Thoughtful Gatsby Piece

Thanks to Andrew Clarke, at the Anthony Powell Discussion List, for mentioning Douglas Murray's article in The Spectator, The not-so-great-Gatsby.  The novel, says Murray, "is one of those works which has been subsumed and overtaken by its own myth."  He draws a parallel with Brideshead Revisited, which has also been filmed a couple of times.
But just as most people now seem to remember Brideshead Revisited not as a novel about religion and alcoholic disintegration, but one of idyllic summers and teddy bears, so Gatsby is remembered as something it is not. Rather than a description of futility and envy, it tends to be recalled for its aspiration and glamour.
 Anthony Powell thought highly of The Great Gatsby, reading it again and again.  I read it for the first time a couple of years ago.  It seemed a pretty bleak tale to me.  Powell, clearly more perceptive than me, described it as:
...a sad serious book about people who are on the whole not themselves serious [that] treats of romantic love in purple passages that somehow never become absurd, while in the many funny scenes Fitzgerald is unrivaled for wit and irony. Tender is the Night is a pretty good novel, the Last Tycoon if completed, might have been pretty good too, some of the short stories are accomplished, but The Great Gatsby is in a class by itself
I doubt that I would prefer Leonardo di Caprio's Gatsby to Robert Redford's.  I did go to see the 2008 film of Brideshead Revisited, but it fell far short of the 1981 television serial.  I wouldn't even watch the 2002 television remake of Doctor Zhivago

No comments: