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F. Scott Fitzgerald - Historia

F. Scott Fitzgerald - Historia

F. Scott Fitzgerald

1896- 1940

Novelista

Francis Scott Fitzgerald nació el 24 de septiembre de 1896 en St Paul Minnesota. Fitzgerald creció en un cómodo hogar católico y asistió a escuelas católicas. Fue a la escuela secundaria Newman School y luego a Princeton, donde escribió su primera novela. Abandonó Princeton para alistarse en el ejército en 1917. Después de servir en el ejército, trabajó durante un corto período en Nueva York escribiendo una copia publicitaria, antes de regresar a la casa de sus padres para terminar This Side of Paradise, que fue publicado por Scribner, y fue un éxito inmediato, lanzando su carrera. Fitzgerald relató los lapsos morales de los ricos en sus historias ambientadas en la época que él denominó "La era del jazz".

Un matrimonio difícil con la mentalmente inestable Zelda Sayre, junto con sus propios problemas (incluido el abuso del alcohol y los reveses financieros), obstaculizó el progreso de su carrera hasta cierto punto, aunque logró escribir algunas de las publicaciones más aclamadas del siglo, incluido El gran Gatsby. (1925).


Publicación de la primera novela de F. Scott Fitzgerald

Este lado del paraiso se publica, lanzando inmediatamente a F. Scott Fitzgerald, de 23 años, a la fama y la fortuna.

Fitzgerald, llamado así por su antepasado Francis Scott Key, autor de & # x201CThe Star Spangled Banner, & # x201D nació en St. Paul, Minnesota, en el seno de una familia acomodada que había descendido en riqueza e influencia. Con la financiación de una tía acomodada, Fitzgerald fue enviado a un internado en Nueva Jersey en 1911 y asistió a la Universidad de Princeton dos años después. Aunque Fitzgerald participó activamente en el teatro, las artes y otras actividades del campus, su experiencia financiera era considerablemente más pobre que la de sus compañeros de clase, y su condición de forastero, ya sea real o imaginario, dejó un aguijón. Dejó Princeton después de tres años y se unió al ejército durante la Primera Guerra Mundial.

Mientras estaba en el ejército, estuvo destinado en Montgomery, Alabama, donde desarrolló un romance con la privilegiada y mimada Zelda Sayre, hija de una Corte Suprema y Justicia del Estado. Como la heroína de El gran Gatsby, ella rechazó al joven, temiendo que él no pudiera apoyarla, y al igual que Gatsby, Fitzgerald juró recuperarla. Se mudó a Nueva York, reescribió una novela sobre Princeton que había comenzado en la universidad y rápidamente se convirtió en el autor más joven jamás publicado por Scribner & # x2019s. Su fama y fortuna aseguradas por el momento, convenció a Zelda de que se casara con él, y los dos comenzaron una vida vertiginosa de fiestas glamorosas y una vida extravagante en Nueva York.

Los Fitzgerald vivieron mucho más allá de sus posibilidades y pronto se encontraron profundamente endeudados. Se mudaron a Europa, con la esperanza de reducir los gastos, donde se hicieron amigos de otros escritores expatriados, incluidos Ernest Hemingway y Gertrude Stein. Mientras estaba en Europa, Fitzgerald terminó su obra maestra El gran Gatsby (1925).

Aunque Fitzgerald publicó docenas de cuentos & # x2014178 durante su vida, por los cuales fue sobradamente pagado & # x2014la pareja & # x2019, las deudas se acumularon. Fitzgerald se sumergió en el alcoholismo y su esposa se volvió cada vez más inestable. En 1930, sufrió la primera de varias averías y fue institucionalizada. Pasó el resto de su vida en un sanatorio. & # XA0

Fitzgerald & # x2019s próxima novela, Tierna es la noche, no logró resonar con el público estadounidense, y la suerte de Fitzgerald & # x2019s se desplomó. En 1937, se mudó a Hollywood para intentar escribir guiones. Se enamoró de un columnista de chismes de Hollywood, dejó de beber y comenzó a renovar sus esfuerzos literarios, pero murió de un ataque cardíaco en 1940, a la edad de 44 años.


Los flappers eran famosos y # x2014 o infames, según tu punto de vista, # x2014 por su atuendo desenfadado.

Se pusieron elegantes vestidos de estilo flapper de longitudes más cortas que revelaban la pantorrilla y con escotes más bajos, aunque no suelen ajustarse a la forma: la silueta preferida era recta y delgada.

Los flappers usaban zapatos de tacón alto y tiraban sus corsés a favor de sostenes y lencería. Se aplicaron alegremente colorete, lápiz labial, rímel y otros cosméticos, y prefirieron peinados más cortos como el bob.

Diseñadores como Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli y Jean Patou dominaron la moda flapper. La invención de Jean Patou de los trajes de baño de punto y la ropa deportiva de mujer, como la ropa de tenis, inspiró una silueta más libre y relajada, mientras que las prendas de punto de Chanel y Schiaparelli aportaron líneas sensatas a la ropa de mujer. Los diseños de corte al bies de Madeleine Vionnet & # x2019 (hechos cortando la tela a contrapelo) enfatizaban la forma del cuerpo de una mujer de una manera más natural.


Vivían a lo grande pero siempre estaban en quiebra

El gran Gatsby a menudo se ve como el epítome de la década de 1920 en este país - nPoco dinero organizando grandes fiestas empapadas de champán, jazz y alta costura. Y así es exactamente como vivieron los Fitzgerald, durante un tiempo.

Primera novela de F. Scott Fitzgerald, década de 1920 Este lado del paraiso, fue un éxito instantáneo y un éxito de ventas. El éxito de la novela le permitió casarse con Zelda y lo convirtió en una celebridad a la edad de 23 años. La joven pareja se deleitó con su notoriedad y su nueva riqueza. Como señala Great Writers Inspire, inmediatamente comenzaron a vivir más allá de sus posibilidades, pagando casas lujosas y cenas caras, bebiendo y bailando sus noches. Segunda novela de Scott, La bella y la maldita, también fue un éxito de ventas, lo que les permitió mantener su nuevo estilo de vida.

Incluso en el apogeo de su fama y éxito, los Fitzgerald lucharon con el dinero y lo gastaron más rápido de lo que ingresaron. Como señala su nieta en Literary Hub, Zelda y Scott pidieron mucho dinero prestado para mantener las cosas en marcha: de su agente, sus editores, incluso de amigos. Scott se vio obligado casi de inmediato a escribir ficción corta para generar ingresos adicionales, lo que, según él, lo distrajo de su trabajo más importante, pero sus deudas siempre presentes lo mantuvieron en una rutina de trabajo para pagar préstamos y luego pedir prestado más. Como El Washington Post notas, en 1937 los Fitzgerald estaban en quiebra.


Problemas de salud mental y conyugal

Zelda fue una musa de F. Scott y sus características se destacan de manera destacada en algunas de sus obras más notables, incluyendo Este lado del paraiso, La bella y la maldita, El gran Gatsby y Tierna es la noche. F. Scott incluso llegó a robar extractos textuales del diario personal de Zelda & # x2019 e incorporarlos en sus novelas & # x2014, una táctica que inició una espiral descendente en su disfuncional matrimonio plagado de alcoholismo, violencia y problemas de salud mental. & # X2014 # xA0

Cuando el mercado de valores colapsó en 1929, su estilo de vida exagerado de viajes e indulgencia colapsó y quedaron en la ruina financiera. En 1930, a Zelda le diagnosticaron esquizofrenia y pasó los años que le quedaban entrando y saliendo de varias clínicas de salud mental. La familia fue duramente golpeada por la Gran Depresión y & # xA0left sin un centavo. Al final, el matrimonio de Zelda & # x2019 con F. Scott no fue más que un fa & # xE7ade. F. Scott murió a los 44 años de un ataque al corazón el 21 de diciembre de 1940.


F. Scott Fitzgerald y la era del exceso

F. Scott Fitzgerald y su esposa, Zelda, fueron culpables de muchas cosas. Eran impetuosos, se sabía que bebían demasiado y eran propensos a episodios de depresión grave y comportamiento autodestructivo, pero nadie podría acusarlos nunca de frugalidad. En 1923, la joven pareja (él tenía veintisiete años, ella veintitrés) zarpó hacia Francia. Transporte de diecisiete piezas de equipaje y un juego completo de Enciclopedia Británica, alquilaron una enorme villa de piedra que descansaba a 2,5 kilómetros sobre St. Raphäel, “una pequeña ciudad roja construida cerca del mar”, le explicó Scott a un amigo, “con alegres casas de techos rojos y un aire de carnaval reprimido. " Su villa estaba tachonada de balcones de tejas moriscas azules y blancas y rodeada por un huerto fragante de limoneros, olivos y palmeras que daba paso a un largo camino de grava, el único pasadizo que salía de su castillo mediterráneo. Irónicamente, fue allí, a miles de kilómetros de casa, en su cómoda posición en el Mediterráneo francés, donde Scott escribió la que podría decirse que fue la novela estadounidense más importante de la época: El gran Gatsby.

