The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald, photograph by Carl van Vechten , 1937
German first edition, Knaur, Berlin 1928

The great Gatsby (original title: The Great Gatsby ) is a 1925 first published novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald . He describes the experiences of a number of different people who spent the summer of 1922 in the fictional town of West Egg on Long Island, northeast of New York City. The main character is the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, who has loved the beautiful Daisy Buchanan for years, who married another man during his military service.

The great Gatsby is considered to be Fitzgerald's masterpiece , in which he deals with topics such as decadence, debauchery, idealism, resistance to change and social upheaval. He created an apt portrait of the so-called " Roaring Twenties ", the 1920s in the United States , which was characterized by economic growth, prohibition , crime, jazz and flappers .

Fitzgerald began working on this novel in 1923. He was inspired by the parties on Long Island, at which he was occasionally a guest. However, he made slow progress with work on the novel. Fitzgerald finished the first draft after moving to the Riviera with his wife Zelda in 1924. Maxwell Perkins , his editor at Scribner’s , found this first draft too vague and persuaded Fitzgerald to revise the manuscript. The novel was published in April 1925. Reviews were muted, with only 20,000 copies sold in the first few months after its release. When Fitzgerald died in 1940, he was convinced that his entire work would be forgotten.

His novels, and most notably The Great Gatsby , were rediscovered by a wider audience in the 1940s. The Great Gatsby is counted among the most important works of American modernism today . TS Eliot described it as the first step in the development of the American novel since Henry James . Time magazine ranked this Fitzgerald novel in the top 100 English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005, and the Modern Library listed it as number 2 of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century in 1998 . This made Fitzgerald the highest-ranking American on the list.


The now demolished Beacon Towers mansion on the north coast of Long Island is believed to be the property that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to describe Gatsby's estate.

The first-person narrator of the story is Nick Carraway, a young man who tried his hand at a securities dealer in New York in 1922 and moved into an old and humble house in West Egg on Long Island on the east coast of the United States. Jay Gatsby, the key figure in the novel, lives in the palatial house next door. Gatsby is a young millionaire and obscure businessman whose mysterious origins, unclear education and seemingly immeasurable wealth are the subject of many rumors. Although he throws lavish dance parties for New York society in his house, he is lonely, as it turns out in the course of the plot. At the bottom of his heart he wants to bring the past back and be back with the love of his life, Daisy. But in the time in which Gatsby as a soldier in France World War I fought, Daisy married the rough-ex- football - and current polo player Tom Buchanan, a reactionary millionaire from a wealthy family of the Midwest , with whom she now has a three year old daughter. The Buchanans live on the opposite side of the bay in East Egg. Tom has been cheating on his wife for a long time with Myrtle Wilson, the wife of a simple gas station owner.

Nick Carraway is a second cousin of Daisy and visits the couple on their estate at the beginning of the summer story. There he meets the young, attractive Jordan Baker, who is also a friend of Daisy's. Jordan is a self-confident, self-sufficient woman, quite personable, but with calculating traits. Nick and Jordan grow closer as the story progresses, but ultimately don't form a relationship.

With Jordan's and finally Nick's help, Gatsby meets his childhood sweetheart Daisy. Daisy is torn between her husband Tom Buchanan and Gatsby below. At a joint meeting of the protagonists, which ultimately leads to a trip in Tom and Gatsby's cars to New York, Tom realizes that he is in danger of losing Daisy to Gatsby. Thereupon a verbal exchange of blows develops between the two men, in which both claim Daisy's love for themselves. At the end of the argument, Tom sends Gatsby and Daisy home in anger.

On their way back, Myrtle Wilson, Tom's lover, runs into their car and is fatally injured. Daisy, who is at the wheel of the accident vehicle, drives on in a panic. Hours later, Gatsby will explain to Nick that he wants to take responsibility for the accident out of love for Daisy. Meanwhile, Tom gives Myrtle's distraught husband, George Wilson, the tip that Gatsby is the owner of the accident car. From this, Wilson concludes that Gatsby caused the accident, and the next morning he shoots Gatsby and then himself.

