The Great Gatsby is a novel written F. Scott Fitzgerald based on “The great depression” that took place in the 1920’s (also known as the “Roaring Twenties”) and lasted until 1929 when Wall Street Crashed.
The Great Gatsby represents a complex mix of emotions and themes that reflect the turbulence of the times. Fresh off the nightmare of World War I, Americans were enjoying the fruits of an economic boom and a renewed sense of possibility. But in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s stresses the darker side of the Roaring Twenties, its undercurrent of corruption and its desperate, empty decadence.
The setting of the novel contributed greatly to its popularity following its early release, but the book did not receive widespread attention until after Fitzgerald’s death in 1940, when republishing’s in 1945 and 1953 quickly found a wide audience. Today the book is widely regarded as a “Great American Novel” and a literary classic. The Modern Library named it the second best English-language novel of the 20th Century.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was indecisive about the name. He went through quite a few different titles until finally settling on “The Great Gatsby.” “Fitzgerald shifted between Gatsby; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Trimalchio; Trimalchio in West Egg; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby and The High-Bouncing Lover.”
Francis Scott Fitzgerald began writing the novel in 1923, basing its setting and characters on his own experiences living on Long Island, New York at the time. The early 1920’s were the heyday of American wealth and excess, and Long Island was where New York’s wealthiest resided in opulent mansions. Although the prohibition banning the sale of alcohol was in effect, that did not stop the partying lifestyle of the young well-to-do socialites of Long Island, who kicked up their heels at privately hosted parties. Fashion, alcohol, jazz were the order of the day (an age that was brought to an abrupt end with the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression).
Fitzgerald finished the draft after he moved to France, and completed the editorial revisions whilst living in Rome. There were several proposals for the title of the book, with Fitzgerald himself not all that keen on the title The Greaty Gatsby, but influence from his wife, Zelda, and his editor, Maxwell Perkins, led him to accept the title “as fair, rather bad than good”. It was published in 1925 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, being Fitzgerald’s third novel.
The Great Gatsby received mostly positive reviews when it was first published. However, Gatsby did not experience the commercial success of Fitzgerald’s previous two novels, This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned, and although the novel went through two initial printings, some of these copies remained unsold years later.
Although well received at the time, it was not until after Fitzgerald’s death in 1940 that the book exploded in popularity. Today it is recognized as a classic American novel, and has led to several screen adaptations. “It is set for yet another big screen adaptation with Baz Luhrmann’s 3D release in mid-2013.”
Courtney from Study Moose