Una historia de amor y traición, la novela de Fitzgerald contaba la historia de Jay Gatsby, un niño pobre de orígenes oscuros que se eleva a una gran riqueza y prestigio. En muchos sentidos, la novela fue emblemática de su época. Porque, como descubre el narrador del libro, Nick Caraway, el dinero y la fama de Gatsby se basaron en una mentira. (Si quieres saber cuál fue esa mentira, ¡lee la novela!) En El gran Gatsby, Fitzgerald expuso los excesos de la década de 1920, una época próspera en la que muchos estadounidenses llegaron a disfrutar de las bendiciones del consumismo y el exceso, solo para ver cómo todo se derrumbaba a su alrededor con la Gran Depresión que llegó en 1929. Caraway describió la opulencia de la mansión junto a la playa de Gatsby en Long Island y la extravagancia de las fiestas que organizaba. "Había música de la casa de mi vecino durante las noches de verano", confiesa. “En sus jardines azules, hombres y muchachas iban y venían como polillas entre los susurros, el champán y las estrellas. Durante la marea alta de la tarde vi a sus invitados zambullirse desde la torre de su balsa, o tomar el sol en la arena caliente de su playa. . . Los fines de semana, su Rolls Royce se convertía en un ómnibus que transportaba fiestas desde y hacia la ciudad. . . Y los lunes ocho sirvientes, incluido un jardinero adicional, trabajaban todo el día con fregonas, cepillos, martillos y tijeras de jardinería, reparando los estragos de la noche anterior ”. Al igual que los locos años veinte, la vida a la sombra de Jay Gatsby era una maravilla.

Considere el contexto en el que Fitzgerald estaba escribiendo: Estados Unidos en la década de 1920 estaba experimentando cambios dinámicos. Entre 1921 y 1924, el producto nacional bruto del país saltó de $ 69 mil millones a $ 93 mil millones, mientras que los salarios totales aumentaron de aproximadamente $ 36,4 mil millones a $ 51,5 mil millones. Estados Unidos había entrado en la Primera Guerra Mundial como una nación deudora y emergió como el mayor acreedor de Europa, por una suma de $ 12.5 mil millones. Desde un punto de vista relativo, Estados Unidos era rico y se mostró. Cuando una prominente familia de banqueros de Filadelfia levantó las cejas por instalar accesorios de oro en sus baños, un portavoz del clan hizo caso omiso de las críticas y explicó simplemente que "no tienes que pulirlos, sabes".

Sin duda, la mayoría de los estadounidenses no tenían grifos de oro y muy pocos disfrutaban de algo que se acercara a la riqueza de Jay Gatsby, pero los estadounidenses comunes aún compartían la prosperidad general. Mientras que solo el 16 por ciento de los hogares estadounidenses estaban electrificados en 1912, a mediados de los años veinte casi dos tercios tenían electricidad. Esto significaba que la familia promedio podía reemplazar las horas de trabajo manual y las tareas domésticas primitivas con el zumbido satisfactorio de la aspiradora eléctrica, el refrigerador y congelador eléctricos y la lavadora automática, todos los cuales se utilizaron ampliamente durante los años veinte. A finales de la década de 1920, más de 12 millones de hogares estadounidenses adquirieron aparatos de radio. Mientras tanto, el número de líneas telefónicas casi se duplicó, de 10,5 millones en 1915 a 20 millones en 1930.

La riqueza parecía engendrar innovación. La Oficina de Patentes de los Estados Unidos tardó más de cien años en emitir su millonésima patente en 1911, dentro de los quince años que emitió la dos millonésima. Decenas de nuevos productos de fábrica inundaron el floreciente mercado de consumo, con marcas que pronto resultaron familiares como cinta adhesiva, jugo de uva Welch, enjuague bucal Listerine, cereal Wheaties, papel de seda Kleenex, la maquinilla de afeitar eléctrica Schick y la paleta de limonada.

Si la mayoría de la gente no podía viajar al sur de Francia en busca de descanso e inspiración, llegó a disfrutar de una nueva gama de diversiones públicas que eran apenas imaginables veinte años antes: salas de baile, palacios de cine como el Teatro Oriental de Chicago y los parques de atracciones Rialto de Nueva York. como Luna y Steeplechase en Coney Island, cada uno magníficamente iluminado por hasta 250,000 bombillas eléctricas en estadios de béisbol del centro de la ciudad como Ebbets Field y Shibe Park, de fácil acceso en transporte público.

Los estadounidenses también pudieron comprar grandes cantidades de cristalería, joyería, ropa, artículos para el hogar y bienes duraderos producidos en masa, lo que desdibujó las distinciones entre ricos y pobres. Así como Nick Caraway no pudo discernir la mentira detrás de la riqueza y la educación de Gatsby, muchos estadounidenses más ricos ahora tenían problemas para discernir entre clases sociales. "Solía ​​poder contar algo sobre los antecedentes de una chica que solicita un trabajo como taquígrafo por su ropa", comentó un hombre de negocios en Muncie, Indiana, "pero hoy a menudo tengo que esperar hasta que ella hable, muestra un diente de oro , o de lo contrario me da una segunda pista ".

Los estadounidenses de la década de 1920 también estaban obsesionados con un nuevo culto a la celebridad. La década dio lugar a leyendas del deporte como Babe Ruth, quien era tan famoso por su apetito voraz como por su récord de jonrones, y Jack Dempsey, el campeón de peso pesado que a mediados de la década de 1920 apareció en casi tantas películas como peleas por el título. . Mientras que el Publicación del sábado por la noche y Colliers combinados publicaron un promedio de treinta y seis perfiles biográficos cada año entre 1901 y 1914, en la década posterior a la Primera Guerra Mundial esa cifra subió a unos sesenta y seis perfiles anuales. Antes de 1920, casi las tres cuartas partes de estos artículos presentaban a líderes políticos y empresariales ahora, más de la mitad se referían a figuras clave del entretenimiento y los deportes. El genio de F. Scott Fitzgerald fue su capacidad para cultivar su propia imagen en los medios. El genio de su personaje característico, Jay Gatsby, fue su habilidad para crear un velo de celebridad que enmascara sus verdaderos orígenes.

Pero a pesar del dinamismo de la época, los estadounidenses no abrazaron sin reservas la Era del Jazz. Si disfrutaban de su prosperidad, también temían sus consecuencias sociales. El auge del sexo prematrimonial, la entrada de mujeres en el lugar de trabajo, la ruptura de las costumbres religiosas tradicionales y la afluencia de millones de nuevos inmigrantes del sur y este de Europa dieron lugar a una fuerte reacción violenta. Así, la misma década que dio origen a Scott y Zelda Fitzgerald también fue testigo de una fuerte reacción violenta. En pueblos y ciudades de todo Estados Unidos, un Ku Klux Klan revitalizado arremetió contra los afroamericanos, los inmigrantes, los católicos y las "mujeres sueltas". Los partidarios de la prohibición aprobaron una ley restrictiva que prohibía la venta o producción de licor (a juzgar por la novela de Fitzgerald, esa prohibición tenía un efecto limitado). Los cristianos conservadores formaron iglesias fundamentalistas y buscaron restaurar a Dios a su lugar tradicional en los hogares y las escuelas. En resumen, existía una contradicción profunda y generalizada, y muchos estadounidenses la percibieron.

Fitzgerald fue un perfecto cronista de su tiempo. Fue un ávido participante y un crítico riguroso de la cultura de la prosperidad que marcó la década de 1920. En Gatsby, su alter ego, Nick Caraway, recuerda con nostalgia la América de su juventud. En la mente de Nick, el Medio Oeste encarnaba una era perdida, una época más simple antes de los teléfonos, los palacios de cine y los grandes almacenes. Partiendo en tren desde Chicago, “cuando entramos en nuestra noche de invierno y la nieve real, nuestra nieve, comenzó a extenderse a nuestro lado y centellear contra las ventanas, y las tenues luces de las pequeñas estaciones de Wisconsin se movieron, un fuerte abrazo salvaje vino de repente en el aire ". Este era "mi Medio Oeste", explica en las páginas finales de la novela, "no el trigo o las praderas o los pueblos suecos perdidos, sino los emocionantes trenes que regresaban de mi juventud, y las farolas y las campanas de los trineos en el helado oscuridad y las sombras de las coronas de acebo arrojadas por las ventanas iluminadas. Yo soy parte de eso. . . Ahora veo que, después de todo, esta ha sido una historia de Occidente: Tom y Gatsby, Daisy y Jordan y yo éramos todos occidentales, y tal vez teníamos alguna deficiencia en común que nos hizo sutilmente inadaptables a la vida oriental ".