Nobody turns up at Gatsby's funeral except for the narrator Nick and Gatsby's father, Henry C. Gatz (Gatsby's real name was James Gatz), a mysterious stranger whom Nick and Jordan happened to meet months ago at one of Gatsby's riotous parties in the library where, while drunk, he admired the "authenticity" of the books in Gatsby's library.


Nick Carraway

Nick Carraway is the first-person narrator of the novel. He was born in 1892 and comes from Minnesota , a state in the American Midwest . Carraway attended the renowned Yale University and graduated there in 1915, fought in the First World War and after his return - after staying with his family - moved to the east coast of New York to begin his professional life there with stock and securities trading. He claims to be honest and reluctant to judge others. He is so reluctant in this regard that over the years, but especially during his studies, people close to him have entrusted him with their worries and secrets. This caution and passivity make him a good listener. The diligence with which he enters his new field of activity speaks for the fact that he is diligent and conscientious. He gets technical books and studies them thoroughly. It is hard to imagine that Gatsby ever considered such a theory. In professional life, however, Nick is not very ambitious, and in addition to the time he spends diligently learning the subject, he spends just as much time watching the goings on in the city, not without romantic ideas and not without a little self-pity. Nick Carraway goes to great lengths to identify himself as an honest, trustworthy narrator. Right at the beginning of his report, he states that, due to his honesty, he has already learned a lot in the course of his life without passing judgment. It would be entirely justified to certify that he has a good measure of snobbery here. On the positive side, this awareness of the fundamental variability of human activity means that Nick encounters every person anew and is still capable of being amazed. It is noticeable that his curiosity is very limited. He knows nothing about his neighbors and he does nothing in the course of the novel to change this situation. He just doesn't care about Gatsby's background. He leaves it all to time, with the result that he gets to know Gatsby better than anyone who tries to investigate him. Nick's origin is ambiguous. On the one hand, his family boasts of noble descent; on the other hand, according to Nick, it was actually his grandfather's brother, who was an able and respected businessman. Integrity and civil existence are opposed to the unlimited possibilities of the aristocratic image of man. He does not reveal the details of Nick's love affair with a girl back home in the West (we only know about her that his love for Jordan Baker - an affection that lacks any passion - is a continuation of this situation, as both women are portrayed as athletic ). The difference is that the relationship with Jordan belongs to the corrupted east and Jordan is a well-known figure.

