Gatsby at 92

Monday was the anniversary of the 1925 appearance of The Great Gatsby. Now known as one of the essential American novels, it was not successful in its day. By the time Gatsby 1st editionFitzgerald died in 1940, it was out of print and most of the second printing was still in Scribner’s warehouse. Then things started to change. By 1960, around fifty thousand copies a year were being sold. Eight years later, my classmates and I were part of the saturation bombing of Gatsby. It had clawed its way into the secondary classroom and had no plans to leave. Now the number is somewhere between 300,000 and half a million. If only Fitzgerald could see his failure! Come to think of it, maybe that first edition cover had something to do with the anemic sales.

 

Advertisements