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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gatsby Brings Fitzgerald to New Generation

Written by Jon Williams

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic 1925 novel, has been adapted for film numerous times, most notably in 1974. In that film, Robert Redford portrayed the mysterious title character who has amassed a vast fortune with the sole purpose of winning the love of Daisy Buchanan. Mia Farrow plays the object of Gatsby’s affection (although “obsession” may be a more accurate word).

Now, a new adaptation is coming to theaters, this time starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the eponymous role and also featuring Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, and Tobey Maguire. This version is directed by Baz Luhrmann, who brought another classic literary work to life with 1996’s Romeo + Juliet. Luhrmann updated Shakespeare’s work for modern times, noted for its soundtrack of modern rock and pop music. Luhrmann doesn’t bring Gatsby from the 1920s into the 2010s, but he did opt for a modern sound, bringing in Jay-Z to supervise the film’s score and populate the soundtrack with an eclectic, contemporary sound.

Although Gatsby is far and away Fitzgerald’s most heralded work, it is by no means his only one. He finished three other novels (This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, and Tender Is the Night), and left one (The Love of the Last Tycoon) unfinished at his death in 1940. He also published a great deal of short fiction. The 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was based on one of his short stories. Fitzgerald, who coined the term “Jazz Age” to refer to the 1920s, is considered one of the most influential writers of that time.

With the new version of Gatsby coming to theaters on May 10, interest in Fitzgerald is sure to be at an all-time high. Be sure to have his other titles on your shelves for your patrons to explore and enjoy. (And also point them to Z by Therese Anne Fowler, a new, fictionalized account of Fitzgerald’s relationship with his wife, Zelda.)

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