The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.
Fitzgerald, inspired by the parties he had attended while visiting Long Island's north shore, began planning the novel in 1923 desiring to produce, in his words, something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned. Progress was slow with Fitzgerald completing his first draft following a move to the French Riviera in 1924. His editor, Maxwell Perkins, felt the book was too vague and convinced the author to revise over the next winter. Fitzgerald was ambivalent about the book's title, at various times wishing to re-title the novel Trimalchio in West Egg.
First published by Scribner's in April 1925, The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews and sold poorly; in its first year, the book sold only 20,000 copies. Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing himself to be a failure and his work forgotten. However, the novel experienced a revival during World War II, and became a part of American high school curricula and numerous stage and film adaptations in the following decades. Today, The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary classic and a contender for the title Great American Novel. The book is consistently ranked among the greatest works of American literature. In 1998 the Modern Library editorial board voted it the best American novel and the second best novel in the English language.
By 1960, the book was steadily selling 50,000 copies per year, and renewed interest led New York Times editorialist Arthur Mizener to proclaim the novel a classic of twentieth-century American fiction. The Great Gatsby has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. The book annually sells 500,000 copies and in 2013, the e-book alone sold 185,000 copies.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the Lost Generation of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby (his most famous), and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with age and despair.
Fitzgerald's work has been adapted into films many times. His short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was the basis for a 2008 film. Tender is the Night was filmed in 1962, and made into a television miniseries in 1985. The Beautiful and Damned was filmed in 1922 and 2010. The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years; 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013 adaptations. In addition, Fitzgerald's own life from 1937 to 1940 was dramatized in 1958 in Beloved Infidel.