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The Great Gatsby

Phew! Changing gears again. I know everyone has probably read this and seen the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie (though I'm waiting to read it again), but in my poll last meeting there was significant interest in joining me to revisit this novel that I merely skimmed in high school (don't tell Mrs. Head! Although I'm sure it was evident from my pathetic essay on it).

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

As if you don't know:

The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Written in 1925, it is often referred to as "The Great American Novel," and as the quintessential work which captures the mood of the "Jazz Age."

The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers. After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic.

It seems to me, though, that 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 and "the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder."

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  • Melinda

    I agree, such an interesting range of ideas, thoughts and perspectives, great discussion!

    August 8, 2013

  • Julie

    Amazing how many perspectives there can be about one book! Great discussion as always :-)

    August 8, 2013

    • Brigitte

      isn't that the truth :). Great group

      August 8, 2013

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