The Great Gatsby, Critical Edition (Magill Book Reviews)
First published in 1925, THE GREAT GATSBY was not a commercial success; both THIS SIDE OF PARADISE and THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAMNED outsold it by a margin of more than two to one during Fitzgerald’s lifetime. Initial reviews were mixed; a few critics—and some of Fitzgerald’s fellow-novelists—immediately appreciated what he had achieved. By the time of his death, in 1940, the novel was largely forgotten.
As sometimes happens in the curious business of literary reputations, Fitzgerald’s death prompted a revival of interest in his work. In 1941, THE GREAT GATSBY was reissued, bound in a single volume with the unfinished novel THE LAST TYCOON, which was being published for the first time. A year later, THE GREAT GATSBY was reissued on its own, and several reprints followed in the 1940’s. By the 1950’s, it was widely regarded as one of the major novels of its period.
Today, GATSBY is almost universally acknowledged as an American classic. It is one of those exceptional books that survive both inside and outside the classroom; it’s also a novel that writers continue to read with profit, as interviews with many contemporary American novelists attest.
All the more important, then, to have a text that is as accurate as possible. The term “critical edition” may suggest a volume so dense with textual apparatus as to be unreadable. In this instance, however, Matthew Bruccoli (an eminent bibliographer and biographer who has published...
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