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The Great Gatsby (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 May 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New edition edition (5 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185326041X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853260414
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,922 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University which he left in 1917 to join the army. Fitzgerald was said to have epitomised the Jazz Age, an age inhabited by a generation he defined as 'grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'.

In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their destructive relationship and her subsequent mental breakdowns became a major influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night and The Love of the Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work): six volumes of short stories and The Crack-Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces.

Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a "generation" ... he might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'


Product Description

Amazon Review

In 1922, F Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple, intricately patterned". That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned and, above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace be comes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties and waits for her to appear. When s he does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbour Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem. Perry Freeman, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Three weeks before it was published in 1925, the book that is often referred to as the Great American Novel had an alternative title, Trimalchio in West Egg. Fortunately Fitzgerald's publisher thought The Great Gatsby was better. Whether it would have made any difference to its success, who knows? I've deliberately eschewed listening to it, preferring to remember reading it myself, but William Hope's glorious interpretation is too good to miss. --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

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IN my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 92 people found the following review helpful By J C E Hitchcock on 1 May 2013
Format: Paperback
F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with inventing the term "The Jazz Age" to describe the 1920s, and he is often regarded as the greatest chronicler of that age in fiction. Today the "Roaring Twenties" are often regarded as a brief, prosperous, carefree and hedonistic interval between the war-torn 1910s and the economically depressed 1930s, the age of jazz, of cocktails, of Art Deco, of flappers and of the Charleston. Like all attempts to summarise a whole decade in a single phrase, or even in a single sentence, however, this one can never be more than a half-truth. The decade was certainly a time of relative prosperity in the United States (less so in Europe), but it was also an era haunted by memories of the Great War and its attendant bloodshed and by a sense of foreboding about the future. The era's much-vaunted hedonism can be seen as the reaction of a largely urban, well-to-do minority against the Puritanism of the not-so-silent majority. This was, after all, the decade of Prohibition and of ultra-conservative forms of religion, exemplified by the notorious Scopes trial in which a schoolteacher was put on trial for teaching evolutionary theory.

Jay Gatsby, the central character of this novel, is a quintessentially Roaring Twenties figure. Originally a North Dakota farmboy named James Gatz, he served with distinction in the United States army during World War I and then went into business, becoming a self-made millionaire, wealthy enough to afford a luxurious mansion where he hosts lavish parties. Gatsby's mansion is on the North Shore of Long Island, an area with so many wealthy residents during this period that it became known as the Gold Coast.
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165 of 186 people found the following review helpful By E. Fifield on 22 April 2008
Format: Paperback
One of my resolutions for 2008 is to broaden my literary horizens. After studying English Lit to A-Level, my interest has fallen to the wayside. So on my quest to better myself through literature, I read "The Old Man and the Sea", which I just couldn't relate to. So imagine my relief when I started reading "The Great Gatsby". I'm so glad I perservered with classic books!

TGG is a great read. It's fast-paced from the outset, and gripping towards the end - I couldn't put it down. I even tried to convince family and friends to read it afterwards; but to no avail - so if I manage to get even ONE person to read it from writing this review, then good! Definitely recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Barnes on 17 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
With the release of the latest film version of the book I heard more than one critic describe the book as one of the best/greatest/most wonderful books ever written. My recollection of a school induced attempt to read it was that it was over-rated but with all the current clamour about the glamour I wanted to reassess my view.

The Great Gatsby is a slim novel of 170 or so pages - bulked up in my edition by 55 pages of introduction - with a thin plot and a cast of characters that are sketched rather than fully drawn. The result is a water colour not an oil painting. It hints and teases at depths in plot and character but no more. It has been hailed as a great evocation of the time in the same way that Bonfire of the Vanities was the light that shone on corporate excess and social divide in the late 20th century. Yet it seems to be no more than a portrait of a small group of people in a small part of a country with little or no soul and nothing for the reader to latch on to and engage. Who do we really care about in Gatsby?

Rather like seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, reading The Great Gatsby has to be done. But done only once. It is famous for being famous. It works perhaps because the thin, enigmatic, opaque characters allow the reader to fill in the gaps, to add the depth with their own ideas. It's a book that can be whatever you want it to be.

Do read it. It's a perfectly enjoyable read and it's part of the literary landscape. It provokes discussions about what is 'great writing' and 'great literature' and so does us all a service. Does it bear comparison to Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Irving, even Wolfe? I think not. It's good. But its not great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 21 April 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Gorgeous, glamorous and doomed, Jay Gatsby epitomises the American dream: that we can be anyone we like, we can achieve anything we want... but that there's always a moral price to be paid. Dripping in glittering prose, this dissects the tragic disillusionment of the 1920s with its excesses of consumerist capitalism, its fragile, brittle allure - and the moral bankruptcy which underpins this charmed world.

In the beautiful but vacuous Daisy, and Gatsby himself - both an illusion and the victim of his own self-constructed illusion - Fitzgerald embodies the qualities of his age, but this is also a prescient book which speaks to a twenty-first century audience just as pressingly. With its investment banker narrator, its nascent idea of celebrity in Gatsby, and its catalogue of material things (motor cars, yachts, lavish dinners, legendary parties, mansions, swimming pools) this is as relevant today, almost a hundred years after it was written.

What makes this book stand out is Fitzgerald's tenderness: it would have been easy to have written this as a satire on wealth, on materialism, on the religion of possessions but he is a more nuanced writer and has a more subtle moral vision than that. For all that Gatsby may be a modern Trimalchio, as he is named in chapter 7, he's also a tragic figure, a victim of his own idealism.

My personal favourite Fitzgerald is Tender is the Night but this is perhaps the more accessible, and more tightly crafted text.
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