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Dramatic,
Insightful,
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44 reviews

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published: 1995-06-01
Paperback : 216 pages
86 members reading this now
288 clubs reading this now
161 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 43 of 44 members

This is the definitive, textually accurate edition of a classic of twentieth-century literature, The Great Gatsby. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan has been acclaimed by generations of readers. But the first edition contained a ...

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Introduction

This is the definitive, textually accurate edition of a classic of twentieth-century literature, The Great Gatsby. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan has been acclaimed by generations of readers. But the first edition contained a number of errors resulting from Fitzgerald's extensive revisions and a rushed production schedule. Subsequent printings introduced further departures from the author's words. This edition, based on the Cambridge critical text, restores all the language of Fitzgerald's masterpiece. Drawing on the manuscript and surviving proofs of the novel, along with Fitzgerald's later revisions and corrections, this is the authorized text -- The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald intended it.

Editorial Review

In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "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 farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.

Excerpt

CHAPTER I

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence I'm inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought -- frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon -- for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

The Roaring 20s
What do you consider to be a Golden Era?
Personal histories of the Fitzgeralds
by Hoobiboo (see profile) 09/24/13

Loss of innocence of the area, why do you think that was?
I get lists of study questions on line.
by judycocherell (see profile) 06/19/13

Recreating oneself
Old money versus new money
by Alison8641 (see profile) 11/16/12

1.The parallels between Scott Fizgerald's life and The Great Gatsby.
2.Dr. Eckleburg's eyes as the vision fo God.
by beachlady (see profile) 09/12/12

Download the Big Read materials for additional information about Fitzgerald and the Twenties.
by v.skywark (see profile) 03/02/11

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

". . It expresses one phase of the great grotesque spectacle of our American scene. It is humor, irony, ribaldry, pathos and loveliness. . . . A curious book, a mystical, glamorous story of today. It takes a deeper cut at life than hitherto has been essayed by Mr. Fitzgerald. He writes well -- he always has -- for he writes naturally, and his sense of form is becoming perfected. -- Books of the Century; New York Times review, April 1925

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