Jay Gatsby

Jay Gatsby is a young rich man who lives in a luxurious mansion in West Egg. He is known for his weekly parties. However, nobody knows where he comes from or which business field he owes his wealth to. Nick learns that Gatsby was born James Gatz and is from North Dakota, where his parents owned a farm. As a young man he worked for the wealthy entrepreneur Dan Cody, whom he met by chance. Gatsby loathes poverty and longs for wealth and luxury. As a young officer he met Daisy and his pursuit of wealth was given a new impetus because he could only marry her if he was rich and successful. She promises to wait for him, but marries Tom Buchanan while Gatsby is in Oxford after the war. Now he is doing everything in his power to get Daisy back. He is ready to do anything to achieve this goal. His money, his house, his weekly parties are all means to this end. Gatsby is based on European values. After the failed attempt to get an education in the USA (he had only endured it in the small college in St Olaf, Minnesota, for only two weeks), he would like to study in Oxford after the war (whether he actually did it remains questionable, however ). Imports the latest shirts and cars from England; his house is modeled on a French Hôtel de Ville; and he acts like a nobleman. His "old sport" is also an imitation of the English upper class speech. Gatsby is considered generous and attentive among his partygoers, most of whom arguably never met him. One woman said she tore her dress at the last party and that Gatsby had a new dress sent to her within a week. Nick claims that when he smiled, you just liked Gatsby, and at the first party he realizes that Gatsby's characteristics, yes, his identity, depend on who you are talking to. The reader does not find out details about Gatsby's childhood until Chapter 6 and the final (admittedly only indirect) confirmation that he owes his fortune to unfair deals is not provided until Chapter 7. Gatsby's reputation always precedes him. He is surrounded by the rich and beautiful, but only occasionally shows himself. The reader learns little by little that he is a lovesick, sensitive young man who puts everything on the realization of a dream without realizing that this dream no longer makes such a commitment appear justified. Because Gatsby idealizes Daisy and she can't possibly live up to his ideas. His dream crumbles, Daisy will stay with her husband. Gatsby's optimism, vitality and individualism are broken by reality. Even though Nick sees something “gorgeous” in Gatsby's personality - and also in his possessions - (without that knowledge he would never have sat down to write the book), Gatsby shows some negative traits and is seen from everyone Admiration for his almost visionary abilities, he appears in places as a crook. Because he tries to force himself into a marriage, namely that of Tom and Daisy, for his own benefit; he associates with criminals; every year he receives a Christmas card from the - presumably corrupt - police chief (which favor Gatsby did him exactly is not explained, but it is easy to imagine that it had to do with alcohol); he owes his fortune to illegal transactions in which innocent people are believed to have been harmed; and after the terrible accident in which a woman is killed and in which he is complicit in the hit-and-run, his only worry is Daisy. When Nick sees him after the accident and asks what he's doing, he replies: "Just standing here, old sport." Like all characters in the novel, Gatsby tries to build an identity in the face of the homelessness of a society in upheaval. While Jordan Baker owes her reputation and fame to her athletic achievements on the golf course (although one gets the impression that this fame gives her little more than admission to the hip evening parties and access to the marriage market), Gatsby pursues a different strategy for herself orientate and give support: he reinvents himself. He is, so to speak, present in his own creation and appears as his own creator. This process becomes clear in the quote "The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself". The narrator's allusion to the Platonic doctrine of ideas is not just a mere proof of his education, but underpins "the imperturbability and immutability of Gatsby's ideal of the ego". Its self-conception is more than an illusion, it is “knowing conviction, an act of remembering the idea itself that the soul saw before it was bound to the body”. What is more, he is called the “son of God” and is therefore compared to Christ. In assessing the character of Gatsby, there are two positions that hardly seem compatible. On the one hand, Gatsby can be seen as a "comedian": When he expresses his feelings for Daisy by showing his possessions, it has a strange effect. On the other hand, he can be understood as a mythical figure of profundity and great expressiveness, as an embodiment and an expression of the American dream. What is remarkable is the ease with which Tom Buchanan manages to destroy Gatsby's identity in the Hotel Plaza. This win is anything but predictable as Tom seems to be at a disadvantage. He speaks hypocritically of marriage and family; he is condescending, even towards his wife. But his crude and almost random attack on Gatsby, which consists of calling him a criminal, is enough to completely destroy him. Gatsby's identity, made up of dreams and platitudes, shatters.

Daisy Buchanan

Actress Louise Brooks with the hairstyle and clothes characteristic of flappers

Daisy Buchanan (née Fay) is Nick's cousin. The beautiful young woman from a distinguished family (she is the daughter of a judge) was courted by many officers in her hometown, including Gatsby. She fell in love with him and promised to wait for his return from the war without realizing that he had faked his social position. But when the wealthy Tom Buchanan asked for her hand during Gatsby's absence, the woman in need of love couldn't resist. Daisy embodies everything that Gatsby longs for as a young man: she is charming and rich. Gatsby's memories of Daisy reveal that he may have fallen in love less with Daisy as a person and more with what she represents and her social standing. Nick also has an eye for the beauty of Daisy's face, but also for the dark side: “Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it”. Special mention is made of Daisy's voice, which is emphasized as a leitmotif, is exciting and vocal-like. It seems like you have to surrender to that voice when you hear it, and you don't just listen to it to understand the words, but follow the ups and downs of the melodic song. The voice is "thrilling", as Nick notes, who is charmed by it. Gatsby is also receptive to the magic of Daisy's voice, but it is noteworthy that his interest is not in her elusive nature, but in what she represents: "Her voice is full of money", as if everything was realized in Daisy's voice he longs. The reader gets to know Daisy through a filter, namely through Nick's impressions and judgments. Nick is taken with her voice, but then speaks of the fundamental insincerity of her utterances. After the evening with Jordan and Daisy, he has the feeling that this time had only one purpose: to lure Nick out of his emotional reserve. In reality, Daisy is superficial and cynical. Nick perceives a feigned commitment to her. She lives in boredom and, according to her own account, has already seen everything and has been everywhere. Aimlessness shapes her life in luxury. These qualities, which Gatsby evidently misses, catch the narrator's eye immediately. He also knows that people like Daisy and Tom will always hide behind their money when something goes wrong. Daisy's dealings with her daughter Pammy are indicative of her emotional emptiness. Accompanied by the nanny, Pammy appears like something coincidental and incidental, is admired by her mother, only to disappear again a minute later. Gatsby himself is so surprised by the child's appearance that Nick suspects that he did not really believe in its existence. Daisy wishes for her daughter that she would be beautiful, but also stupid and inexperienced: "I hope she'll be a fool - that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." This is Daisy speaking of yourself. If you are beautiful and not particularly intelligent, you have more fun in life, so the motto, which may be a result of Daisy's socialization as a sheltered higher daughter. She has never been more than a wealthy beauty. This attitude also has a dark side: It probably represents a survival strategy in an unhappy marriage. Like almost everyone involved, Daisy is not upset by the accident. Gatsby watches while Tom and Daisy, in a moment of conjugal intimacy over a meal together, seem to be making plans for the future, knowing that Gatsby's doom is sealed. Daisy expresses no concern about Gatsby being behind the wheel. She is not present at Gatsby's funeral.

Thomas Buchanan

Thomas Tom Buchanan is a strong, athletic man who excelled at university especially in American football and will probably never reach such heights again. He comes from a very wealthy family and his wealth shapes his life. For the wedding, he gives Daisy a pearl necklace worth $ 350,000, which Daisy wants to throw away. Tom exudes arrogance and aggressiveness. These character traits are very closely related to his physical appearance. He is muscular and Nick has the impression of a cruel, violent body, "a cruel body". Daisy speaks of her husband in an ambiguous way, in which his strength is connoted negatively: "a brute of a man, a great big hulking physical specimen of a -". But she is interrupted by Tom, who disapproves of the word "hulking", which means "massive and hulking". Despite his fortune and possessions, not to mention his beautiful wife and little daughter, Tom is dissatisfied. He looks like a homeless person. As a couple, the Buchanans have wandered aimlessly. They always stay where other realms are to pursue some pastime with their kind, such as polo, for which Tom has his own stable. It's no different in East Egg. If Nick may have imagined that he would find the pinnacle of American culture among the Buchanans, whom he has not seen for a few years, he will initially encounter a confirmation of their reputation for their property and lifestyle: the well-tended garden, the beauty of the house , dinner and finally the sophisticated topic of conversation that makes the hillbilly Nick, who comes from the west, jokingly ask whether they might prefer to talk about agricultural issues. But behind this facade, abysses open up, and after the first visit to Tom and Daisy, Nick realizes that their world is anything but intact. His unspoken recommendation to Daisy: leave the house as quickly as possible with the child in your arms. Tom's first appearance is telling: Nick evokes a light scene in which Daisy and Jordan seem to float decoratively and lazily on the huge couch. Tom Buchanan's entry puts an abrupt end to this: "Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains, and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor. “Tom's action makes the two women float back to the ground and demystifies the little scene that might have aroused romantic expectations in Nick. Apart from his threatening physical presence, Tom is also racist and hypocritical and lacks any education. His affair with Myrtle is a natural part of his lifestyle and he has absolutely no hesitation in introducing her to Nick (which is also due to the fact that he is heavily drunk at the time). But when he learns that Gatsby and Daisy are lovers, he gets angry and challenges a confrontation. He's probably always cheated on his wife. A few months after the marriage he was embroiled in a scandal. At the end he expresses his self-pity in a disgusting way on the street: The sight of the dog biscuits when the New York apartment was closed moved him to tears.

