F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Fiction
“An Almost Theatrical Innocence”
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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The present book completes a trilogy examining the work of four writers, each of whom, I contend, had been influenced in a special way by Platonic idealism. The first two volumes—The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story and Hart Crane’s Poetry: “Appollinaire lived in Paris...
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I want to thank my friend and colleague Professor Howard Egeth of the Psychology Department at the Johns Hopkins University for originally suggesting to me during lunch one day at the Hopkins Club that, given my interest in the social theatricality of interpersonal relationships in Fitzgerald’s fiction...
Chapter One: Compensating Visions in The Great Gatsby
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Like many readers of my generation, I first became a fan of Fitzgerald’s fiction when I read The Great Gatsby in college. At the time I thought it was the best book I had ever read, and indeed at the time it probably was. Some fifty years later, it is still one of my favorite American...
Chapter Two: Fitzgerald as a Southern Writer
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At one point in my working life I moved from a city in the northeast to a town in the deep South and from teaching American literature to editing a magazine. I hadn’t been in my office at the Georgia Review for more than a week when I received a phone call from the university’s...
Chapter Three: The Importance of “Repose”
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Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved American popular songs, particularly those of the “golden age” of American music: the songs of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s—that favored period when jazz and popular music ran for a time in the same channel before separating in the late 1940s...
Chapter Four: “An Almost Theatrical Innocence”
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Jay Gatsby, as James Gatz’s Platonic “ideal self,” must, I have suggested, be objectified for others, must, in effect, be performed in order for it to become actual. And having invoked Sartre’s Being and Nothingness to examine the existential aspect of the self as a being-for-others created by the...
Chapter Five: Fitzgerald and the Mythical Method
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One aspect of The Great Gatsby that entered my consciousness with my first reading of the novel and intrigued me ever after—though I could not have stated it clearly at the time and only became aware of its importance retrospectively—was the trope of self-invention embodied by...
Chapter Six: On the Son’s Own Terms
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This concludes the third book of a trilogy devoted to the works of four writers—Poe and Borges in the first volume, Hart Crane in the second, and Fitzgerald here. The rationale for this grouping is my contention that these writers’ works share, to a greater or lesser degree, an...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2014