Written in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is widely
considered to be one of the author’s greatest works. Set in New York City and
Long Island during the Roaring Twenties, the focus of the story is (of course)
its title character, Jay Gatsby, and his unswerving desire to be reunited with
Daisy Buchanan, the love he lost five years earlier. However, Nick Carraway,
who happens to be both Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin, narrates Gatsby's journey
from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death.
The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly one of the greatest American
literary documents of the 1920s, the decade for which Fitzgerald himself coined
the term “Jazz Age.” However, in writing the book, Fitzgerald was in fact
holding up a mirror to the society of which he was a part. In true Modernist
fashion, The Great Gatsby addresses the social issues of the period — namely materialism
and displaced spirituality — that ultimately led the decline of the era.
The novel’s initial sales situation was less than
impressive; fewer than 25,000 copies were sold by Fitzgerald’s death in 1940.
But The Great Gatsby gained great popularity during WWII as the critical
mainstream began to embrace the author’s work. The Armed Services Editions
circulated 150,000 copies to troops alone. Today, The Great Gatsby has sold over
25 million copies worldwide, sells an additional 500,000 copies annually, and
is Scribner's most popular title. Ranked #2 on the Modern Library’s list of the
100 Best Novels of the 20th Century, the novel is also listed on
their Top 100 Novels as well as The Observer’s All-Time 100 Best Novels and
Time Magazine’s 100 Best Modern Novels.
The Great Gatsby has resulted in a number of adaptations,
including Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 major motion picture starring
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. ...
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