More figures

  • Jordan Baker is friends with Daisy. Over the course of the summer, Nick enters into a romantic relationship with her that seems to be devoid of any passion. At the first encounter, you notice their apathy. She hardly speaks and Nick registers her somewhat condescending head position. When he realizes that it is the well-known sportswoman whose "pleasing contemptuous expression" he knows from many magazines, he remembers something unpleasant from her past that went through the newspapers; but he does not remember the details. Nick later describes her as “clean, hard, limited person” and emphasizes her cynicism. She represents a new type of woman typical of the 1920s: boyish, selfish and emancipated. However, this emancipation also has to do with the fact that Jordan has no one to take care of her. Her family consists of "an aunt about a thousand years old," as Daisy notes. Like Daisy Buchanan, Jordan is not shaken by Myrtle Wilsons' death: A few hours after the accident, Jordan Baker is ready to have fun again. She touches Nick on the arm and invites him in. "It's only half past nine," she says as if nothing had happened and the only possible obstacle to a fun evening is the passage of time.
  • George B. Wilson is a mechanic and runs a gas station and auto repair shop on Long Island, which provides him and his wife Myrtle with a modest income. It is only in the last third of the novel that he realizes that Myrtle is in an extramarital relationship. Tom Buchanan describes George Wilson as so stupid that he doesn't even know he's alive . After Myrtle's accidental death, he shoots Jay Gatsby, whom he falsely suspects of causing his wife's death, and then commits suicide.
  • Myrtle Wilson is married to George Wilson and is Tom Buchanan's long-time lover. She exudes passionate vitality and is desperately looking for a way out of her boring and childless marriage. When she happens to see Tom Buchanan with Jordan Baker, she reacts with jealousy because she thinks Jordan Baker is Tom's wife. A little later she sees his car driving along the street where the gas station is. Full of expectation, she walks towards the car she thinks is Toms. She is run over by Daisy Buchanan, who controls the car, and dies instantly of her injuries. Myrtle has a sister named Catherine, who, unlike her, leads an independent life.
  • Meyer Wolfshiem (from the second English-language edition Wolfsheim written) is a friend and mentor of Gatsby. He is described as a "small, flat-nosed Jew" with a "big head" and distinctive nose hair. In a conversation with Nick Carraway, Gatsby describes him as a betting cheater who, among other things, manipulated the results of the World Series in 1919. Wolfshiem is the one who picked up the impoverished Gatsby after his discharge from the military and enabled him to amass his fortune through alcohol smuggling. Wolfshiem only appears twice in the novel. The second time, Carraway tries desperately to persuade Wolfshiem to attend Gatsby's funeral. Wolfshiem refuses, although he has previously emphasized the close friendship with Gatsby, on the grounds that he does not want to be drawn into anything. Fitzgerald makes Wolfshiem's ​​contacts to New York's criminal world clear by letting him tell the true story of the shooting of "Herman 'Rosy' Rosenthals".

