Happy Birthday, The Great Gatsby!

The Great Gatsby cover

Today F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby turns 88.  As I have previously posted, this is on my list of all time favorite novels.  And a month from today Baz Luhrmann’s movie based on the book comes out.  At first I was a bit skeptical about this film, but the latest trailer has me psyched about it.

An article published by the Huffington Post about a Fitzgerald scholar and his interaction with Luhrmann shows the level of research the director’s done to make sure he gets this right.  The piece is interesting, and you can read it here.

The article mentions Ginevra King, the inspiration behind the character of Daisy Buchanan.  She was Fitzgerald’s first love, and though she jilted him, he kept her love letters and used her as a model for many of his female characters featured in both his novels and short stories.

Ginevra King

Ginevra King

Caroline Preston did a tremendous amount of research on Ginevra that resulted in Gatsby’s Girl, a novel I highly recommend.  But it is fiction.  The relationship between Ginevra and Fitzgerald is largely based on fact, but the rest of the character’s journey is Preston’s creation.  In an interview she says that Ginevra King was never interested in Fitzgerald’s books, but her character in the novel obsesses over them.  You can read more about the novel and the interview with the author here.

Ginevra King’s teenage diary and her letters to Fitzgerald are housed in the Princeton University Library.  Carey Mulligan, who portrays Daisy in the film, read them.  I can’t wait to see how she decides to play the character.

So Happy Birthday, Jay!  We’ll be seeing you on the big screen soon.

Great Gatsby Leonardo DiCaprio

Here’s the latest trailer, in case you haven’t seen it, or are like me and want to see it again:



Filed under Historical Fiction, Period Pieces

6 responses to “Happy Birthday, The Great Gatsby!

  1. Pam

    Can’t wait to see the movie. Wonder if it is anything like Robert Redford and Mia Farrow! Don’t understand why they have her blond if she was a burnette in the picture.

    • I have a feeling this film is going to be pretty different from the Redford/Farrow version. I honestly can’t remember now how the described Daisy’s hair in the book, but I think she was depicted as a blonde, even though the person modeled after her had brown hair.

  2. linda s

    Great post! But I’m getting the opposite info on who Daisy was patterned after in the recently re-released biography, Zelda by Nancy Milford. It has tons of diary and journal entries from Zelda and Scott and just about everyone the Fitzgerald’s knew. It was originally published in 1970 so a lot of people they knew were still alive when Milford was doing her research for this book. It is the first book I’ve read in a long time that I can’t wait to get back to every time I put it down. My guess is the re-release is the result of the upcoming movie.

    The first chapters are a little slow, then it really takes off. There are even quotes from an interview with the man Zelda was rumored to have had an affair with, which is very interesting. He says Zelda imagined their affair, that it never happened, but most of their friends believed it did. Whether it did or not, it seemed to be the beginning of her mental problems.

    Most of their friends thought all the ladies in his novels were, in some form, Zelda. Even Zelda herself was interviewed by magazines that wanted to know if she was his heroine.

    The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel and I can’t wait for the movie. The other versions have been so bad and miscast that I’m hoping they got it right this time.

    • I hope this version’s better too, Linda!

      I have also heard a lot of people who think Zelda was the inspiration for Fitzgerald’s female characters. I think she did have an influence on them, and certainly on the whole idea of the “flapper.” I think many of his characters are composites of several women Fitzgerald knew. But everything I’ve ever read about the novel point to Ginevra as the main model for Daisy.

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