Cover image for So we read on : how The Great Gatsby came to be and why it endures
Title:
So we read on : how The Great Gatsby came to be and why it endures
Author:
Corrigan, Maureen, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2014.
Physical Description:
342 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm
Summary:
"The "Fresh Air" book critic investigates the enduring power of The Great Gatsby -- "The Great American Novel we all think we've read, but really haven't." Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, it's now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald's masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power. Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great-and utterly unusual-So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel's hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby's surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a "classic, " and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender. With rigor, wit, and infectious enthusiasm, Corrigan inspires us to re-experience the greatness of Gatsby and cuts to the heart of why we are, as a culture, "borne back ceaselessly" into its thrall. Along the way, she spins a new and fascinating story of her own"--
Language:
English
Contents:
Water, water, everywhere -- "In the land of ambition and success" -- Rhapsody in noir -- A second-rate, Midwest hack and the masterpiece he wrote -- "Here lies one whose name was writ in water" -- "I didn't get it the first time."
ISBN:
9780316230070
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
PS3511.I9 G83196 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

The "Fresh Air" book critic investigates the enduring power of The Great Gatsby -- "The Great American Novel we all think we've read, but really haven't."

Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, it's now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald's masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power.

Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great-and utterly unusual- So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel's hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby's surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a "classic," and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender.

With rigor, wit, and infectious enthusiasm, Corrigan inspires us to re-experience the greatness of Gatsby and cuts to the heart of why we are, as a culture, "borne back ceaselessly" into its thrall. Along the way, she spins a new and fascinating story of her own.


Author Notes

Maureen Corrigan is the book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, the Critic-in-Residence at Georgetown University, and winner of the Edgar Award for Criticism. She is the author of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading (Random House, 2005).




Reviews 4

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures (a take on the novel's last line: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past), Maureen Corrigan book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University, and author of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading (2005) attempts to fathom the perpetual fascination of F. Scott Fitzgerald's inexhaustible 1925 masterpiece. A slim yet saturated and gorgeously written book in which every element resonates, it is our Greatest American Novel and a book Corrigan unabashedly loves. Corrigan's immersion in Fitzgerald's novel inspires a dazzling literary appraisal of his assiduously polished, innovatively modern and urban language with its hard-boiled tone. And the word immersion is apt, given all the water imagery Corrigan highlights. She also quotes a letter from Fitzgerald to his daughter with the line: All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath. Like Nafisi, Corrigan pinpoints restlessness as a quintessential American quality, one she perceives in Fitzgerald's knowing depiction of New York City, the great mecca for dreamers with its promise of freedom, new identities, success, and unsentimental sex. She explains why she considers The Great Gatsby to be America's greatest novel about class as well as the vanquishing of God and the worship of idols in the aftermath of WWI, the fantasy that one can truly reinvent one's self, the grandeur of longing, and the spell of illusion. Fitzgerald, Corrigan writes, appreciated the doomed beauty of trying and roamed his own inner geography of yearning. Biographical currents run strongly throughout Corrigan's many-branched, stimulating, and beautifully crafted inquiry. Corrigan marvels over the almost eerie predictive quality of The Great Gatsby and makes sure we appreciate its overlooked humor, intricate patterns, and density of symbols, at every turn replenishing our amazement over its flow, sparkle, and shadow. She glides gracefully from the glimmering depths of the novel to the harsh light on land, where it was forgotten soon after it was published until it was gradually reclaimed, resurrected, and acclaimed, the subject for ongoing discussions both private and in classrooms and book groups, cinematic variations, and even merchandising. Corrigan's research was as intrepid as her analysis is ardent and expert, and she brings fact, thought, feelings, and personal experiences together in a buoyant, illuminating, and affecting narrative about one depthless novel, the transforming art of reading, and the endless tides that tumble together life and literature.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Mixing criticism with memoir, NPR book critic Corrigan (Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading) contends that F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great American Novel is greater than we think. According to Corrigan, we were too young to appreciate The Great Gatsby when we read it in high school; we were dead to its themes of nostalgia and regret, overlooked its trenchant social critique, and mistook it for a love story. (Corrigan is adamant that we miss the point if we ask whether Daisy ever loved Gatsby.) To reintroduce and reassess a masterpiece, Corrigan visits the book's Long Island setting, Fitzgerald's grave, and a high school English class. Most illuminating, though, is her research into Gatsby's reception: in the Library of Congress, she investigates how the novel, unheralded on its publication in 1925, became part of the canon by the 1960s. (Fitzgerald's ghost can thank a few friendly critics and the paperbacks issued to GIs during WWII.) Today, Corrigan asserts, Gatsby still doesn't get its due. When she laments that Fitzgerald is the subject of fewer college seminars than are his modernist cohorts, such as James Joyce, her partisanship may seem blinkered. She makes a good case, however, that our very familiarity with Gatsby's Great American qualities has caused us to underrate it-and she does much to restore its stature. 13 b&w photos. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Book critic (NPR's Fresh Air), professor (literature, Georgetown Univ.), and author (Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading) Corrigan pens a literary love letter with this information-packed, entertaining volume. The object of her affection, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, is examined from many angles-literary, sociological, cultural, personal, and historical. The intrepid Corrigan reads and rereads the novel; offers insights into its tropes and meaning; visits dusty archives, graveyards, and even her Queens, NY, high school alma mater; pores over correspondence; and watches all manner of filmed and staged Gatsbys (including what she calls a "noir version") in order to get at the novel's message and its appeal. She traces the book's arc from creation to near-obscurity to literary prominence. Her tone is lively and bright and her enthusiasm for the novel is infectious. You'll feel as if you're attending a lecture by your favorite prof or chatting with a brainy, bookish friend. VERDICT Bursting with intellectual energy and fun facts, this paean to the "great American novel" will appeal to fans of Corrigan's book critiques and Jazz Age scholars, and will, one hopes, impel readers to pick up the brief work for the first (or fourth, or 14th) time. [See "Books for the Masses," Editors' BEA Picks, LJ 7/14, p. 28.]-Liz French, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

The Great Gatsby continues to capture attention, as evidenced by Baz Luhrmann's recent film adaptation and books such as Bob Batchelor's Gatsby: The Cultural History of the Great American Novel (CH, Jun'14, 51-5439) and Sarah Churchwell's Careless People (CH, Sep'14, 52-0129). To this mix, Corrigan (Georgetown Univ.) adds her delightful and engaging contribution. She aims to write an accessible work "for a wide audience of educated nonspecialists"--e.g., people like those who listen to her book reviews on National Public Radio. Corrigan has taught The Great Gatsby for more than 30 years and communicates the intricate themes, structure, and complex characters with ease while retaining a high level of scholarship. She references both popular and literary examples, and her writing exhibits her easy confidence and enthusiastic personality. Her book includes chapters on, among other things, Fitzgerald's examination of social class and the geography in and around New York City and numerous biographical insights into Fitzgerald's life, family, companions, short fiction, and other work. Most interesting, Corrigan makes a strong case for reading the novel as a hard-boiled mystery, citing specific examples to support her argument. Well researched, the book includes a rich index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. --Ryan M. Roberts, Lincoln Land Community College