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The Enduring Legacy of The Great Gatsby

Eva Jeanne Markosky

Eva Jeanne Markosky, a former engineering assistant with The Markosky Engineering Group, studied energy business and finance at Pennsylvania State University. Beyond her work and studies, Eva Jeanne Markosky is an avid reader. Her favorite books range from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby is not only F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most widely known work, but one of the most famous and highly regarded American novels of all time. With that said, the book did not enjoy immediate success upon its release in 1925. Fitzgerald’s third novel originally sold just 21,000 copies, a paltry sum compared to his earlier novels, This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned, both of which sold more than double Gatsby’s sales figures. A second printing of the book remained in a Scribner warehouse upon Fitzgerald’s death in 1940.
While many of Fitzgerald’s contemporaries considered The Great Gatsby a literary triumph, critics had a much more tepid opinion of the novel. Fitzgerald went on to complete one more novel, Tender is the Night, and was working on a fifth at the time of his death, but was never regarded as an important author during his lifetime. Over the following years, newly published collections of older works and an assembly of The Last Tycoon, Fitzgerald’s final novel, began to spark renewed interest in the man who coined the term “the Jazz Age.”
By the 1960s, The Great Gatsby had become a staple in high school and college curricula. Today, Scribner estimates 500,000 copies of the novel are sold annually, with total sales exceeding 25 million. There have been four major motion picture adaptations of the book. Readers have even flocked to an early draft of Gatsby, entitled Trimalchio: An Early Version of ‘The Great Gatsby.'

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