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.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Great Gatsby, “Discontinued Title”

"As the cover of this 1934 Modern Library edition stamped “Discontinued Title” suggests, The Great Gatsby was never a commercial success during Fitzgerald’s lifetime. In a 1936 letter to the series’ editor, Bennett Cerf, Fitzgerald blamed Gatsby’s failure on its size, noting consumers’ preference for bulky books. Eleven years after its first publication, Fitzgerald estimated that The Great Gatsby had sold fewer than 25,000 copies in America, excluding the weak sales of the Modern Library edition. Fitzgerald suggested Cerf include the weightier Tender Is the Night alongside Gatsby in the Modern Library line (Letters, pp. 557-558). However, as this cover shows, Modern Library not only declined to pick up Tender, the publisher also discontinued Gatsby.

"The Modern Library reprint is noteworthy for Fitzgerald’s introduction, which includes his defense of his subject matter: “. . . I had recently been kidded half haywire by critics who felt that my material was such as to preclude all dealing with mature persons in a mature world. But, my God! it was my material, and it was all I had to deal with” (p. ix)."
This is from the F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary website which was launched in 1996, the 100th anniversary of his birth. The site is designed to increase awareness of a great American writer and to celebrate his writings, his life, and his relationship with other writers of the twentieth century. The website draws extensively on books, photographs, and related materials in the Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald at at the Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina. GO HERE to enjoy this amazing resource.

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