Tag Archives: the great gatsby

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

Judging a book by its cover

Who  hasn’t been enticed to pick up a book due to its attractive cover?  When I peruse the book store for historical fiction I’m certainly more likely to read the jacket flap of a book with intriguing cover art that gives me some idea of the time period in which the story takes place.  Same goes with the library–sometimes I’ll just wander the aisles until I see a title written in “old-fashioned” cursive, and pull it out–9 times out of 10 it’s historical fiction.

But sometimes book cover art isn’t quite so obvious.  Which brings me to a funny blog post I had to share.  Sunny Chanel, a blogger on the Babble website, got her six-year old to give her own interpretation of what she believed some works of classic literature were about, based on their covers.  The results were, in my opinion at least, pretty entertaining.  Here’s her take on The Great Gatsby:

I think it’s a book about a haunted theme park and it stars a magical magic guy and he’s good and evil and he’s trying to get rid of the ghosts. And I think at the end, since it’s haunted by a ghost, he tried to make the park go on fire and it did.

Not a bad guess by just looking at the cover and the title, right?

You can read more 6-year-old takes on classic literature by visiting the blog post here.  Wuthering Heights, Animal Farm, The Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird, and more….all judged by their cover by a 6-year-old.  Enjoy.

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Filed under General, Historical Fiction, Writing

The Great Gatsby: First Look

The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels of all time.  To me it is the quintessential Great American novel of the 1920s (sorry, Hemingway).  So, when news came out that a new movie adaptation was being created about the novel, I was excited.  But then I found out it was being created by Baz Luhrmann, whose work is a bit…over the top for my taste.  I was hoping for a sweeping period piece that stuck closely to the novel, but I’m not so sure if I’m going to get it with Luhrmann’s film.  Here’s the trailer, in the event you haven’t seen it.

After watching it a few times, I’ve started to come around a little.  It looks like the main themes of the novel are there.  And it appears that Luhrmann will have no trouble portraying Gatsby’s famous parties to their full dazzlingly overindulgent potential.  And the casting also looks promising–I can see Tobey Maguire as narrator Nick, and I think I can see Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby.  Carey Mulligan seems slightly young as Daisy, but that girl can act, so I know she’ll give the role her all.  Based off Luhrmann’s previous works (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge), I don’t think I’m going to get my sweeping period piece.  But he may just surprise me and pull off something I’m willing to go to the theater for.

As an interesting side note, while I was looking around at past Great Gatsby adaptations, I found the trailer for the very first adaptation, made in 1926, just a year after the book was published.  It is based off the stage play by Owen Davis, and had a running time of 80 minutes.  Unfortunately, only the trailer survives today.


Filed under Period Pieces