History of origin

The first novel Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise ( This Side of Paradise ) was published in late March 1920. It was discussed very well from the literary criticism, the sales success called Fitzgerald's biographer Scott Donaldson as remarkable by any standards. The portrait of the young generation after the end of the First World War and in particular of the flappers and their emancipated way of life made the 23-year-old Fitzgerald famous in a short time. Fitzgerald's first collection of Flappers and Philosophers short stories . which appeared in September 1920, was also successful. Fitzgerald, however, did not attach great importance to his short stories. For him they were essentially a livelihood that financed his work on the next novel. He wanted recognition as an influential and important writer, which from his point of view could only be achieved through the publication of further novels. The Beautiful and Damned ( The Beautiful and Damned ), Scott Fitzgerald's second novel, and the stories from the jazz era ( Tales of the Jazz Age ) published in 1922. The Beautiful and Damned was longer and in a tone of sober than This Side of Paradise. The novel received relatively good reviews and also sold with moderate success. In literary terms, however, this novel was neither so perfect that Fitzgerald could establish himself as one of the most important authors of his time, nor were the sales figures high enough that Fitzgerald could forego writing short stories and articles.

Maxwell Perkins, the editor who oversaw Fitzgerald at Scribners Publishing

In June 1922, Fitzgerald began drafting the plot of a third novel. As early as July of that year he told his editor Maxwell Perkins :

"I want to write something new - something very extraordinary and beautiful and simple + interwoven complex."

In the same year the family moved to Great Neck on Long Island . A number of the new rich from show business lived in Great Neck, while on the other side of the bay, in Manhasset Neck, there were mostly families who had already made their fortune in the 19th century. In The Great Gatsby , Great Neck and Manhasset Neck became the two places West Egg and East Egg, whose respective inhabitants differed from one another in the same way. Fitzgerald's neighbors in Great Neck included personalities from the media and show business such as Ring Lardner , vaudeville comedian and producer Lew Fields, and Ed Wynn . However, alcohol smugglers such as Max Gerlach also lived there, who ostentatiously demonstrated his wealth and who possibly served as a model for the character of Jay Gatsby. What is certain is that Fitzgerald discussed this person with his friend, literary critic Edmund Wilson . Around the same time as the move to Long Island, the press began to report a scandal in which Arnold Rothstein played a role. Rothstein was a notorious gambler and mobster , who is attributed to the Kosher Nostra and served as a model for the figure of Meyer Wolfshiem.

Almost exactly 12 months after Fitzgerald began drafting a novel, he began drafting the novel. However, he interrupted the work because he was working from September 1923 to bring his play "The Vegetable" ("Das Gemüse") on stage. The play was unsuccessful and Fitzgerald found himself forced to write short stories from the winter of 1923 to the spring of 1924 to pay off his debts from the failed theater production.

In April 1924 Fitzgerald was able to concentrate on working on the novel again. Perkins and Fitzgerald met occasionally during this time, which is why the correspondence between them does not provide complete information about the development process of the novel. On April 7, 1924, Perkins wrote to Fitzgerald that he was not convinced of the title "Between heaps of ash and millionaires", on April 16, Perkins announced in another letter to Fitzgerald that he had always considered "The Great Gatsby" to be one suggestive and effective title, whereby, according to the literary scholar Bruccoli, the use of the word "always" indicates that the version from 1923 already had this title at least temporarily. Fitzgerald was not satisfied with the title of the novel until it was published and was considering other alternatives as it went to press. From the correspondence with Maxell Perkins we also know that Fitzgerald rejected large parts of his first draft. However, he used parts of it for the short story "Absolution" ("Forgiveness"), which he sold to the magazine "The American Mercury".

Work on the novel largely came to a standstill in early summer 1924 when the Fitzgeralds and their daughter Scottie moved to the French Riviera. There, Zelda Fitzgerald began an affair with the French pilot Edouard Jozan, which estranged the couple. In August, however, Fitzgerald again worked hard on the draft novel and in October 1924 sent the manuscript he believed to be finished to his editor Maxwell Perkins and his literary agent Harold Ober. On November 20, 1924, Perkins responded with a long, careful analysis of the design. Perkins found the figure of Gatsby too vague, he also criticized a lengthy explanation of Gatsby's biography in Chapter 8 and suggested to Fitzgerald that details about Gatsby's life path should only gradually be disclosed in the course of the story and also the source of his wealth. Fitzgerald, who was in Rome at the time, replied to Perkins' letter on December 1, 1924 and assured Perkins that he would take up his suggestions. Fitzgerald later generously gave Perkins a significant influence on the narrative structure of "The Great Gatsby".

