F. Scott Fitzgerald

The 50 Greatest Campus Novels Ever Written

No matter how old you are, the back-to-school season holds a certain kind of allure – be it nostalgia for scholarly tradition, the crisping of the days, a Pavlovian need to buy books, or just the satisfaction that you don’t have to be in class ever again. If you’re looking to indulge yourself without the schoolwork, you may take pleasure in another hallowed tradition: the campus novel. That is, books concerning the lives of students, professors, and miscellaneous academics, generally in or around a college. Here are 50 of the… Read More

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Then and Now: Photos of Real Places Mentioned in Fiction

Looking through Jane Austen’s England by Roy and Lesley Adkins, it’s difficult not to compare the way things were during England’s Georgian and Regency eras with the England of today. The book gives a glimpse at everything from wedding superstitions to the “Bloody Code” (the country’s system of laws and punishments from 1688 to 1815, including the 50 offenses that were punishable by death), which highlight how much has changed since the time of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. But what about the times and places that influenced other classic authors? More specifically, what do the real places mentioned in famous works of fiction look like now? … Read More

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10 of Literature’s Most Unreliable Narrators

It was 55 years ago today that Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita was first published in the US. Nabokov’s remarkable prose is as evocative today as it was in 1958. Facet’s of the author’s great work about a middle-aged lit scholar’s obsession with a 12-year-old girl have been debated since its publication, many arguing the chronology of the tragic events and Humbert Humbert’s fallibility as a narrator. We discuss this, and more of literature’s unreliable narrators, past the break. … Read More

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Pre-Post-Fiction: Classic Novels That Blur the Line Between Real Life and Fiction

The New York Observer‘s review of Awl co-founder Choire Sicha’s new book is generating a bit of chatter in the corners of the Internet we frequent. The reviewer, Michael Miller, groups Sicha’s book with recent ones by Sheila Heti, Ben Lerner, and Tao Lin as what he terms a new wave of “post-fiction.” Post-fiction, he says, is characterized by a chiasmus between the real and the made-up, blurring the two into nonrecognition.” I would suggest that this genre is in fact far older than Miller suggests — it’s just that we used to call novels novels, back in the age when “Based on a True Story” was not worth its weight in marketing gold. … Read More

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The Bizarre, Misunderstood Afterlife of Zelda Fitzgerald

Had she not perished in a fire that decimated the mental hospital where she was living in back in 1948, Zelda Fitzgerald (who would be celebrating her birthday as a spry 113-year-old today) would be having a really interesting 2013. Of course, she didn’t survive her time at Highland Hospital, and living that long is hardly plausible for a person who epitomized the raging ways of the Roaring ’20s, but Zelda Fitzgerald’s life was one full of what ifs and misconceptions. Speculating further doesn’t seem all that absurd. … Read More

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The First 10 Works of Fiction You Should Read If You’ve Never Read a Book Before

Recently, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver told reporters that — while he has written more than 20 cookbooks — he had never read a whole book until recently, when he finished Suzanne Collins’s Hunter Games sequel, Catching Fire. Oliver said, “I’ve never read a book in my life, which I know sounds incredibly ignorant but I’m dyslexic and I get bored easily.” Fair enough. As a kind of thought experiment, Flavorwire has picked out the first ten books that an adult who is new to reading should pick up. Quibbles or further suggestions? Add them in the comments. … Read More

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10 Famous Literary Characters That Are Significantly Younger Than You Think

When an author creates a character, he or she bestows upon this fictional person specific attributes — age, looks, certain proclivities — that may or may not be made explicit on the page. But whether the character is explained fully or not, there’s no telling what will happen when the culture at large gets a hold of him. Especially if the notoriously age-garbling film industry gets involved. After the jump, prepare to be shocked at famous literary characters that are significantly younger than you (probably) think they are. … Read More

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Classic Books Annotated by Famous Authors

Readers come in two editions: those who write in their books, and those who don’t. No matter which you are on your own time, there’s great pleasure to be found in paging through marked-up copies of other people’s books — particularly when the original owners were famous writers themselves. Whether scribbled or printed, snide or appreciative, an author’s annotations give equal insight into the book and the reader, and double as yet another reason to buy physical books. Click through to see the marginalia in the books of a few great… Read More

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What Was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Attitude Toward Homosexuality?

There has been much ado about The Great Gatsby in recent months, for obvious reasons. And with that ado has come a resurgence of interest in Nick Carraway’s unclear sexual orientation — something you probably missed as a high school sophomore, but is obvious with even a little attention as an adult reader. Earlier in the year, in an article at Salon, Greg Olear pointed out that nagging passage that suggests Nick’s homosexuality, nestled in between those ellipses and coming directly off of a blatant penis joke. And today in The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky argues that Baz Luhrman’s new film adaptation suffers from not being gay enough, and thereby undermining Nick’s character and eliminating his connection to Gatsby based on “their shared need for deception.” … Read More

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The Complicated — And Troubling — Role of Race and Class in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Gatsby’

Now that The Great Gatsby has opened to favorable audience reviews and not-so-ecstatic critical response, there seems little left to be said about Baz Luhrmann’s garish 3D romance. As expected, Luhrmann’s picture is a mostly faithful adaptation of the book, if not a completely obvious one. And sure, for every shot of Leonardo DiCaprio practically tripping over his wing-tipped feet to reach for the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock, there are thousands of frames filled with fireworks, confetti, champagne, and even the typewritten words of F. Scott Fitzgerald (by way of the ludicrous framing device suggesting that Nick Carraway wrote The Great Gatsby as a memoir to cure his “morbid alcoholism”) flying into the faces of the bespectacled audience. (It’s surprising that the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg weren’t behind Dolby-branded 3D glasses.) You don’t see a Baz Luhrmann film for the subtlety, but one aspect of The Great Gatsby that is surprisingly nuanced is the complicated role that race plays in both Lurhmann’s and Fitzgerald’s cynical treatment of the American class struggle. … Read More

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