Program Offers Fresh Take on Gatsby’s Greatness

The following is a guest post by Abby Yochelson, English and American Literature Reference specialist at the Library of Congress’s Main Reading Room, Humanities and Social Sciences Division.

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air
© Nina Subin

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR’s Fresh Air and a lecturer and critic-in-residence at Georgetown University, has been a consummate researcher at the Library of Congress over the last three years. After decades of teaching The Great Gatsby to students and traveling throughout the country for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program, Maureen decided to write her own book on why Gatsby endures. While initial reviews of the novel were mixed and F. Scott Fitzgerald died thinking the book was a failure, its reputation rose quickly after his death. Gatsby is now one of the most assigned novels in American high schools, and each generation re-interprets the work through movies, plays, musicals, and even a ballet. Fascination with the book and the Jazz Era it depicts is worldwide.

Book Cover, So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures

So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures (book cover)
http://lccn.loc.gov/2014018062

Reviews of the just-published So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures comment on Corrigan’s research conducted here at the Library of Congress and in other archives, including Fitzgerald’s papers at Princeton University and the Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald at the University of South Carolina. With more than eighty books of literary criticism on Fitzgerald and an additional fifty specifically on The Great Gatsby in the Library of Congress’s collections, it was daunting for Maureen to contemplate what she could add to the discussion.  Her research here also took her to Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room to view the Armed Services Edition of Gatsby, one of the important factors for the book’s increased reputation. The Motion Picture and Television Reading Room provided a trailer from the first version of a Gatsby film, a silent one which has been lost, as well as the 1949 film version starring Alan Ladd. The Manuscript Division produced a letter from Zelda Fitzgerald describing her husband, but sadly there was no doodled portrait in the margin.

Maureen found plenty to write about The Great Gatsby, and we’re pleased to announce that she’ll be speaking at the Library of Congress on Monday, September 15, at 12:00 noon in the Mumford Room, 6th floor of the Madison Building. No tickets are required to attend the event.

We hope to see you there!

Remembered Lines

The following is a guest post by Ellen Terrell, a research and reference specialist in the Library’s Science, Technology, and Business Division. Ellen is a regular blogger for the Science, Technology, and Business Division’s Inside Adams blog. Last year my Inside Adams co-blogger Jennifer Harbster wrote a post for From the Catbird Seat about her […]

Summer School at the Library

The following is a guest post by Clare Hogan, summer intern at the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center. When Rob Casper asked me to write a blog post about my time at the Poetry and Literature Center, I thought of how I got here. My education in poetry started in high school, and […]

The Legacies of João Ubaldo Ribeiro and Ariano Suassuna

The following is a guest post by Catalina Gómez, program coordinator in the Library of Congress Hispanic Division. Last month, Brazil lost two of its most beloved literary figures: author and journalist João Ubaldo Ribeiro, 73, and playwright and author Ariano Suassuna, 87–two writers who not only published literature of paramount importance, but who were […]

Celebrating Tove Jansson

The following is a guest post by Taru Rauha Spiegel, reference specialist in the Library of Congress European Division. August 9th marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tove Jansson, one of the world’s best-known children’s authors. Although Jansson does not have the same following in the United States as she does in Europe […]

State Poets Update – New NC Poet Laureate

Shortly after I published Friday’s post on recent state poet laureate happenings I received an email alert that North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory had just appointed Valerie Macon the new N.C. poet laureate. So much for my timing! Macon succeeds Joseph Bathanti in the two-year position and is the state’s eighth poet laureate. Several media […]

State Poets Laureate Update

Since my last post on state poets laureate there have been only two significant state poet developments. First, on June 27 Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Ron Smith, Writer-in-Residence at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, the poet laureate of Virginia. Smith succeeds Sofia Starnes in the post, and is Virginia’s 18th poet laureate. Second, Florida […]

Summer Reads for Children and Young Adults

Each year as summer approaches the Library sees an increase in questions from parents and librarians about whether we make available recommended reading lists for children. The answer, I’m please to tell you, is Yes! Our Center for the Book, through its Read.gov literacy website, includes several excellent New Worlds Booklists that provide “a sampling […]

The Places that Connect Us

The following is a guest post by Matt Blakley, programs support assistant at the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center. If you told me when I first fell in love with poetry that one day I’d work at the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center, there’s no way I would’ve believed you. I probably still wouldn’t believe […]