As the release date for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby approaches, the book and its author are very much in the news. Here are a few interesting Gatsby reads:
The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody published a blog post about the connection between the 1920s and our own time – each “a glittering age of incommensurable inequality.” The blog ranges over several loosely connected topics, from Fitzgerald’s preoccupation with social life and its poetic failings to the idea that the young Jay Gatz would have made an excellent Theodore Dreiser character. (According to English Professor Veronica Makowsky, Dreiser’s work had a major influence on Fitzgerald, especially The Beautiful and the Damned, the novel that preceded Gatsby.)
The New York Times published an article about Gatsby cover art through the years. The original cover by Francis Cugat – now considered a classic design – was initially dismissed as “garish” by Ernest Hemingway, who later wrote in A Moveable Feast that he was “embarrassed by the violence, bad taste and slippery look of it.” Born in Spain, Cugat (1893-1981) was a well-known illustrator and set designer.
While you’re on the Times website, you might want to read a Paul Krugman blog post about “The Great Gatsby Curve,” a graph that measures the intergenerational inelasticity of income in the United States – in short, income in America is highly unequal and becoming more unequal.
There’s been a lot of press about the searchable digital facsimile of Fitzgerald’s ledger (1919-1938) that the University of South Carolina archives has made available online. Fitzgerald divided the Ledger into five sections: “Record of Published Fiction,” “Money Earned by Writing since Leaving Army,” “Published Miscelani (including movies) for which I was Paid,” “Zelda’s Earnings,” and “Outline Chart of my Life.” It’s a fascinating picture of his life.
The number of articles about the upcoming movie is overwhelming – the actors, the Miuccia Prada costumes, the Jay-Z score, etc., etc. Film buffs might try an Architectural Digest article on the sets used in the film.
Rolling Stone has provided consistent coverage of the music being produced for the film, which blends jazz and hip-hop. This overview of the performers and soundtrack is useful and there are clips available here.