Tag Archives: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book: The Great Gatsby

Neither Fitzgerald nor The Great Gatsby were revered when the book was first published in 1925. Now, Modern Library ranked it the second best novel of the 20th century. Uploaded by camachoenglish11.blogspot.com.

I just re-read The Great Gatsby, having skimmed my way through it somewhere during what’s called my “formal” education. May I encourage you to go back now and re-read some of those books you only endured before? Stick to the 20th century – I wouldn’t read Moby Dick again for a thousand dollars. Shoot, I wouldn’t read Wuthering Heights for ten grand.

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But I thoroughly enjoyed The Great Gatsby. It’s easy to understand why F. Scott Fitzgerald is revered as one of our greatest authors, and why this is his prize. As a reader, I like tight plots, and I’m not much for descriptive language. But how can you not appreciate writing like this depiction of a character early in the book:

He had changed since his New Haven days. Now he was a sturdy, straw haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining, arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body – he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage – a cruel body.

Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby wasn’t a commercial success. The book’s reputation, as well as Fitzgerald’s, have improved over the decades, such that he is considered one of our great novelists. And Modern Library ranked The Great Gatsby at number two in its list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.

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The Arts: Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was a big game hunter, a world-class fisherman - oh, and he could write a pretty good novel, too. Uploaded by jfklibrary.org.

He was a great writer, called the greatest writer since Shakespeare by John O’Hara. And he had a larger-than-life personality. You can call him a lot of things, but I don’t think you can call a man who drank too much, married four times, and eventually committed suicide, “Papa.”

What do you say about a man who wrote some of the greatest novels and short stories in the history of American literature, but who never actually realized his true potential? He drove an ambulance in Italy during World War I…lived in the amazing Paris arts community along with Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, and Ezra Pound…covered the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance, landed with the Allies at D-Day and was present at the liberation of Paris…all while writing the occasional novel or short story. What could he have accomplished if he’d given himself completely to novels?

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Just look at what he accomplished when he did focus. In order of publication, his novels include “The Sun Also Rises,” “A Farewell to Arms,” “To Have and Have Not,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “The Old Man and the Sea.” This last book won the Pulitzer Prize (Great American Things, February 19, 2010) for fiction, and also influenced his selection for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Hemingway had four rules for writing: 1. Use short sentences. 2. Use short first paragraphs. 3. Use vigorous English. 4. Be positive, not negative. Hemingway elaborated on his method to F. Scott Fitzgerald: “I write one page of masterpiece to 91 pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”