The Great Gatsby is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of American fiction. It tells of the mysterious Jay Gatsby’s grand effort to win the love of Daisy Buchanan, the rich girl who embodies for him the promise of the American dream. Deeply romantic in its concern with self-making, ideal love, and the power of illusion, it draws on modernist techniques to capture the spirit of the materialistic, morally adrift, post-war era Fitzgerald dubbed “the jazz age.” Gatsby’s aspirations remain inseparable from the rhythms and possibilities suggested by modern consumer culture, popular song, the movies; his obstacles inseparable from contemporary American anxieties about social mobility, racial mongrelization, and the fate of Western civilization.
This Broadview edition sets the novel in context by providing readers with a critical introduction and crucial background material about the consumer culture in which Fitzgerald was immersed; about the spirit of the jazz age; and about racial discourse in the 1920s.
“Canadian readers are indeed fortunate to have Michael Nowlin’s extremely useful edition of The Great Gatsby. Nowlin provides a wealth of ancillary materials that enhance our understanding and appreciation of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece: a selection of Fitzgerald’s correspondence about Gatsby; eight advertisements that graphically demonstrate the commodity culture underlying the novel; and, perhaps most worthwhile of all, a selection of contemporary essays that supply an invaluable contextual framework for Gatsby. Throughout, Nowlin’s emphasis is on the quality, not quantity of these materials; the result is a book that will be indispensable to students, teachers, and the casual reader alike.” — Jackson R. Bryer, University of Maryland
“This edition of The Great Gatsby confirms what Fitzgerald Society members have long believed: Michael Nowlin is a leader in the emerging generation of Fitzgerald scholars. His introduction here charts the intensely personal journey through love, loss, and ambition that Fitzgerald traveled in order to realize his masterpiece; Nowlin’s appendices, meanwhile, provide secondary sources for appreciating the chaotic energies of youth, race, and cultural change compelling the novel’s inexorable tragedy. Whether excerpting Fitzgerald’s mid-1920s correspondence, contemporary reviews, or nonfiction gems of the day—including Zelda Fitzgerald’s insightful ‘What Became of the Flappers?’ (1925)—Nowlin dramatizes how thoroughly Jay Gatsby’s creator intuited the sadness and uncertainty beneath the glitz and gild of modernity’s most golden of decades.” — Kirk Curnutt, Troy University, Vice-President of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society