The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
By TIME Staff
April 10, 2015

The main book review in the May 11, 1925, issue of TIME earned several columns of text, with an in-depth analysis of the book’s significance and the author’s background.

But, nearly a century later, you’ve probably never heard of Mr. Tasker’s Gods, by T.F. Powys, much less read it.

Meanwhile, another book reviewed in the issue, earning a single paragraph relegated to the second page of the section, has gone down in history as one of the most important works in American literature — and, to many, the great American novel. It was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, published exactly 90 years ago, on April 10, 1925.

TIME’s original review, though noting Fitzgerald’s talent, gave little hint of the fame waiting for the book:

THE GREAT GATSBY—F. Scott Fitzgerald—Scribner—($2.00).

Still the brightest boy in the class, Scott Fitzgerald holds up his hand. It is noticed that his literary trousers are longer, less bell-bottomed, but still precious. His recitation concerns Daisy Fay who, drunk as a monkey the night before she married Tom Buchanan, muttered: “Tell ’em all Daisy’s chang’ her mind.” A certain penniless Navy lieutenant was believed to be swimming out of her emotional past. They gave her a cold bath, she married Buchanan, settled expensively at West Egg, L. I., where soon appeared one lonely, sinister Gatsby, with mounds of mysterious gold, ginny habits and a marked influence on Daisy. He was the lieutenant, of course, still swimming. That he never landed was due to Daisy’s baffled withdrawal to the fleshly, marital mainland. Due also to Buchanan’s disclosure that the mounds of gold were ill-got. Nonetheless, Yegg Gatsby remained Daisy’s incorruptible dream, unpleasantly removed in person toward the close of the book by an accessory in oil-smeared dungarees.

But not everyone had trouble seeing the future: in a 1933 cover story about Gertrude Stein, the intellectual icon offered her prognostications on the literature of her time. F. Scott Fitzgerald, she told TIME, “will be read when many of his well known contemporaries are forgotten.”

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