Thursday, December 15, 2016

no harm in trying

A whole book, about The Great Gatsby!  What a concept!

-------------------- [excerpt, So We Read OnHow The Great Gatsby Came To Be And Why It Endures.  Maureen Corrigan.] ------------------- ...The novel is impossible to film or stage because its power is so dependent, not on plot or character, but on language....

Fitzgerald's language, filtered through Nick's voice, is above all else what makes The Great Gatsby so extraordinary. 

Fitzgerald undermines the coarse a detached poetic style that elevates but doesn't obliterate ordinary American language.  As is true in the sonnets of Fitzgerald's beloved John Keats,

almost every word of this intensely compressed masterpiece counts. ----------------------------- [end, excerpt] ----------------------


--------------------- [excerpt, The Great Gatsby.  F. Scott Fitzgerald.]

------------------------- Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn a little after seven, and wandered around rather ill at ease among swirls and eddies of people I didn't know -- though here and there was a face I had noticed on the commuting train. 

I was immediately struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted about; all well dressed, all looking a little hungry, and all talking in low, earnest voices to solid and prosperous Americans. 

I was sure that they were selling something:  bonds or insurance or automobiles.  They were at least agonizingly aware of the easy money in the vicinity and convinced that it was theirs for a few words in the right key.

------------------------ [excerpt 2] -------------------------- "Wha's matter?" he inquired calmly.  "Did we run outa gas?"


Half a dozen fingers pointed at the amputated wheel -- he stared at it for a moment, and then looked upward as though he suspected that it had dropped from the sky.

"It came off," someone explained.

He nodded.  "At first I din' notice we'd stopped."

A pause.  Then, taking a long breath and straightening his shoulders, he remarked in a determined voice:  "Wonder'ff tell me where there's a gas'line station?"

At least a dozen men, some of them little better off than he was, explained to him that wheel and car were no longer joined by any physical bond.

"Back out," he suggested after a moment.  "Put her in reverse."

"But the wheel's off!"

He hesitated.

"No harm in trying," he said.

The caterwauling horns had reached a crescendo and I turned away and cut across the lawn toward home. 

I glanced back once. 

A wafer of a moon was shining over Gatsby's house, making the night fine as before, and surviving the laughter and the sound of his still glowing garden. 

A sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation the figure of the host, who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell. --------------------------------- [end, excerpt] -------------------------