READ GATSBY-DISCUSS GATSBY is the blog to go to if you are part of The Big Read. In addition to Vigo County, Indiana, the following communities have been selected to participate in The Big Read and have chosen The Great Gatsby as the book they will be reading: Libertyville, IL, Sioux City, IA, Craven, Pamlico and Carteret counties of NC, Newark, OH and Charlottesville, VA. All are invited to post comments and questions on The Great Gatsby and The Big Read on this blog. At READ GATSBY-DISCUSS GATSBY we agree with F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.”

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Can You Tell a Book By Its Cover?

"Francis Cugats painting for F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby is the most celebrated and widely disseminated jacket art in twentieth-century American literature, and perhaps of all time (see above). After appearing on the first printing in 1925, it was revived more than a half-century later for the Scribner Library paperback edition in 1979; more than two decades (and several million copies) later it may be seen in classrooms of virtually every high school and college throughout the country. Like the novel it embellishes, this Art Deco tour-de-force has firmly established itself as a classic. At the same time, it represents a most unusual, in my view, unique form of collaboration between author and jacket artist. Under normal circumstances, the artist illustrates a scene or motif conceived by the author; he lifts, as it were, his image from a page of the book. In this instance, however, the artists image preceded the finished manuscript and Fitzgerald actually maintained that he had written it into his book. But what precisely did he mean by this claim?"

Read the full and fascinating article on Cugat's cover art for the first edition of Gatsby, "Celestial Eyes: From Metamorphosis to Masterpiece" by Charles Scribner III GO HERE.

The challenging question Scribner poses remains: ". . .
Fitzgerald actually maintained that he had 'written it [the cover art] into' his book. But what precisely did he mean by this claim?"

Comments and interpretations welcomed.

1 comment:

mainewriter said...

Wow! This is amazing. (Both the blog and the info about the cover.) Thank you.


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