Pero si Occidente representaba para Fitzgerald una América más vieja, estaba claro en su novela que el tren del país se movía hacia el este. En 1920, la mayoría de los estadounidenses vivía en ciudades. El mundo estaba cambiando rápidamente y se estaba volviendo moderno, y las praderas de la juventud de Nick Caraway se estaban convirtiendo lenta pero seguramente en el material de la memoria nacional.

El mundo que relata Fitzgerald se derrumbó el 29 de octubre de 1929. Ese fue el martes negro, cuando el mercado de valores colapsó. La economía en auge se fue a la quiebra. Y la era del jazz de Estados Unidos había terminado oficialmente.

En realidad, la caída del mercado de valores tuvo muy poco que ver con el inicio de la Gran Depresión. Muy pocos estadounidenses en la década de 1920 poseían acciones o valores. En realidad, la década más próspera del país se basó en un castillo de naipes. Los bajos salarios, las altas tasas de desempleo estacional, el estancamiento crónico en el sector agrícola y una distribución desesperadamente desigual de la riqueza fueron la historia más oscura que acechaba detrás de la prosperidad de la década de 1920.

Había que pagar un precio por una concentración tan desigual de las riquezas de la nación. Los buenos tiempos dependían de las buenas ventas, después de todo. Los mismos agricultores y trabajadores que impulsaron el crecimiento económico a principios de la década comprando coches nuevos y relucientes y lavadoras eléctricas habían llegado a su límite. A fines de los años veinte, cuando los anunciantes les dijeron que sus autos y lavadoras estaban desactualizados y necesitaban ser reemplazados, la clase trabajadora simplemente no podía permitirse comprar otros nuevos. Los artículos de consumo no comprados languidecían en los estantes. Las fábricas recortan su producción. Los trabajadores fueron despedidos por millones. Se acabaron los buenos tiempos.

El gran Gatsby sigue fascinando y cautivando a los estadounidenses de hoy. En una era muy parecida a la década de 1920, en la que hemos llegado a disfrutar de nuevos niveles de comodidad y conveniencia, en la que celebramos la celebridad y la opulencia, pero en la que persisten evidentes desigualdades de riqueza y privilegios.Gatsby es más relevante que nunca. "Así que seguimos avanzando", como escribió Fitzgerald, "barcos contra la corriente, llevados incesantemente al pasado".

Joshua Zeitz ha enseñado historia estadounidense en la Universidad de Harvard y la Universidad de Cambridge. El es el autor de Flapper: una loca historia de sexo, estilo, celebridades y las mujeres que hicieron moderno a Estados Unidos (2006) y Nueva York étnica blanca: judíos, católicos y la configuración de la política de posguerra (2007). Actualmente está escribiendo una biografía conjunta de John Hay y John Nicolay.


Contenido

Ubicado en la próspera Long Island de 1922, El gran Gatsby proporciona una historia social crítica de los Estados Unidos de la era de la Prohibición durante la Era del Jazz. [a] La narrativa ficticia de Fitzgerald representa plenamente ese período: conocido por su música jazz, [2] prosperidad económica, [3] cultura flapper, [4] costumbres libertinas, [5] juventud rebelde, [6] y omnipresentes bares clandestinos. Fitzgerald utiliza muchos de estos desarrollos sociales de la década de 1920 para contar su historia, desde detalles simples como caricias en automóviles hasta temas más amplios como el contrabando como fuente ilícita de la fortuna de Gatsby. [7] [8]

Fitzgerald transmite el hedonismo de la sociedad de la Era del Jazz al colocar una trama identificable dentro del contexto histórico de la era más estridente y llamativa de la historia de Estados Unidos. [3] [9] A los ojos de Fitzgerald, la era representó una época moralmente permisiva en la que los estadounidenses de todas las edades se desilusionaron con las normas sociales imperantes y se obsesionaron con la búsqueda de placer. [10] El propio Fitzgerald tenía cierta ambivalencia hacia la Era del Jazz, una época cuyos temas más tarde consideraría como un reflejo de los acontecimientos de su propia vida. [11]

El gran Gatsby refleja varios eventos en la juventud de Fitzgerald. [12] Era un joven del Medio Oeste de Minnesota. Como el narrador de la novela que fue a Yale, fue educado en una escuela de la Ivy League, Princeton. [13] Allí, Fitzgerald, de 19 años, conoció a Ginevra King, una socialité de 16 años de la que se enamoró profundamente. [14] [15] Aunque Ginevra estaba locamente enamorada de él, [16] su familia de clase alta desalentó abiertamente su noviazgo con su hija debido a su estatus de clase baja, y su padre supuestamente le dijo que "los niños pobres no deberían" No pienses en casarme con chicas ricas ". [17]

Rechazado por la familia de Ginevra como pretendiente debido a su falta de perspectivas financieras, un Fitzgerald suicida se alistó en el ejército de los Estados Unidos en medio de la Primera Guerra Mundial y fue comisionado como segundo teniente. [18] [19] Mientras esperaba el despliegue en el frente occidental donde esperaba morir en combate, [19] fue destinado en Camp Sheridan en Montgomery, Alabama, donde conoció a Zelda Sayre, una vivaz belleza sureña de 17 años. . [20] Después de enterarse de que Ginevra se había casado con el rico empresario de Chicago William "Bill" Mitchell, Fitzgerald le pidió a Zelda que se casara con él. [21] Zelda estuvo de acuerdo, pero pospuso su matrimonio hasta que él tuviera éxito financiero. [22] [23] Fitzgerald es similar a Jay Gatsby en que se comprometió mientras era un oficial militar estacionado lejos de casa y luego buscó riqueza para casarse con ella. [24] [25]

Después de su éxito como escritor de cuentos y como novelista, Fitzgerald se casó con Zelda en la ciudad de Nueva York, y la pareja de recién casados ​​pronto se mudó a Long Island. [26] A pesar de disfrutar del ambiente exclusivo de Long Island, Fitzgerald desaprobaba silenciosamente las fiestas extravagantes, [27] y las personas ricas con las que se encontraba a menudo lo decepcionaban. [28] Mientras se esforzaba por emular a los ricos, descubrió que su estilo de vida privilegiado era moralmente inquietante. [29] [30] Aunque Fitzgerald, como Gatsby, siempre había admirado a los ricos, sin embargo, tenía un resentimiento latente hacia ellos. [30]

En la primavera de 1922, Nick Carraway, un ex alumno de Yale del Medio Oeste y un veterano de la Primera Guerra Mundial, viaja a la ciudad de Nueva York para obtener un empleo como vendedor de bonos. Alquila un bungalow en el pueblo de West Egg en Long Island, junto a una lujosa finca habitada por Jay Gatsby, un enigmático multimillonario que organiza veladas deslumbrantes pero que no participa en ellas.

Una noche, Nick cena con un pariente lejano, Daisy Buchanan, en la elegante ciudad de East Egg. Daisy está casada con Tom Buchanan, anteriormente una estrella del fútbol de Yale a quien Nick conoció durante sus días universitarios. La pareja se mudó recientemente de Chicago a una mansión directamente al otro lado de la bahía de la finca de Gatsby. Allí, Nick se encuentra con Jordan Baker, un insolente flapper y campeón de golf que es amigo de la infancia de Daisy. Jordan le confía a Nick que Tom tiene una amante, Myrtle Wilson, quien descaradamente lo llama por teléfono a su casa y vive en el "valle de las cenizas", un enorme basurero. [31] Esa noche, Nick ve a Gatsby parado solo en su césped, mirando una luz verde al otro lado de la bahía.

Días después, Nick acompaña a regañadientes a un Tom borracho y agitado a la ciudad de Nueva York en tren. En el camino, se detienen en un garaje habitado por el mecánico George Wilson y su esposa Myrtle. Myrtle se une a ellos y el trío se dirige a un pequeño apartamento de Nueva York que Tom ha alquilado para citas con ella. Llegan los invitados y se produce una fiesta que termina con Tom abofeteando a Myrtle y rompiéndole la nariz después de que ella menciona a Daisy.

Una mañana, Nick recibe una invitación formal a una fiesta en la mansión de Gatsby. Una vez allí, Nick se avergüenza de no reconocer a nadie y comienza a beber en exceso hasta que se encuentra con Jordan. Mientras charla con ella, se le acerca un hombre que se presenta como Jay Gatsby e insiste en que tanto él como Nick sirvieron en la 3ª División de Infantería durante la guerra. Gatsby intenta congraciarse con Nick y cuando Nick deja la fiesta, se da cuenta de que Gatsby lo está mirando.

