Skip to comments.Judging ‘Gatsby’ by Its Cover(s)
Posted on 04/26/2013 1:58:11 PM PDT by Borges
The Great Gatsby has united generations of American readers with its crash-and-burn tale of empty elegance and impossible love on Long Island in the 1920s.
Now the novel is dividing the nations booksellers with dueling paperback editions: the enigmatic blue cover of the original and the movie tie-in book that went on sale Tuesday, a brash, flashy version with Leonardo DiCaprio front and center.
The new edition is timed with the 3-D film adaptation, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Mr. DiCaprio, that will arrive in theaters on May 10.
So far this year, sales of the paperback with the original jacket art a glowing cityscape and a pair of floating eyes have been extraordinary. On Thursday, it was the top-selling book on Amazon.com. At Barnes & Noble stores last week, no other paperback book sold more copies. It has landed on best-seller lists for independent bookstores.
Its just God-awful, Kevin Cassem, a bookseller at McNally Jackson, said on Tuesday. The Great Gatsby is a pillar of American literature, and people dont want it messed with. Were selling the classic cover and have no intention of selling the new one.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Is it just me or was the book ridiculous and depressing?
It isn’t just you.
And the mere fact that the film stars Leonardo DiCrapio and was directed by Baz Luhrman would keep me from seeing it even if I did like the book.
Not as depressing as DiCaprio..
It’s a tragedy so ‘depressing’ depends on the context.
I don’t mind Leonardo’s acting. However, I cannot stand Tom Cruise.
It’s about empty people living empty lives, of course it’s going to be depressing, that’s the point
The story is ridiculous and depressing.
Like most “classics” it’s boring crap.
I am opposite, I can tolerate Cruise on a very limited basis but cannot stand DiCaprio.
What would you propose schools teach instead?
Dunno but who wants to read bone dry dull stuff like that?
Like trying to read Faulker. Just ugh.
Faulkner at his best is awesome and not remotely dry. TGG is not dull at all. It’s not plot-centric if that’s what you’re talking about.
Somehow looks like they have the female lead character right (Daisy?). Also DeCaprio does a good job looking like a gangster on the cover. Expected it to look laughable but I think DeCaprio does a great job actually. Maybe his hair stylist helped him accomplish the look. Maybe those poker games he was reportedly playing in helped him here.
Only a literati dingus gets worked up about a book’s cover. There’ve been a lot of covers for the book over the years. These guys need to get over themselves.
Thing is, the cover of Gatsby is just about as famous as the text itself. It’s a special case.
Well we can always pick books from the same time period: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/672954.All_Quiet_on_the_Western_Front
Or we can go for very, very old classics in very modern translations: http://www.amazon.com/Iliad-Homer/dp/0872203522/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367011366&sr=8-1&keywords=iliad+stanley+lombardo
Every episode of VH1s old “Behind the Music” tells basically the same story. I like Gatsby but I don’t see it as necessary reading for anybody.
In an American Lit Class it’s an obvious choice. Short and pretty much perfect.
It’s not the subject it’s what you do with it. Besides Gatsby is about a lot more than the ‘rise and fall’ narrative. What fiction is ‘necessary reading’ these days?
Finding out that literally everybody who went to high school read the same book and heard the same stuff about the emptiness of the American Dream was definitely a downer.
Baz Luhrman produces glittering trash. Once you know what to expect, though, maybe the movie won't be so bad. Maybe it will, but you'd have to see it if you want a definite answer.
The novel will survive the movie -- as Romeo and Juliet survived his earlier film. Whether either really survives being taught in the schools is less certain.
The CURRENT cover of Gatsby, as I said there have been many https://www.google.com/search?q=gatsby+cover&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=vPB6UZe4DYb9iQKmnoH4Dg&biw=1133&bih=665&sei=vvB6UdrcOO75igLFuYHwDg . It’s not a special case, it’s a book cover. Whenever a movie gets made of a book there’s a movie tie-in cover, it’s part of the industry.
Whereas I get hot and cold thrill chills all over at the sight if Tom Cruise, but see DiCaprio as a boiled potato.
One can't portray the rich and prosperous as happy and productive people, you know.
