Described as "the great American novel", The Great Gatsby has become a standard text for generations of American students and one of the most beloved books of all time.


Francis Scott Fitzgerald began writing the novel in 1923, basing its setting and characters on his own experiences living on Long Island, New York at the time. The early 1920's were the heyday of American wealth and excess, and Long Island was where New York's wealthiest resided in opulant mansions. Although the prohibition banning the sale of alcohol was in effect, that did not stop the partying lifestyle of the young well-to-do socialites of Long Island, who kicked up their heels at privately hosted parties. Fashion, alcohol, jazz were the order of the day (an age that was brought to an abrupt end with the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression).


Fitzgerald finished the draft after he moved to France, and completed the editorial revisions whilst living in Rome. There were several proposals for the title of the book, with Fitzgerald himself not all that keen on the title The Greaty Gatsby, but influence from his wife, Zelda, and his editor, Maxwell Perkins, led him to accept the title "as fair, rather bad than good". It was published in 1925 by Charles Scribner's Sons, being Fitzgerald's third novel.


Although well received at the time, it was not until after Fitzgerald's death in 1940 that the book exploded in popularity. Today it is recognised as a classic American novel, and has led to several screen adaptations. It is set for yet another big screen adaptation with Baz Luhrmann's 3D release in mid-2013.


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