A finales de julio, Nick y Gatsby almuerzan en un bar clandestino. Gatsby intenta impresionar a Nick con historias sobre su heroísmo de guerra y sus días en Oxford. Luego, Nick se encuentra con Jordan en el Plaza Hotel. Jordan revela que Gatsby y Daisy se conocieron alrededor de 1917 cuando Gatsby era oficial de las Fuerzas Expedicionarias Estadounidenses. Se enamoraron, pero cuando Gatsby fue enviado al extranjero, Daisy se casó con Tom a regañadientes. Gatsby espera que su nueva riqueza y sus deslumbrantes fiestas hagan que Daisy lo reconsidere. Gatsby usa a Nick para organizar una reunión con Daisy, y los dos se embarcan en una aventura sexual.

En septiembre, Tom descubre la aventura cuando Daisy se dirige descuidadamente a Gatsby con una intimidad descarada frente a él. Más tarde, en una suite del Hotel Plaza, Gatsby y Tom discuten sobre el asunto. Gatsby insiste en que Daisy declare que nunca amó a Tom. Daisy dice que ama a Tom y Gatsby, lo que los enfurece a ambos. Tom revela que Gatsby es un estafador cuyo dinero proviene del contrabando de alcohol. Al escuchar esto, Daisy decide quedarse con Tom. Tom le dice desdeñosamente a Gatsby que la lleve a casa, sabiendo que Daisy nunca lo dejará.

Al regresar a East Egg, Gatsby y Daisy pasan por el garaje de Wilson y su auto golpea accidentalmente a Myrtle, matándola instantáneamente. Gatsby le revela a Nick que Daisy conducía el auto, pero que él tiene la intención de asumir la culpa del accidente para protegerla. Nick insta a Gatsby a huir para evitar el enjuiciamiento, pero él se niega. Después de que Tom le dice a George que Gatsby es dueño del auto que golpeó a Myrtle, George, angustiado, asume que el dueño del vehículo debe ser el amante de Myrtle. George le dispara fatalmente a Gatsby en la piscina de su mansión y luego se suicida.

Varios días después del asesinato de Gatsby, su padre Henry Gatz llega para el funeral con escasa asistencia. Después de la muerte de Gatsby, Nick llega a odiar a Nueva York y decide que Gatsby, Daisy, Tom y él eran occidentales inadecuados para la vida oriental. Nick se encuentra con Tom e inicialmente se niega a darle la mano. Tom admite que fue él quien le dijo a George que Gatsby era el dueño del vehículo que mató a Myrtle. Antes de regresar al Medio Oeste, Nick regresa a la mansión de Gatsby y mira a través de la bahía la luz verde que emana del final del muelle de Daisy.

  • Nick Carraway—Un alumno de la Universidad de Yale del Medio Oeste, un veterano de la Primera Guerra Mundial y un residente recién llegado de West Egg, de 29 años (más tarde 30) que sirve como narrador en primera persona. Es el vecino de al lado de Gatsby y un vendedor de bonos. Carraway es tranquilo y algo optimista, aunque esta última cualidad se desvanece a medida que avanza la novela. En última instancia, se desespera por la decadencia y la indiferencia de la vida oriental y regresa a Occidente. [32]
  • Jay Gatsby (originalmente James "Jimmy" Gatz): Un millonario joven y misterioso con conexiones comerciales turbias (que luego se reveló que era un contrabandista), originario de Dakota del Norte. Durante la Primera Guerra Mundial, cuando era un joven oficial militar destinado en el Campamento Taylor del Ejército de los Estados Unidos en Louisville, Kentucky, Gatsby se encontró con el amor de su vida, la debutante Daisy Buchanan. Más tarde, después de la guerra, estudió brevemente en el Trinity College de Oxford, en Inglaterra. [33] Según la esposa de Fitzgerald, Zelda, él basó en parte a Gatsby en su enigmático vecino de Long Island, Max Gerlach. [34] Un veterano militar, Gerlach se convirtió en un millonario hecho a sí mismo debido a sus esfuerzos de contrabando y le gustaba usar la frase "viejo deporte" en sus cartas a Fitzgerald. [35]
  • Daisy Buchanan—Una joven debutante y socialité superficial, ensimismada y de Louisville, Kentucky, identificada como flapper. [36] Ella es la prima segunda de Nick, una vez removida, y la esposa de Tom Buchanan. Antes de casarse con Tom, Daisy tuvo una relación romántica con Gatsby. Su elección entre Gatsby y Tom es uno de los conflictos centrales de la novela. El romance y la obsesión de toda la vida de Fitzgerald con Ginevra King inspiraron al personaje de Daisy. [37] [14] [38]
  • Thomas "Tom" Buchanan—Un millonario que vive en East Egg y el marido de Daisy. Tom es un hombre imponente de complexión musculosa con una voz profunda y un comportamiento arrogante. Fue una estrella del fútbol en Yale y es un supremacista blanco. [39] Entre otros modelos literarios, [b] Buchanan tiene ciertos paralelismos con William "Bill" Mitchell, el hombre de negocios de Chicago que se casó con Ginevra King. [41] Buchanan y Mitchell eran habitantes de Chicago interesados ​​en el polo. [41] Además, como el padre de Ginevra, Charles King, a quien Fitzgerald resentía, Buchanan es un hombre imperioso de Yale y jugador de polo de Lake Forest, Illinois. [42]
  • Jordan Baker—Un golfista aficionado con una vena sarcástica y una actitud distante, y amigo de Daisy desde hace mucho tiempo. Ella es la novia de Nick Carraway durante la mayor parte de la novela, aunque se separan hacia el final. Tiene una reputación turbia debido a los rumores de que había hecho trampa en un torneo, lo que dañó su reputación tanto social como golfista. Fitzgerald basó a Jordan en la golfista Edith Cummings, amiga de Ginevra King, aunque nunca se sospechó que Cummings hiciera trampa. [43] Su nombre es un juego con las dos populares marcas de automóviles, Jordan Motor Car Company y Baker Motor Vehicle, ambas de Cleveland, Ohio, [44] en alusión a la reputación "rápida" de Jordan y la nueva libertad presentada a las mujeres estadounidenses. , especialmente flappers, en la década de 1920. [45] [46] [47]
  • George B. Wilson—Mecánico y dueño de un garaje. Su esposa, Myrtle Wilson, y Tom Buchanan, quien lo describe como "tan tonto que no sabe que está vivo", no les gusta. Al final de la novela, George mata a Gatsby, creyendo erróneamente que había estado conduciendo el coche que mató a Myrtle, y luego se suicida.
  • Myrtle Wilson—La esposa de George y la amante de Tom Buchanan. Myrtle, que posee una vitalidad feroz, está desesperada por encontrar refugio de su decepcionante matrimonio. Ella es asesinada accidentalmente por el auto de Gatsby, ya que piensa erróneamente que Tom todavía lo conduce y corre tras él.
  • Meyer Wolfsheim[c] —un amigo judío y mentor de Gatsby, descrito como un jugador que arregló la Serie Mundial de 1919. Wolfsheim aparece solo dos veces en la novela, la segunda vez que se niega a asistir al funeral de Gatsby. Es una alusión a Arnold Rothstein, un notorio capo del crimen de Nueva York a quien Fitzgerald conoció una vez en circunstancias indeterminadas. [50] Rothstein fue acusado de arreglar partidos en el escándalo de los Black Sox que contaminó la Serie Mundial de 1919. [51]

Fitzgerald comenzó a esbozar su tercera novela en junio de 1922. [8] Anhelaba producir una obra exquisita que fuera hermosa y con patrones intrincados, [52] pero la producción problemática de su obra de teatro El vegetal interrumpió repetidamente su progreso. [53] La obra fracasó y Fitzgerald escribió artículos en revistas ese invierno para pagar las deudas contraídas por su producción. [54] Consideraba que estas historias no tenían ningún valor, [53] aunque se incluyó entre ellas "Sueños de invierno", que Fitzgerald describió como su primer intento de la idea de Gatsby. [55]

En octubre de 1922, después del nacimiento de su único hijo, Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald, los Fitzgerald se mudaron a Great Neck, Nueva York, en Long Island. [56] Entre sus vecinos de Great Neck había personajes recientemente ricos como el escritor Ring Lardner, el actor Lew Fields y el comediante Ed Wynn. [8] Todas estas cifras se consideraron Nuevos ricos (nuevos ricos), a diferencia de los que vinieron de Manhasset Neck, que se encontraba al otro lado de la bahía de Great Neck, lugares que fueron el hogar de muchas de las familias establecidas más ricas de Nueva York. [57] Esta yuxtaposición de la vida real le dio a Fitzgerald su idea de "West Egg" y "East Egg". En la novela, Great Neck (Kings Point) se convirtió en la península de "dinero nuevo" de West Egg y Port Washington (Sands Point) se convirtió en el East Egg de "dinero viejo". [57] Varias mansiones de Gold Coast en el área sirvieron de inspiración para la finca de Gatsby, incluyendo Land's End, [58] Oheka Castle, [59] y las Beacon Towers, demolidas desde entonces. [60]