On February 18, 1925, Fitzgerald sent the proofs he had finally revised back to Perkins. Fitzgerald had revised Chapters 6 and 8 in particular. On April 10, 1925, The Great Gatsby was published. Perkins wired Fitzgerald on April 20 that the reviews were good, but sales of the book were sluggish. The first edition in April had only 20,870 copies, a second edition in August of the same year was limited to 3,000 copies. During Fitzgerald's lifetime, only the British publishing house Chatto & Windus and the American publishing house Modern Library each still printed one edition. Fitzgerald justified the low sales success in a letter to Perkins in April 1925 with the only partially successful title and the lack of an important female figure. Around the same time, he explained in a letter to Edmund Wilson that the flaw in the novel was that it had failed to adequately capture the emotional relationship between Gatsby and Daisy in the period between their reunion and the final catastrophe.


In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald deals with the social change in US society after the First World War and creates his central theme in a brilliant style: "The contradictions of the ' American Dream ', the pursuit of happiness, success and wealth in a consumer society. ” Fitzgerald thematizes the appreciation of people in relation to morality and social status against the background of the relationship and marriage image of that time. As a powerful description of the Roaring Twenties , the novel is now considered a Great American Novel . The Great Gatsby was the last novel that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote before the start of the Great Depression in 1929, the Roaring Twenties put an end. The literary historian Peter Conn points out that Fitzgerald felt a striking connection to this era. Fitzgerald later wrote of his early literary successes that they were as unnatural as the economic boom of the 1920s. His experiences afterward - alcoholism, a failed marriage, attempted suicide, and his wife's insanity - paralleled the wave of desperation that swept the nation when the boom was over.

In addition to socially critical aspects, the novel also illuminates psychological facets. Gatsby is inspired by the dream of winning Daisy back. Ultimately, he understands his wealth only as a means to an end - as is clear in many places in the novel. After all, Gatsby is even ready to take responsibility for the accident caused by the woman he loved. Unlike most of the other characters in the novel, especially the first-person narrator, Gatsby appears to be capable of real love. But it is precisely this that ultimately leads him into the abyss.

At the end of the story, Nick Carraway also blames the attitudes of the Midwestern people for Gatsby's failure:

"I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all - Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life."

Translations into German

  • Maria Lazar , Th. Knaur Nachf., Berlin 1928.
  • Walter Schürenberg, Blanvalet, Berlin 1953; Diogenes, Zurich 1974.
  • Bettina Abarbanell , Zurich 2007.
  • Reinhard Kaiser , Insel, Berlin 2011
  • Lutz-W. Wolff, dtv, Munich 2001.
  • Kai Kilian, Anaconda, Cologne 2011.
  • Johanna Ellsworth, Nikol, Hamburg 2011.
  • Hans-Christian Oeser , Reclam, Stuttgart 2012

Film adaptations

The great Gatsby has been filmed several times:

Audio books

Musical implementation


In the double episode 608/609 of the animated series The Simpsons (28th season, first broadcast on January 15, 2017) with the title The Great Phatsby , motifs from Fitzgerald's novel are transferred to the world of contemporary rap millionaires.

