Francis Cugat’s painting Preceded finished manuscript. Cover art “written into” novel. Pervasive use of color symbolism and light motifs. After having read the novel, Fitzgerald’s publisher declared the cover art a “masterpiece.”
1896-1940 Parents from opposite economic backgrounds. Father’s family included the author of the “Star Spangled Banner.” American Dream vulgar yet promising. Jay Gatsby – dazzled by American Dream; Nick Carraway – can’t help but be suspicious. Married Zelda. Determined to make money in New York to support her. Zelda began to break down. Fitzgerald remained a heavy drinker. Died of a heart-attack at 44.
Leading writer of Jazz Age. Invented term. Both participated in and critiqued the “high life.” Chief quality of his talent: His ability to be both a leading participant in the high life he described and a detached observer of it. “I am too much a moralist at heart.” The Great Gatsby was his masterpiece. Not immediately popular. A few years after his death, his books won him the recognition he had desired while alive.
Classic study of the American Dream. highs, lows, excesses, joys Zelda – ideal flapper. No “single feeling of inferiority, or shyness, or doubt, and nor moral principles.” Bucked custom at every opportunity, refusing to cross her legs at the ankle, staying out late with boys, saying whatever she felt. Incredibly famous couple. Jumping into fountains, riding on top of taxis, passing our together after getting plastered at a party. Fitz became alcoholic. Zelda became schitzophrenic. Always in his shadow. Danced and wrote. Couple separated but didn’t divorce.
A number of poets, intellectuals, writers, and artists who fled to France after WWI. Searching for life’s meaning. Rejected the values of American materialism. Disillusioned by American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, and John Dos Passos Typically characterized as “hedonistic,” “morally irresponsible,” “hard- drinking,” and “fast-living,” their lost generation was, nevertheless, creatively successful.
Defied convention: cut their hair short, refused to use corsets, short skirts, drank and smoked in public. Women lived in a time where change was necessary. Victorian image of being a woman had now been shattered. Flappers created the “new woman” or the “modern” woman. Opened up a new world for future generations.
Term coined by Fitzgerald to refer to the decade after WWI that he called “the gaudiest spree in history.” Racially mixed social scene. “A whole race going hedonistic, deciding on pleasure.” 71% of American families below the poverty line. White elites embraced the African American music; it was “rebellious.” Prohibition: “The Noble Experiment.”
Industrial and technological production break with tradition. Pleasure was sought in defiance of WWI. Great economic prosperity; US economy transferred from wartime to peacetime. US augmented its standing as richest country in the world. African Americans, recent immigrants, farmers and the working class lived below the poverty line of $2,000 per year.
Thoroughly read the selection and be prepared to present it to the class. On a sheet of paper, complete the following: List the main points. Choose two significant quotes and explain them to the class (What is the quote saying, and why is it important?). Write a summary of the reading.