I could give you a 100 book list - but you’d have to pay me $10,000.
There’s lots of stuff I wish kids WOULD read, but I’d never push it the way English teachers do, because the first thing they do is suck all the joy out of a book by making you pay attention to the wrong stuff.
Disagree strongly. It’s not a good novel.
I was very happy with the casting. They looked the parts so well. Which is why I was disappointed to see the trailer with its modern day music. Gatsby was set in the 1920s. Why ruin the ambiance to show your creative ability.
Yes, I am one of the few who liked The Great Gatsby. I have read it many times and there are many life lessons in there.
So, Gatsby is “necessary reading”? For what exactly? I mean, I suppose, for American Literature majors in college sure, but it doesn’t seem all that necessary for the rest of us.
Or, for less than $20, you could simply get a copy of Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book with its excellent book list at the end.
There are some comic book versions you might like better.
Okay, now I have to say, I teach classic lit. When you see a bunch of formerly sneering 7th grade girls opining loudly about the creepiness versus virtue of Tom Sawyer, or dishing dirt on the characters in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or witness a classroom full of tenth graders hanging on every word Taylor utters to Burton in the film after they’ve done the work of going over the play, “The Taming of the Shrew” then they don’t have to admit it, literature is full of great characters and situations.
But F. Scott and this Gatsby in particular no. I fight it and Hemmingway and Steinbeck every year they try to throw it at me.
“The Old Man and the Sea” KAK! It’s vapid. It’s supposed to be so enlightened to recognize the beginning of the decline in culture. NO.
Middle and HS boys love the stories of Homer, Shakespeare (the war stories esp) and R. L. Stevenson if they’re introduced in the right way.
But NOT Gatsby and whoah I do not want to see DiCaprio’s attempt to pull us further down the vapid anti family pit.
do try “Spotted Horses”
And I disagree with strongly with you:
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors eyes a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsbys house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
One of the finest paragraphs in all of American literature.
For a better (IMO) novel of that time, I recommend “The Old Bunch” by Meyer Levin.
For a general sense of the era (and a rollicking good read to boot), you can’t get much better than “Only Yesterday: A Social History of the 1920s” by Frederick Lewis Allen.
That’s what I’ve got my tenth graders reading. It’s great in every way especially to their education.
Necessary for people who care about the English language or the American story, or human beings. If none of this applies to you, by all means return to whatever it is you people do.
I never cared for it. I read it once, and I swear all I remember was that I think someone drowned and I think someone was hit by a car. But I’m not sure and I don’t care enough to read it again.
I make them study the list of characters and how they relate to the main character. We don’t go ahead until everyone can at least pretend to get this.
Then we read every day and fast, move it along. And we focus on behaviors and decisions and they all get to opine and they’re not allowed to (they try) make fun of each others’ ideas in class.
Then we see the film if there is one.
There’s nothing worse in school than making people focus on minutae in a book just to prove they’ve read it.
A mystery of mine is why, when we take parts and read a play like the glass Menagerie or Romeo and Juliet, why the boys jump up and take on the female roles.
They crack me up.
Yes, you wanted to commit suicide about 3/4 of the way through.
Pray for America to Wake Up
ITA Read it in HS and it was simply BORING.
Huh? No great novel is depressing. Besides The problem with Jay Gatsby wasn’t that he was rich but that he didn’t see it as anything but a status.
Read it in high school. Can't remember a single thing about it, except being happy that it ended.
Old Man is EH at his near worst. Judge him by his short stories.
Depressing can have a reason, I said ridiculous and depressing because I think the plot is ridiculous.
IIRC, build an estate and hold parties hoping someone who lives nearby will show up? As opposed to knocking on the door, a letter, mutual acquaintance.
Pshaw! I TEACH Shakespeare-
to high schoolers. And American lit.
I resist an attempt from the Admin to make me drag them through deconstructional depressing dopey Old man and the Sea, Of Mice and Men Tender is the Night.
We read these guys but I choose.
Red Pony, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, excerpts from For Whom the Bell Tolls.
He saw it as a lifestyle.
I know. Hill Like White Elephants is brilliant. The theme is way not good for HS.