Secondary literature

  • Harald Bloom (Ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby . New York 2006, ISBN 0-7910-8580-5 .
  • Matthew J. Bruccoli (Ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" . Gale, Detroit 2000, ISBN 0-7876-3128-0 .
  • Michael Hoenisch: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. In: Edgar Lohner (ed.): The American novel in the 19th and 20th centuries · Interpretations . Schmidt Verlag Berlin 1974, ISBN 3-503-00515-3 , pp. 173-190.
  • Theodor Klimek: Fitzgerald • The Great Gatsby . In: Hans-Joachim Lang (Hrsg.): The American novel: from the beginnings to the present . Bagel, Düsseldorf 1971. ISBN 3-513-02213-1 , pp. 219-248.
  • James E. Miller Jr .: F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby". In: Gerhard Hoffmann (Ed.): American Literature of the 20th Century Volume 1 . Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1972, ISBN 3-436-01444-3 , pp. 104-124.
  • Dagmar Pohlenz, Richard Martin: F. Scott Fitzgerald · "The Great Gatsby" · Interpretations and Suggestions for Teaching. In: Peter Freese (Ed.): Texts for English and American Studies · Volume 14. Schöningh Verlag Paderborn 1986, ISBN 3-506-41092-X .
  • Ruth Prigozy (Ed.): The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2002, ISBN 0-521-62474-6 .
  • Frauke Frausing Vosshage: F. Scott Fitzgerald: Der große Gatsby (The Great Gatsby). 3. Edition. Bange Verlag, Hollfeld 2007, ISBN 978-3-8044-1792-2 . (King's Explanations and Materials (Vol. 389))
  • Nicolas Tredell: Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby . Continuum International Publishing Group, New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-8264-9011-7 .
  • John S. Whitley: F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby . " Arnold, London 1976, ISBN 0-7131-5872-7 .
  • Peter von Matt : The dance of death of the Roaring Twenties . In: Peter von Matt: Seven kisses. Happiness and unhappiness in literature. Hanser, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-446-25462-6 , pp. 53-73.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Peter Conn: Literature in America - An Illustrated History. Cambridge University Press, London 1989, ISBN 0-521-30373-7 , p. 389. The original quote is : .. the first step the American Novel has taken since Henry James :
  3. Monica Randall: The Mansions of Long Island's Gold Coast . Rizzoli, 2003, ISBN 0-8478-2649-X , pp. 275-277.
  4. The Great Gatsby, Chapter II. In the original Tom Buchanan describes him as … so tumb he doesn't know he's alive .
  5. ^ Scott Donaldson: Fitzgerald's nonfiction in Pregozy (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald . 2002, p. 165. The original quote is: “By any standard, the sales of This Side of Paradise was remarkable. Its portrayal of the younger generation, and particularly of the flappet and her liberated ways, made the twenty-three-year-old famous overnight. "
  6. Bloom: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby . 2006, p. 11.
  7. Tredell: Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby . 2007, p. 6.
  8. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference . 2002, p. 53. The original quote is: "I want to write something 'new' - something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned".
  9. Tredell: Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby . 2007, p. 7.
  10. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference . 2002, p. 53.
  11. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference . 2002, p. 53.
  12. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference . 2002, p. 53.
  13. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference . 2002, p. 53. The original line from Perkins to Fitzgerald reads: “I always thought that 'The Great Gatsby' was a suggestive and effective title ....”
  14. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference. 2002, p. 53 and p. 54.
  15. Pregozy (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald . 2002, XIX.
  16. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference. 2002, p. 54 and p. 55.
  17. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference. 2002, p. 55.
  18. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference. 2002, p. 56.
  19. Bruccoli (ed.): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - A Literary Reference. 2002, p. 56.
  20. ^ Brockhaus encyclopedia , literature - writers, works, epochs, technical terms. 2nd Edition. Leipzig / Mannheim 2004, ISBN 3-7653-0351-8 .
  21. ^ Peter Conn: Literature in America - An Illustrated History. Cambridge University Press, London 1989, ISBN 0-521-30373-7 , p. 389. The original quote reads : .. unnatural - unnatural as the boom. [...] my recent experience parallel the wave of despair that swept the nation when the boom was over.
  22. In German, for example: “I now see in retrospect that this was a story of the [Midwest] - Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, we were all Westerners, and perhaps we lacked something overall that made us incapable made to adapt to life in the East. "