It was on this day in 1925 that F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby was published. Fitzgerald was 28 years old at the time. He'd just produced a play called The Vegetable (1923), which was a big flop. So he sailed with his wife, Zelda, to France in May of 1924. He found that he could see America better from a distance, and he began to write his novel about a wealthy bootlegger named Jay Gatsby, who wears pink suits and throws extravagant parties and is obsessed with winning back the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan.
Fitzgerald worked on the novel every day that summer, writing in pencil, drinking Coca-Cola and gin, and reading Keats whenever he needed inspiration. He struggled with the title and considered calling it "Under the Red, White and Blue," "Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires," and "The High-Bouncing Lover." When he sent the first draft to his editor Maxwell Perkins, just five months after he'd started writing, he thought it should be called "Trimalchio in West Egg" or just "Trimalchio." Perkins suggested The Great Gatsby.
Happy anniversary to one of my favorite novels.
Happy anniversary to Nick, one of my favorite literary narrators.
Thank you, F. Scott Fitzgerald, for the hope that is the green light.