgerald had many faults - unpursued ideas, incomplete themes - but in Gatsby he created a sleek monster, a metaphor for that society of the rich dangerous to the heart even when passive Review by Frank Delaney, whose books include 'The Sins of the Mothers' (Kirkus UK)
Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and educated at Princeton. Stationed in Alabama, he met and later married Zelda Sayre. His first novel, This Side of Paradise published in 1920, was a tremendous critical and commercial success. Fitzgerald followed with The Beautiful and the Damned in 1922, The Great Gatsby in 1925 and Tender is the Night in 1934. He was working on The Last Tycoon (1941) when he died, in Hollywood, in 1940.
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