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‘The Great Gatsby’ Turns 90: Five Things You Might Not Know About the Classic Novel

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a staple of high school English classes and “best books” lists, from 20th Century books to American novels to the greatest novels ever written. Therefore although some Gatsby fans have merely ogled Leonardo DiCaprio or Robert Redford in the titular role (in one of the unspectacular film adaptations of a hard-to-adapt novel) most of us have actually read the book. To us, it may feel like Tom and Daisy Fay Buchanan, Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby have always been around. But did you know Gatsby languished in obscurity for years? The American classic, which celebrates 90 years of publication today, has a backstory as convoluted and fascinating as the enigmatic, self-made Gastby’s himself.

To celebrate Fitzgerald’s critique of, and ode to, jazz age capitalistic excess, here are five interesting angles on the novel and its history for your consideration.
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The 25 Most Homoerotic Friendships in Literature

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Homoeroticism refers to same-sex desire, not necessarily consummated. Critics have long found evidence of that desire in some of the cherished close friendships in classic literature. Looking at books this way adds depth not only to our understanding of the original works, but to our understanding of how complex and layered human relationships can be. Here are 25 queer, or queer-seeming, friendships in classics from the 19th century through today. Some are up for debate, and some are obviously more than just friendships — but all share an element of friendship and… Read More

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

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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.”
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Why Can’t Hollywood Get ‘The Great Gatsby’ Right?

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Hollywood took its first stab at adapting The Great Gatsby for the screen only a year after its publication, and has been trying intermittently ever since — and, for the most part, failing. What is it about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic that makes it so impossible, so utterly untraslatable? It’s certainly not that the film industry hasn’t been trying hard enough: Baz Luhrmann’s new film is the fifth official adaptation. In the course of a week, I watched all of them that can be seen (and another, looser adaptation besides), and came up with a few theories.
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Was ‘The Great Gatsby’ The Last Great New York Novel?

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby stands out as the finest of his four completed novels because it’s an empathetic satire that delivers the author’s most aggressive attack on New York’s high society. I’ve read it maybe five times, although I prefer the first half because I think that’s where the magic happens. It’s when all three of the novel’s parties take place, and where Fitzgerald’s psychological complexity thrives most — the simultaneous worship and disdain for wealth and celebrity that characterizes his body of work. It’s often praised as a top contender for the Great American Novel, but Gatsby also remains as the best New York novel I’ve ever read because it so fully embodies the city in the time during which it was written, while continuing to speak to readers (and especially New Yorkers) of every generation.
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15 Awesome ‘Great Gatsby’ Tattoos

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You may think you’re a fan of The Great Gatsby, but how committed are you really? Lots of folks have proven their love of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece by inking its words and images on their bodies — the floating face of the classic cover and the final lines are perennial favorites in this regard. After the jump, check out some of the greatest Gatsby tattoos from around the web.
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‘The Great Gatsby’ Soundtrack Isn’t Good — But It’s Perfect for ‘The Great Gatsby’

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There’s plenty about Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby that evokes an instinctively negative reaction — including, to an extent, the whole idea of a Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby in the first place. So it goes with the film’s soundtrack; if you take a look at the tracklisting, you might blanch at the presence of Lana Del Rey, Fergie, and (gulp), will.i.am. But if you suspend your expectations for long enough to evaluate the way the music works within the context of the film — which also merits consideration on its own terms — you might find it works better than anyone might have guessed.
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7 Other Directors Who Should Adapt ‘The Great Gatsby’

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When fans of The Great Gatsby found out that divisive filmmaker Baz Luhrmann would direct this spring’s highly anticipated adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary novel, reactions were mixed. Some film lovers embrace Luhrmann’s sheer excess; it worked well enough for Romeo and Juliet, so why worry about flubs like Australia? Others, however, had different aspirations for the movie that might just get leading man Leo DiCaprio his ever-evasive Oscar. So, what about the Gatsby adaptations that could have been? Read on for a short list of other directors who might have succeeded at filming one of the most acclaimed American novels of all time, from Scorsese to Spielberg.
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20 American Mansions Fit for Jay Gatsby

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While The Great Gatsby is filled to the brim with powerful symbolism, houses play a particularly important role in defining F. Scott Fitzgerald’s characters. Gatsby himself built a gigantic mansion at West Egg that purposefully looked classical, giving the illusion of long-standing prominence. Fitzgerald based Gatsby’s mansions on many real-life homes (including the now-demolished Beacon Towers and Land’s End, which both stood on Long Island’s Gold Coast), but there are a handful of castle-like mansions on the Eastern Seaboard that would be perfect for a number of lavish, Gatsby-style… Read More