Mientras vivía en Long Island, el enigmático vecino de los Fitzgerald [d] era Max Gerlach. [34] [62] Purportedly born in America to a German immigrant family, [e] Gerlach had been a major in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, and he later became a gentleman bootlegger who lived like a millionaire in New York. [64] Flaunting his new wealth, [f] Gerlach threw lavish parties, [66] never wore the same shirt twice, [67] used the phrase "old sport", [68] and fostered myths about himself including that he was a relation of the German Kaiser. [69] These details about Gerlach inspired Fitzgerald in his creation of Jay Gatsby. [70]

During this same time period, the daily newspapers sensationalized the Hall–Mills murder case over many months, and the highly publicized case likely influenced the plot of Fitzgerald's novel. [71] The case involved the double-murder of a man and his lover on September 14, 1922, mere weeks before Fitzgerald arrived in Great Neck. Scholars have speculated that Fitzgerald based certain aspects of the ending of The Great Gatsby and various characterizations on this factual incident. [72]

Inspired by the Halls–Mills case, the mysterious persona of Gerlach and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island, Fitzgerald had written 18,000 words for his novel by mid-1923 but discarded most of his new story as a false start. [73] Some of this early draft resurfaced in the 1924 short story "Absolution". [74] In earlier drafts, [g] Daisy was originally named Ada and Nick was Dud, [76] and the two characters had shared a previous romance prior to their reunion on Long Island. [77] These earlier drafts were written from the viewpoint of an omniscient narrator as opposed to Nick's perspective. [78] A key difference in earlier drafts is a less complete failure of Gatsby's dream. [79] Another difference is that the argument between Tom Buchanan and Gatsby is more balanced, although Daisy still returns to Tom. [79]

Work on The Great Gatsby resumed in earnest in April 1924. [80] Fitzgerald decided to depart from the writing process of his previous novels and told Perkins that he was intent on creating an artistic achievement. [81] He wished to eschew the realism of his previous two novels and to compose a creative work of sustained imagination. [82] To this end, he consciously imitated the literary styles of Joseph Conrad and Willa Cather. [83] He was particularly influenced by Cather's 1923 work, A Lost Lady, and he later wrote a letter to Cather apologizing for any unintentional plagiarism. [84] Soon after this burst of effort, work slowed while the Fitzgeralds moved to the French Riviera, where a marital crisis [h] soon developed. [86]

Despite an ongoing marital crisis, Fitzgerald continued to write steadily and submitted a near-final version of the manuscript to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, on October 27. [87] Perkins informed him in a November letter that Gatsby was too vague as a character and that his wealth and business, respectively, needed a convincing explanation. [88] Fitzgerald thanked Perkins for his detailed criticisms and claimed that such feedback would enable him to perfect the manuscript. [89] Having relocated with his wife to Rome, [90] Fitzgerald made revisions to the manuscript throughout the winter. [88]

Content after a few rounds of revision, Fitzgerald submitted the final version in February 1925. [91] Fitzgerald's alterations included extensive revisions of the sixth and eighth chapters. [92] He declined an offer of $10,000 for the serial rights to the book so that it could be published sooner. [93] He received a $3,939 advance in 1923 and would receive $1,981.25 upon publication. [94]

Alternative titles Edit

Fitzgerald had difficulty choosing a title for his novel and entertained many choices before reluctantly deciding on The Great Gatsby, [95] a title inspired by Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes. [96] Previously he had shifted between Among Ash Heaps and Millionaires, [95] Trimalchio, [95] Trimalchio in West Egg, [97] On the Road to West Egg, [97] Under the Red, White, and Blue, [95] The Gold-Hatted Gatsby, [97] and The High-Bouncing Lover. [97] The titles The Gold-Hatted Gatsby y The High-Bouncing Lover came from Fitzgerald's epigraph for the novel, one which he wrote himself under the pen name of Thomas Parke D'Invilliers. [98]

Fitzgerald initially preferred titles referencing Trimalchio, [i] the crude upstart in Petronius's Satyricon, and even refers to Gatsby as Trimalchio once in the novel. [100] Unlike Gatsby's spectacular parties, Trimalchio participated in the orgies he hosted but, according to literary critic Tony Tanner, there are subtle similarities between the two characters. [101] By November 1924, Fitzgerald wrote to Perkins that he had settled upon the title of Trimalchio in West Egg. [102]

Disliking Fitzgerald's chosen title of Trimalchio in West Egg, editor Max Perkins persuaded him that the reference was too obscure and that people would be unable to pronounce it. [103] Zelda and Perkins both expressed their preference for The Great Gatsby, and the next month Fitzgerald agreed. [104] A month before publication, after a final review of the proofs, he asked if it would be possible to re-title it Trimalchio o Gold-Hatted Gatsby, but Perkins advised against it. On March 19, 1925, [105] Fitzgerald expressed enthusiasm for the title Under the Red, White, and Blue, but it was too late to change it at that stage. [106] [107] The novel was published as The Great Gatsby on April 10, 1925. [108] Fitzgerald believed the book's final title to be merely acceptable and often expressed his ambivalence with the name. [109]

Cover art Edit

The cover of the first printing of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature. [110] It depicts disembodied eyes and a mouth over a blue skyline, with images of naked women reflected in the irises. A little-known Barcelonan painter named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the cover while Fitzgerald was writing the work. [110] The cover was completed before the novel, and Fitzgerald was so enamored with it he told Max Perkins that he had included its imagery in the novel. [110] Fitzgerald's remarks about incorporating the painting into the novel led to the interpretation that the eyes are reminiscent of those of fictional optometrist T. J. Eckleburg depicted on a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson's auto repair shop. [111] Author Ernest Hemingway supported this latter interpretation and claimed that Fitzgerald had told him the cover referred to a billboard in the valley of the ashes. [112] Although this passage has some resemblance to the painting, a closer explanation can be found in Fitzgerald's explicit description of Daisy Buchanan as the "girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs". [110]

Contemporary reviews Edit

Charles Scribner's Sons published The Great Gatsby on April 10, 1925. [113] Fitzgerald cabled Perkins the day after publication to monitor reviews: "Any news?" [113] "Sales situation doubtful [but] excellent reviews", read a telegram from Perkins on April 20. [114] Fitzgerald responded on April 24, saying the cable dispirited him, closing the letter with "Yours in great depression". [114] Fitzgerald soon received letters from contemporaries Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, and poet T. S. Eliot praising the novel. [115] Although gratified by such correspondence, Fitzgerald sought public acclaim from professional critics. [116]

The Great Gatsby received generally favorable reviews from literary critics of the day. [117] The most laudatory review was by Edwin Clark of Los New York Times, who felt the novel was a mystical and glamorous tale of the Jazz Age. [118] Similarly, Lillian C. Ford of the Los Angeles Times hailed the novel as a revelatory work of art that "leaves the reader in a mood of chastened wonder". [119] The New York Post described Fitzgerald's prose style as scintillating and genuinely brilliant. [120] The New York Herald Tribune was less impressed, referring to The Great Gatsby as "a literary lemon meringue" that nonetheless "contains some of the nicest little touches of contemporary observation you could imagine—so light, so delicate, so sharp". [121] In The Chicago Daily Tribune, H. L. Mencken judged the work's plot to be highly improbable, while praising the elegance of the writing and the "careful and brilliant finish". [122]

Several reviewers felt the novel left much to be desired following Fitzgerald's previous works and criticized him accordingly. Harvey Eagleton of Las noticias matutinas de Dallas predicted the novel signaled the end of Fitzgerald's artistic success. [123] Ralph Coghlan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dismissed the work as an inconsequential performance by a once-promising author who had grown bored and cynical. [124] Ruth Snyder of New York Evening World eviscerated the book's style as painfully forced and declared the editors of her newspaper were "quite convinced after reading The Great Gatsby that Mr. Fitzgerald is not one of the great American writers of today". [125] John McClure of The Times-Picayune insisted the plot was implausible and the book itself seemed raw in its construction. [126]

