The build-up to the release of Baz Luhrmann’s frenetic, chromatic interpretation of The Great Gatsby was a wild ride for several of us who live and breathe F. Scott Fitzgerald daily.
By Kirk Curnutt
According to literary legend, the author of The Great Gatsby sold his soul. Perpetually cash-strapped, F. Scott Fitzgerald spent much of his twenty-year career cranking out popular fiction for the Saturday Evening Post and other high-paying “slicks.” While Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and William Faulkner racked up double digits in the novels column, Fitzgerald completed a paltry four and a half, with only one of them (Gatsby, of course) truly great. By contrast, he produced 160 short stories, earning a total of $241,453 off the genre – more than $3 million in today’s dollars.
By Kirk Curnutt
Ask someone who came of age in the 1980s what they remember about the movie Eddie and the Cruisers and one of the following responses is likely: it spawned the great rock-radio staple “On the Dark Side” and briefly made MTV stars of the improbably named John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band…
On 24 September 1896, F. Scott Fitzgerald was born. While remembered today for his masterpiece The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald made his living off short stories. He chronicled life of the 1920s and 30s with unparalleled versatility, whether as parody, tragedy, fantasy, or romance. His attitude to the charisma and vices of America’s privileged was complex and often ambivalent. This dichotomy is reflected in the following from “The Camel’s Back.”
Coverage of the centenary of the outbreak of World War One has made us freshly familiar with many memorable sayings, from Edward Grey’s ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe’, to Wilfred Owen’s ‘My subject is War, and the pity of war/ The Poetry is in the pity’, and Lena Guilbert Horne’s exhortation to ‘Keep the Home-fires burning’.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I, we’re sharing an excerpt of Sir Hew Strachan’s The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War. Get a sense of what it was like to live through this historic event and how its global effects still impact the world today.
By Jim Cullen
There’s not much history in our holidays these days. For most Americans, they’re vehicles of leisure more than remembrance. Labor Day means barbeques; Washington’s Birthday (lumped together with Lincoln’s) is observed as a presidential Day of Shopping. The origins of Memorial Day in Confederate grave decoration or Veterans Day in the First World War are far less relevant than the prospect of a day off from work or school.
By Kirk Curnutt
The novel that scared a generation out of the ocean and inspired everything from Shark Week to Sharknado recently turned forty. Commemorations of Peter Benchley’s Jaws have been as rare as megalodon sightings, however.
By Alice Northover
What have you, the OUPblog reader, been looking for this year? Let’s find out with our top ten posts published this year, according the pageviews, in descending order.
There’s something about the frenzied vigor of snowflakes, shopping outings, and journeys back home, that make us want to take a break and curl up with a good book. The classics are always a perfect pick for a good read during the holiday season. We compiled some of the best books from American literature to read when you’re looking to escape into a story. Which is your favorite?
By Max Sinsheimer
Recently I was chatting with a regular at my gym, an Irish man named Stephen, when he asked me what I do for a living. I told him I am an editor in the reference department at Oxford University Press, and he excitedly launched into a description of the draft manuscript he had just completed, a novel about his wild (and illicit) youth spent between Galway and the Canary Islands.
By Penny Freeman
For this month’s Oxford World’s Classics reading list, we picked some of our favorite American classics in honor of Independence Day. There’s no better holiday to celebrate America’s iconic writers, and their great works, than the Fourth of July. Whether you were assigned to read these books in class, or keep meaning to pick up a few of those classics you missed out on, we have something for everyone on the list.
By Kirsty Doole
In this month’s Oxford World’s Classics reading list, we decided to celebrate National Short Story Month by selecting some of favourite story collections. We have everything here from Gaskell to Cervantes, Fitzgerald to Kafka. But have we missed your favourite? Let us know.
The Great Gatsby is one of the best-known American novels, but weirdly, and strangely reflective of Gatsby himself, one of the least understood. The much-awaited Baz Lurhmann version of The Great Gatsby opens in the United States tomorrow, and like Gatsby himself — as a new trailer reminds us — the novel is “guarding secrets.”
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896–1940) was born in St Paul, Minnesota, and named after his second cousin three times removed, the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. He went to Princeton University, but dropped out, eventually joining the Army in 1917. In honor of the anniversary of the publication of This Side of Paradise on 26 March 1920, we dug up this excerpt from this great novel.
By Kathleen Riley
I am writing this on Shakespeare’s birthday, 23rd April, and it strikes me how apposite are Beatrice’s words in Much Ado to the birth, on 10th September 1896, of Adele Marie Austerlitz, later Adele Astaire, a personality and a performer of infinite, inextinguishable and irresistible mirth. In London in the 1920s, she was depicted as a misplaced Shakespearean sprite who ‘should be dancing by glow-worm light under entranced trees on a midsummer eve with a rout of elves, after drinking rose-dew.’