Tag: TheGreat Gatsby

Great Gatsby cover and Fitzgerald

The Bizarre Story Behind ‘The Great Gatsby’s Cover Art

99% of the time, a book’s dust jacket is designed after the manuscript is done. The artist internalizes a scene or trope or idea from a novel and spins it into something visual.

 

The story is a little different for The Great Gatsby. In a 1991 essay, publishing genius Charles Scribner III called the jacket (which he revived after 40 years of it being out of print) “the most celebrated and widely disseminated jacket art in twentieth-century American literature, and perhaps of all time.”

 

Strangely, Fitzgerald actually saw the cover art before his manuscript was finished. The art, created by Spanish artist Francis Cugat, apparently had a big influence on Fitzgerald. In correspondence with his editor, Maxwell Perkins, Fitzgerald wrote, “For Christs sake don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me. I’ve written it into the book.”

 

Not only was the dust jacket designed before Fitzgerald finished Gatsby, it actually found its way into the book. It’s not clear what Fitzgerald meant by “written it into the book,” but Scribner provides a couple theories.

 

The first possibility is in Fitzgerald’s description of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg’s billboard. Fitzgerald describes Eckleburg’s eyes as “blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.” This seems like a pretty dead-on description of Cugat’s cover, but some remain unconvinced.

 

The second possible location of Fitzgerald’s take on Cugat could be in Nick Carraway’s description of Daisy, whom he calls a “girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs” of New York in the evening. This is what Scribner suggests, but it’s possible Fitzgerald intended Cugat’s art to appear in more subtle ways, or in multiple places.

 

Early Cugat sketches

Early Cugat sketches.  / Images Via USC

 

Fitzgerald had been so impressed and taken with Cugat’s sketches that they actually affected how he wrote. Still, he struggled with a title. The title he’d settled on was Trimalchio in West Egg, which sounds delightfully odd, but probably wouldn’t have sit well in readers’ ears. Trimalchio is a character from Petronius’ Satyricon, which is almost 2,000 years old. The publisher rejected the title, and they eventually settled on The Great Gatsby, though Fitzgerald also toyed with Trimalchio, On the Road to West Egg, Gold-hatted Gatsby, and The High-bouncing Lover.

 

Finally, though, of course, we got the final product, which looks like this:

 

Gatsby cover

Image Via USC

 

Unfortunately, a lot of Gatsby covers now have Leonardo Di Caprio because of the Baz Luhrman movie. Still, industrious high schoolers will be able to find copies with Cugat’s gorgeous original dust jacket. They’ll just need to keep their eyes wide open or, perhaps, one yard high.

 

Feature Images Via USC and PBS

Gatsby house

Guess How Much ‘The Great Gatsby’ Mansion Is Going For

The Long Island mansion said to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby is now on sale. You can snag the estate for a paltry $16.88 million. Yes, it’s that affordable!

 

In 1923, Mary Harriman Rumsey, daughter of railroad tycoon E.H. Harriman, purchased the estate at 235 Middle Neck Road in Sands Point, New York. By 1928, the French Normandy-style castle was built. Unsurprisingly, Rumsey held a lot of parties at the estate, and one of her regular guests was her good friend F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s rumored that Fitzgerald’s time at the Sands Point mansion inspired “Gatsby’s East Egg.”

 

Gatsby interior

 

The estate spans 5.33 acres. The mansion is 11,955-square-feet, has 13 bedrooms, and 8.5 bathrooms. For $17 million, you also get heated floors, 391 feet of private beach, a tennis court, a six-car garage, and a guest house.

 

Private beach

 

Though the Gold Coast of Long Island may not be what it was in the Roaring Twenties, the Gatsby mansion doesn’t look half bad. Check out a virtual tour of the estate, courtesy of the mansion’s website:

 

 

All Images Courtesy of 235 Middle Neck Road

A photo of Chris Martin and Shakespeare.

Which is Which: Ed Sheeran Lyric or Great Gatsby Quote?

Many of us have been made aware of Ed Sheeran’s uncanny appearance on the most recent episode of Game of Thrones released last Sunday. Albeit short, Sheeran’s presence as an unnamed soldier pacified the bitter aftertaste of a violent scene. We won’t say anymore for those who have not watched it yet and it will be up to the you to decide whether his cameo was necessary or excess.

 

Nevertheless, Sheeran’s mellifluous voice and his use of poetic lyrics created euphonious and memorable tunes that linger on our minds long after the song has been sung. If you have ever heard or song or two by him and you’ve encountered The Great Gatsby at some point in your life, now would be the time to show off your knowledge by taking this quiz below. Can you identify if the following quotations are selected from an Ed Sheeran song or from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s all-time classic?

 

 

Featured Image Courtesy of BBC and http://bit.ly/2u9KQwE