After reading these reviews, Fitzgerald believed that many critics misunderstood the novel. [81] He lamented that "of all the reviews, even the most enthusiastic, not one had the slightest idea what the book was about". [127] In particular, Fitzgerald resented criticisms of the novel's plot as implausible since he had never intended for the story to be realistic. [81] Instead, he crafted the work to be a romanticized depiction that was largely scenic and symbolic. [128] According to his friend John Peale Bishop, Fitzgerald further resented the fact that critics failed to perceive the many parallels between the author's life and the character of Jay Gatsby in particular, that both created a mythical version of themselves and attempted to live up to this legend. [129] Dispirited by critics failing to understand the novel, Fitzgerald remained hopeful that the novel would at least be a commercial success, perhaps selling as many as 75,000 copies. [130]

To Fitzgerald's great disappointment, Gatsby was a commercial failure in comparison with his previous efforts, This Side of Paradise (1920) and The Beautiful and Damned (1922). By October, the book had sold fewer than 20,000 copies after its original release. [53] Although the novel went through two initial printings, many copies remained unsold years later. [131] Fitzgerald attributed the poor sales to the fact that women tended to be the primary audience for novels during this time, and Gatsby did not contain an admirable female character. [131] According to his ledger, he earned only $2,000 from the book. [132] Although Owen Davis' 1926 stage adaptation and the Paramount-issued silent film version brought in money for the author, Fitzgerald lamented the novel fell far short of the success he had hoped for and would not bring him recognition as a serious novelist in the public eye. [53] With the onset of the Great Depression, The Great Gatsby was regarded as little more than a nostalgic period piece. [53] By the time Fitzgerald died in 1940, the novel had fallen into near obscurity. [133]

Revival and reassessment Edit

In 1940, Fitzgerald suffered a third and fatal heart attack and died believing his work forgotten. [134] His obituary in Los New York Times hailed him as a brilliant novelist and cited Gatsby as his greatest work. [135] In the wake of Fitzgerald's death, a strong appreciation for the book gradually developed in writers' circles. Future authors Budd Schulberg and Edward Newhouse were deeply affected by it, and John O'Hara acknowledged its influence on his work. [136] By the time that Gatsby was republished in Edmund Wilson's edition of The Last Tycoon in 1941, the prevailing opinion in writers' circles deemed the novel to be an enduring work of fiction. [53]

In the spring of 1942, mere months after the United States' entrance into World War II, an association of publishing executives created the Council on Books in Wartime with the stated purpose of distributing paperback Armed Services Editions books to combat troops. The Great Gatsby was one of them. [137] Within the next several years, 155,000 copies of Gatsby were distributed to U.S. soldiers overseas, [138] and the book proved popular among beleaguered troops, according to the Publicación del sábado por la noche ' s contemporary report. [139]

By 1944, a full-scale Fitzgerald revival had suddenly occurred. [140] Full-length scholarly articles on Fitzgerald's works were being published in periodicals and, by the following year, the earlier consensus among professional critics that The Great Gatsby was merely a sensational story or a nostalgic period piece had effectively vanished. [141] The tireless promotional efforts of literary critic Edmund Wilson, who was Fitzgerald's Princeton classmate and his close friend, led this belated Fitzgerald revival. [142] In 1951, three years after Zelda's death in a hospital fire, Professor Arthur Mizener of Cornell University published The Far Side of Paradise, the first biography of Fitzgerald. [143] Mizener's best-selling biography emphasized The Great Gatsby ' s positive reception by literary critics which may have further influenced public opinion and renewed interest in it. [144]

By 1960—thirty-five years after the novel's original publication—the book was steadily selling 50,000 copies per year. Renewed interest in it led Los New York Times editorialist Mizener to proclaim the novel was a masterwork of 20th-century American literature. [53] By 1974, The Great Gatsby had attained its status as a literary masterwork and was deemed a contender for the title of the "Great American Novel". [145] By the mid-2000s, many literary critics considered The Great Gatsby to be one of the greatest novels ever written, [146] and the work was part of the assigned curricula in the near majority of U.S. high schools. [133] As of early 2020, The Great Gatsby had sold almost 30 million copies worldwide and continues to sell an additional 500,000 copies annually. [147] The work is Scribner's most popular title in 2013, the e-book alone sold 185,000 copies. [148] The novel's U.S. copyright expired on January 1, 2021, when all works published in 1925 entered the public domain. [149]

Major themes Edit

The American dream Edit

Following the novel's revival, later critical writings on The Great Gatsby focused on Fitzgerald's disillusionment with the American dream in the hedonistic Jazz Age, [150] a name for the era which Fitzgerald claimed to have coined. [151] In 1970, scholar Roger L. Pearson asserted that Fitzgerald's work—more so than other twentieth century novels—is especially linked with this conceptualization of the American dream. [152] Pearson traced the literary origins of this dream to Colonial America. The dream is the belief that every individual, regardless of their origins, may seek and achieve their desired goals, "be they political, monetary, or social. It is the literary expression of the concept of America: The land of opportunity". [152]

However, Pearson noted that Fitzgerald's particular treatment of this theme is devoid of the discernible optimism in the writings of earlier American authors. [152] He suggests Gatsby serves as a false prophet of the American dream, [153] and pursuing the dream only results in dissatisfaction for those who chase it, owing to its unattainability. [153] In this analytical context, the green light emanating across the Long Island Sound from Gatsby's house is frequently interpreted as a symbol of Gatsby's unrealizable goal to win Daisy and, consequently, to achieve the American dream. [133] [154]

Class permanence Edit

Scholars and writers commonly ascribe Gatsby's inability to achieve the American dream to entrenched class disparities in American society. [155] The novel underscores the limits of the American lower class to transcend their station of birth. [106] Scholar Sarah Churchwell contends that Fitzgerald's novel is a tale of class warfare in a status-obsessed country that refuses to acknowledge publicly it even has a class system. [106]

Although scholars posit different explanations for the continuation of class differences in the United States, there is a consensus regarding the novel's message in conveying its underlying permanence. [156] Although Gatsby ' s fundamental conflict occurs between entrenched sources of socio-economic power and upstarts like Gatsby who threaten their interests, [157] Fitzgerald's novel shows that a class permanence persists despite the country's capitalist economy that prizes innovation and adaptability. [157] Dianne Bechtel argues Fitzgerald plotted the novel to illustrate that class transcends wealth in America. Even if the poorer Americans become rich, they remain inferior to those Americans with "old money". [158] Consequently, Gatsby and other characters in the novel are trapped in a rigid American class system. [159]

Gender relations Edit

Besides exploring the difficulties of achieving the American dream, The Great Gatsby explores societal gender expectations during the Jazz Age. [160] The character of Daisy Buchanan has been identified specifically as personifying the emerging cultural archetype of the flapper. [36] Flappers were typically young, modern women who bobbed their hair and wore short skirts. [161] [162] They also drank alcohol and had premarital sex. [163] [7]

Despite the newfound societal freedoms attained by flappers in the 1920s, [164] Fitzgerald's work critically examines the continued limitations upon women's agency during this period. [165] In this context, although early critics viewed the character of Daisy to be a "monster of bitchery", [166] later scholars such as Leland S. Person Jr. asserted that Daisy's character exemplifies the marginalization of women in the elite social milieu that Fitzgerald depicts. [167]

Writing in 1978, Person noted Daisy is more of a hapless victim than a manipulative victimizer. [168] She is the target first of Tom's callous domination and next of Gatsby's dehumanizing adoration. [168] She involuntarily becomes the holy grail at the center of Gatsby's unrealistic quest to be steadfast to a youthful concept of himself. [168] The ensuing contest of wills between Tom and Gatsby reduces Daisy to a trophy wife whose sole existence is to augment her possessor's socio-economic success. [169]

As an upper-class white woman living in East Egg during this time period, Daisy must adhere to societal expectations and gender norms such as actively fulfilling the roles of dutiful wife, nurturing mother, and charming socialite. [165] Many of Daisy's choices—ultimately culminating in the tragedy of the ending and misery for all those involved—can be partly attributed to her prescribed role as a "beautiful little fool" [j] who is reliant on her husband for financial and societal security. [166] Her decision to remain with her husband, despite her feelings for Gatsby, is because of the security that her marriage to Tom Buchanan provides. [166]

Race and displacement Edit

Many scholars have analyzed the novel's treatment of race and displacement in particular, the perceived threat posed by newer immigrants to older Americans, triggering concerns over a loss of socio-economic status. [171] In one instance, Tom Buchanan—the novel's antagonist—claims that he, Nick, and Jordan are racially superior Nordics. Tom decries immigration and advocates white supremacy. [172] A fictional book alluded to by Tom, Goddard's The Rise of the Colored Empires, is a parody by Fitzgerald of Lothrop Stoddard's The Rising Tide of Color, a 1920s bestseller. [173] Stoddard warned immigration would alter America's racial composition and destroy the country. [174]

