Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

My work on The Great Gatsby and its sources of inspiration has extended over several decades. In the course of it I have incurred many obligations to individuals and institutions. First and foremost, I owe thanks and gratitude to my wife, Ursula Kruse, as well as to my friend the late Matthew J. Bruccoli. Both have advised, challenged, and encouraged me in my research. Drafts and...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-3

The Great Gatsby is inexhaustible,” Matthew J. Bruccoli wrote in his introduction to New Essays on “The Great Gatsby” in 1985. A quarter of a century’s further work on the novel has not proved him wrong. Surprisingly, Bruccoli’s statement also holds for studies of the author’s sources and the actual process of the novel’s composition. Even as the times recede in which the manuscript...

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1. Max von Gerlach, the Man Behind Jay Gatsby: A German Immigrant Story and Its Impact on the Composition of The Great Gatsby

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pp. 4-73

There is all but universal agreement that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby occupies a preeminent place in American literature, in terms of popular appeal and critical acclaim, and that Jay Gatsby, the protagonist, more so than any other character in American fiction, embodies national themes and aspirations. The complex story of the novel’s achievement is thus fully deserving...

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2. Dinner at the Buchanans’: Eugenics and the Beginning of The Great Gatsby

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pp. 74-96

In the density of its structure and the tight development of its plot, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby quickly moves the reader’s attention from one scene to another. It appears to privilege later sections, culminating in the drawn‑out epilogue with Nick Carraway’s night-thoughts on the beach of Long Island Sound at the end of the final chapter. By comparison, the opening scene of...

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3. The Great Gatsby: A View from Kant’s Window—Transatlantic Crosscurrents

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pp. 97-105

“There was nothing to look at from under the tree except Gatsby’s enormous house so I stared at it, like Kant at his church steeple, for half an hour” (GG 69). Nick Carraway’s reference to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) appears to be the most extraneous as well as the most arcane among the many references to actual persons, places, and incidents

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4. Once by the Atlantic: Nick Carraway’s Meditation on the Course of History and Its Ideological Context

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pp. 106-120

When in the summer of 1923 Fitzgerald began to revamp a first draft of the beginning of the manuscript of his third novel, his deliberate attempt to write “something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple intricately patterned” (Correspondence 112) eventually culminated in the act of moving his narrator’s vision of “the old island [. . .] that flowered once for...

Notes

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pp. 121-134

Bibliography

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pp. 135-148

Index

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pp. 149-154