This article examines Nick Carraway as an author surrogate who directs critical attention to revisions by F. Scott Fitzgerald of his “authorial masculinity,” a quantity found wanting by critics of his previous works in highly gendered language. Seeking to cultivate critical esteem from advocates of the modernist avant-garde, Fitzgerald created his partially involved narrator to redress criticisms of his lack of manly objectivity and intellectual authority, and his “womanish” romanticism. Nick showcases toughminded authorial traits framed as masculine in the text, distinctly modernist capabilities dramatized through an analytical focus on the value of romanticism itself, personified in Gatsby. Nick performs Fitzgerald’s own impersonal mastery of the paradox of “American” romanticism, illusory and fatal, yet a motive force for human endeavor that the novel famously types as a national characteristic. The article suggests how Nick’s performance may have been crucial in helping Fitzgerald achieve the critical esteem underlying his current canonicity.


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pp. 189-212
Launched on MUSE
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