Analyzing these elements, literary theorist Walter Benn Michaels contends that Fitzgerald's novel reflects a historical period in American literature characterized by fears over the influx of Southern and Eastern European immigrants whose "otherness" challenged Americans' sense of national identity. [175] Such anxieties were more salient in national discourse than the societal consequences of World War I, [176] [177] and the defining question of the period was who constituted "a real American". [178]

In this context of immigration and displacement, Tom's hostility towards Gatsby, who is the embodiment of "latest America", [179] has been interpreted as partly embodying status anxieties of the time involving anti-immigrant sentiment. [179] Gatsby—whom Tom belittles as "Mr. Nobody from Nowhere" [180] —functions as a cipher because of his obscure origins, his unclear religio-ethnic identity and his indeterminate class status. [181] Although his ethnicity is vague, his last name Gatz and his father's adherence to the Lutheran religion indicate his family are recent German immigrants. [182] This would preclude them from the coveted status of Old Stock Americans. [182] Consequently, Gatsby's socio-economic ascent is deemed a threat not only due to his status as Nuevos ricos, but because he is perceived as an outsider. [183]

Because of such themes, The Great Gatsby arguably captures the perennial American experience as it is a story about change and those who resist it, whether the change comes in the form of a new wave of immigrants, the Nuevos ricos, or successful minorities. [157] As Americans living in the 1920s to the present are defined by their fluctuating economic and social circumstances, contemporary readers can relate to Gatsby, which has contributed to the novel's enduring popularity. [157]

Technology and environment Edit

Technological and environmental criticisms of Gatsby seek to place the novel and its characters in a broader historical context. [184] In 1964, Leo Marx argued in The Machine in the Garden that Fitzgerald's work evinces a tension between a complex pastoral ideal of a bygone America and the societal transformations caused by industrialization and machine technology. [185] Specifically, the valley of the ashes represents a man-made wasteland which is a byproduct of the industrialization that has made Gatsby's booming lifestyle, including his automobile, possible. [186] Marx argues that Fitzgerald, via Nick, expresses a pastoral longing typical of other 1920s American writers like William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. [187] Although such writers cherish the pastoral ideal, they accept technological progress has deprived this ideal of nearly all meaning. [188] In this context, Nick's repudiation of the East represents a futile attempt to withdraw into nature. [188] Yet, as Fitzgerald's work shows, any technological demarcation between East and West has vanished, and one cannot escape into a pastoral past. [188]

In more recent years, scholars have argued that the voracious pursuit of wealth as criticized in Fitzgerald's novel offers a warning about the perils of environmental destruction in pursuit of self-interest. [189] According to Kyle Keeler, Gatsby's quest for greater status manifests as self-centered, anthropocentric resource acquisition. [189] Inspired by Dan Cody's predatory mining practices, Gatsbys participates in extensive deforestation amid World War I and then undertakes bootlegging activities reliant upon exploiting South American agriculture. [189] Gatsby conveniently ignores the wasteful devastation of the valley of ashes to pursue a consumerist lifestyle and exacerbates the wealth gap that became increasingly salient in 1920s America. [189] For these reasons, Keeler argues that—while Gatsby's socioeconomic ascent and self-transformation depend upon these very factors—each one is nonetheless partially responsible for the ongoing ecological crisis. [189]

Antisemitism Edit

The Great Gatsby has been accused of displaying antisemitism through the use of Jewish stereotypes. [190] The book describes Meyer Wolfsheim, [c] a character based on real-life Jewish gambler Arnold Rothstein, [191] as "a small, flat-nosed Jew", with "tiny eyes" and "two fine growths of hair" in his nostrils. [192] Fitzgerald describes his nose as "expressive", "tragic", and able to "flash . indignantly". [192] A corrupt profiteer who assisted Gatsby's bootlegging operations and manipulated the World Series, Wolfsheim has been interpreted as representing the Jewish miser stereotype. Richard Levy, author of Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, claims that Wolfsheim serves to link Jewishness with corruption. [192]

In a 1947 article for Comentario, Milton Hindus, an assistant professor of humanities at the University of Chicago, stated that while he believed the book was a superb literary achievement, Wolfsheim was its most abrasive character, and the work contains an antisemitic undertone. [193] However, Hindus argued the Jewish stereotypes displayed by Wolfsheim were typical of the time when the novel was written and set and that its antisemitism was of the "habitual, customary, 'harmless,' unpolitical variety". [194]

A 2015 article by essayist Arthur Krystal agreed with Hindus' assessment that Fitzgerald's use of Jewish caricatures was not driven by malice and merely reflected commonly held beliefs of his time. He notes the accounts of Frances Kroll, a Jewish woman and secretary to Fitzgerald, who claimed that Fitzgerald was hurt by accusations of antisemitism and responded to critiques of Wolfsheim by claiming he merely "fulfilled a function in the story and had nothing to do with race or religion". [190]

Stage Edit

Gatsby has been adapted for the stage multiple times since its publication. The first known stage adaptation was by American dramatist Owen Davis, [195] which subsequently became the 1926 film version. The play, directed by George Cukor, opened on Broadway on February 2, 1926, and had 112 curtain calls. A successful tour later in the year included performances in Chicago, August 1 through October 2. [196] More recently, The New York Metropolitan Opera commissioned John Harbison to compose an operatic treatment of the novel to commemorate the 25th anniversary of James Levine's debut. The work, called The Great Gatsby, premiered on December 20, 1999. [197] In July 2006, Simon Levy's stage adaptation, directed by David Esbjornson, premiered at the Guthrie Theater to commemorate the opening of its new theater. [198] In 2010, critic Ben Brantley of Los New York Times highly praised the debut of Gatz, an Off-Broadway production by Elevator Repair Service. [199] The novel has been revised for ballet performances. In 2009, BalletMet premiered a version at the Capitol Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. [200] In 2010, The Washington Ballet premiered a version at the Kennedy Center. The show received an encore run the following year. [201]

Cine y televisión Editar

The first movie version of the novel debuted in 1926. Itself a version of Owen Davis's Broadway play, it was directed by Herbert Brenon and starred Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson and William Powell. It is a famous example of a lost film. Reviews suggest it may have been the most faithful adaptation of the novel, but a trailer of the film at the National Archives is all that is known to exist. [202] Reportedly, Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda loathed the silent version. Zelda wrote to an acquaintance that the film was "rotten". She and Scott left the cinema midway through the film. [203]

Following the 1926 movie was 1949's The Great Gatsby, directed by Elliott Nugent and starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field and Macdonald Carey. [204] Twenty-five years later in 1974, The Great Gatsby appeared onscreen again. It was directed by Jack Clayton and starred Robert Redford as Gatsby, Mia Farrow as Daisy, and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway. [204] Most recently, The Great Gatsby was directed by Baz Luhrmann in 2013 and starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Tobey Maguire as Nick. [203]

Gatsby has been recast multiple times as a short-form television movie. The first was in 1955 as an NBC episode for Robert Montgomery Presents starring Robert Montgomery, Phyllis Kirk, and Lee Bowman. The episode was directed by Alvin Sapinsley. [205] In 1958, CBS filmed another adaptation as an episode of Playhouse 90, also titled The Great Gatsby, which was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starred Robert Ryan, Jeanne Crain and Rod Taylor. [206] Most recently, the novel was adapted as an A&E movie in 2000. The Great Gatsby was directed by Robert Markowitz and starred Toby Stephens as Gatsby, Mira Sorvino as Daisy, and Paul Rudd as Nick. [207] [206]

Other media Edit

The novel has been adapted for radio many times. The first was the 1950s hour-long adaptation for CBS' Family Hour of Stars starring Kirk Douglas as Gatsby. [208] The novel was read aloud by the BBC World Service in ten parts in 2008. In a 2012 BBC Radio 4 broadcast, The Great Gatsby took the form of a Classic Serial dramatization. It was created by dramatist Robert Forrest. [209] [210] In 2010, Oberon Media released a casual hidden object game called Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby, [211] [212] in 2011, developer Charlie Hoey and editor Pete Smith created an 8-bit-style online game of The Great Gatsby llamado The Great Gatsby for NES, [213] [214] and in 2013, Pizarra released a short symbolic adaptation called The Great Gatsby: The Video Game. [215]


New York and Europe in the Jazz Age

While stationed in Alabama, Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre, the daughter of a state Supreme Court justice and a Montgomery socialite. They fell in love and became engaged, but she broke it off, worried that he would be unable to support them financially. Fitzgerald revised his first novel, which became This Side of Paradise it sold in 1919 and was published in 1920, becoming a quick success. As a direct result, he and Zelda were able to resume their engagement and were married that same year in New York City at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Their only daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald (known as “Scottie”) was born in October 1921.

