A Classics Challenge hosted by Katherine of November’s Autumn is underway.
The plan is to read, and write about, seven classics in 2012.
On the 4th day of every month, Katherine will be posting a prompts to encourage discussion …
“Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they’ve written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?”
I’m reading The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.
Who was he? Let’s consult GoodReads:
“Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled “Lost Generation,” Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfinished, and wrote dozens of short stories that treat themes of youth, despair, and age.”
Enough to place him. But I don’t want to think about the author too much as I read, I want to focus simply on the book. When I’m done though, I would like to read more about the man and his milieu. Any recommendations?
I first encountered Fitzgerald when I was fourteen. I was at school, exams had finished but there were still a couple of weeks of term left. The weather was warm, nobody was too inclined to study, and so our English teacher decided to show us a film of a classic novel.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.
I’ve no idea why she picked that film – we had been studying D H Lawrence and Thomas Hardy – I can only assume that she had a limited choice, or that she particularly loved the film.
I fell in love with a period, a style, a world I hadn’t know existed.
This Side of Paradise (1920)
The Beautiful and Damned (1922)
The Great Gatsby (1925)
Tender Is the Night (1934)
The Last Tycoon (1941)
Just the five.
And then I put him to one side.
Until a few months ago when I began thinking about rereading some classics. And I thought Fitzgerald should go on the list, that I should see if he really was that good, or if a shy, small-town teenager has simply been bedazzled.
The Great Gatsby is a small book and it would be easy to race through the pages, but I am deliberately taking it slowly and giving myself time to think.
I think it will be an approach that is pays dividends …