The Fitzgeralds became staples of New York society, as well as the American expatriate community in Paris. Fitzgerald formed a close friendship with Ernest Hemingway, but they came into conflict over the subject of Zelda, who Hemingway openly hated and believed was holding Fitzgerald’s career back. During this time, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories, since only his first novel was a financial success during his lifetime. El escribio The Great Gatsby in 1925, but although it’s regarded as his masterpiece now, it was not a success until after his death. Much of his writing was tied to the “Lost Generation,” a phrase coined to describe the disillusionment in post-WWI years and often associated with the group of expatriate artists with which Fitzgerald mingled.

In 1926, Fitzgerald had his first movie offer: to write a flapper comedy for the United Artists studio. The Fitzgeralds moved to Hollywood, but after Fitzgerald’s affair with actress Lois Moran, their marital difficulties necessitated a move back to New York. There, Fitzgerald began working on a fourth novel, but his heavy drinking, financial difficulties, and Zelda’s declining physical and mental health got in the way. By 1930, Zelda was suffering from schizophrenia, and Fitzgerald had her hospitalized in 1932. When she published her own semi-autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, in 1932, Fitzgerald was furious, insisting that their lives together were “material” that only he could write about he even managed to get edits made to her manuscript before publication.


The early writings

In his first two novels, This Side of Paradise y The Beautiful and Damned (1922), Fitzgerald examined the lives of young characters who resembled himself and his friends. They lived for pleasure and acquisitions, and they were jaded and rebellious. These wealthy East Coast youths helped secure the popular image of the “lost generation” of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald described them at the conclusion of This Side of Paradise as “a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.”

In 1922, Fitzgerald published a second collection of short stories and finished a play, The Vegetable, which he considered his best work. He moved to New York to be near the Broadway opening, but the play flopped.

Fitzgerald maintained his high standard of living by continually borrowing money from Scribner's against the sale of future writing. After the play flopped, he found himself even further in debt. He and Zelda were increasingly fighting, often after heavy drinking. They retreated to Europe in an attempt to find peace.


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life was a study in destructive alcoholism

This is a red-letter week for American literature because it marks the debut of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby in 1925. The book was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons and both Scott and his editor, the legendary Max Perkins, hoped the book would sell 75,000 or more copies. The reviews were mixed and six months later only 20,000 had been sold. The remaining copies were boxed and warehoused.

Fitzgerald went to his grave thinking his work was forgotten and irrelevant. Thanks to the twenty-twenty vision of hindsight, we now know nothing could be further from the truth. Beginning with its re-discovery in the early 1950s, The Great Gatsby rose to become Scribner’s best-selling title. It has sold more than 25 million copies all over the world and each year sells more than 500,000.

But what does that have to do with great moments in medicine?

Bear with me as I provide a bit of context. For decades, I have taught Fitzgerald’s life and works to my students with the express purpose of using his life to demonstrate how deadly the diseases of alcoholism and addiction can be. I even once wrote about Scott’s struggles for the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 2009, to alert my medical colleagues of his sad but instructive story.

Let’s begin at the end. On December 21, 1940, Scott Fitzgerald dropped dead after eating a chocolate bar and reading the Princeton Alumni Weekly magazine. He was resting a bit before going back to writing his novel about Hollywood’s Dream Factory, an unfinished task we know as The Last Tycoon. At about 2:00 PM, he got out of his easy chair, began to struggle for breath as he clutched his pained chest, and hung onto the mantelpiece of his apartment’s fireplace for support. Soon after, he fell to the carpet with a thud. He was only 44.

A badly recovering alcoholic, Fitzgerald drank and smoked himself into a terminal spiral of cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, angina, dyspnea, and syncopal spells. He had already had a mild heart attack, in October of 1940, outside Schwab’s Drugstore on Sunset Boulevard.

The evening before he died, Scott went to the movies. Before the closing credits, however, he felt crushing chest pain and needed help in getting out of the theater and home to bed.

Two decades earlier, after the widely successful publication of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald was the toast of the literary world and a living legend of the Roaring Twenties, the era he called “the most expensive orgy in history.” Even now, the mention of his name instantly conjures up vivid images of flappers with bobbed hair and collegians wearing raccoon coats.

Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Sayre home in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1919. The following year they would marry. Photo via Getty Images

In many ways, his end was all but predestined thanks to a strong family history for alcoholism a personality marked by excessive risk taking, reckless behavior and what he called “a two-cylinder inferiority complex” and a dizzying series of emotional traumas—most notably his wife Zelda’s descent into madness.

Fitzgerald was already drinking to excess by the time he matriculated into Princeton in 1916. His problem only grew worse with each passing year. Throughout his life, Scott made a drunken fool out of himself at parties and public venues, spewing insults, throwing punches, and hurling ashtrays—behaviors followed by blackouts and memory loss.

Predictably, his excessive drinking sapped his health and creative energy. As he told his editor, Max Perkins, in 1935:

It has become increasingly plain to me that the very excellent organization of a long book or the finest perceptions and judgment in time of revision do not go well with liquor. A short story can be written on a bottle, but for a novel you need the mental speed that enables you to keep the whole pattern in your head and ruthlessly sacrifice the sideshows. . .

Between 1933 and 1937, Scott was hospitalized for alcoholism 8 times and thrown in jail on many more occasions. In February, March, and April 1936, Scott confessed the details about his breakdown on the high-profile pages of Esquire magazine. He titled them The Crack-Up. In an era when the admission of alcoholism was still considered a weakness of character, Scott’s public mea culpa was more than an act of candor or bravery it was tantamount to professional suicide.

In 1937, Fitzgerald somehow wrangled a job as a contract writer for the fabled Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios. Chain smoking and stuffing himself with fudge, chocolate bars, and sugary soda pop, an alcohol-starved Scott simply could not master the art of screenwriting by committee. His gorgeous prose just did not translate all that well to the staccato rhythm of the silver screen. He rebelled against the system by getting drunk.

Scott’s MGM contract was not renewed and he tried freelancing at some of the other studios. Too many times, he did what chronic alcoholics often do: he relapsed.

Struggling to abstain from liquor, Scott worried about his finances, precarious health, and the education of his daughter Scottie. More than once, friends suggested he join a sobriety support group that had been founded by a stockbroker named Bill Wilson and a physician named Bob Smith in 1935. It was called Alcoholics Anonymous. Scott’s response was both contemptuous and, ultimately, self-defeating:

I was never a joiner. AA can only help weak people because their ego is strengthened by the group. The group offers them the strength they lack on their own.

Instead, Scott chose to go it by himself, hoping that willpower alone would free him of his addiction. Despite periods of weeks to months “on the wagon,” the binges never really stopped, and each one took a greater toll on Scott’s battered brain and body. One time, he boasted of tapering his gin consumption but was still drinking 37 beers a day. In late October 1939, a few weeks after a disastrous drunken spree, Fitzgerald wrote his daughter Scottie a self-eulogy of sorts:

Anyhow I am alive again—getting by that October did something—with all its strains and necessities and humiliations and struggles. I don’t drink. I am not a great man, but sometimes, I think the impersonal and objective quality of my talent, and the sacrifices of it, in pieces, to preserve its essential value has some sort of epic grandeur. Anyhow after hours I nurse myself with delusions of that sort.

Fourteen months later, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s body was placed on view in the William Wordsworth Room of the Pierce Brothers Mortuary in Los Angeles. The undertakers expertly colored Scott’s gray hair back to its golden brown and disguised the wrinkles that marred a profile once admired by millions. Scott’s hands, however, told a more accurate tale of too much alcohol and unhealthy living they were as withered and frail as those belonging to an old man.

One of the few mourners to pay her respects was the Algonquin Round Table wit, poet, screenwriter, and alcoholic Dorothy Parker. She alternately praised Scott as her generation’s greatest novelist and roundly criticized him as a “horse’s ass.” Softly, under her breath, the bereaved and tipsy poet whispered, “The poor son-of-a-bitch.” Those who subsequently heard about the remark assumed Parker was making one of her famously inappropriate, sharp comments. In fact, she was quoting a line that appears near the end of The Great Gatsby. It was first uttered by the character “Owl-Eyes,” as he stood over the coffin of Jay Gatsby.

Every morning during those sad, last years of his life, Scott awoke with the hope that he could tell his alcoholic demons to scram. Some days he enjoyed a modicum of success in that task there were still many more, however, when he reached for a drink, and then another, sliding closer and closer to his grave. Fitzgerald, after all, was the man who famously observed, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

In retrospect, a better passage for Mrs. Parker to have recited while standing over Scott’s silent body would be the last luminous lines of his Long Island literary masterpiece:

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further. . . . And one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Left: Fitzgerald struggled with addition through his entire adult life. Photo via Getty Images


Ver el vídeo: Biografía F Scott Fitzgerald (Diciembre 2021).