Archives for posts with tag: Culture

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For the uninitiated, an “erasure” poem is where you take existing text — in the above case, a page from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — and mark out some of the words to create a poem. Here’s how the above poem reads when it stands alone…

GATSBY SUMMER NIGHT
by Cathy Dee

Through the summer nights
men and girls came and went like moths
and the stars.
I watched his guests
slit the waters of the Sound,
the city scampered 
like a brisk yellow bug
eight servants left his back door
in a pyramid of pulpless halves.
At least enough colored lights
to make a Christmas tree
bewitched to a dark gold
so long forgotten

###

Learn more about erasure poems at Found Poetry Review.

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STYLE (excerpt)
by Charles Bukowski

Style is the answer to everything
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous
thing
To do a dull thing with style is preferable
to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style is what
I call art…

Photo: Hans Silvester, from his book Natural Fashion (see description from on the book’s Amazon page).

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Photo: F. Scott Fitzgerald with wife Zelda and daughter Scottie, 1923, in the sports coupé the author purchased a few years earlier after selling his first novel, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE.

“When I was a boy, I dreamed that I sat always at the wheel of a magnificent Stutz, a Stutz as low as a snake and as red as an Indiana barn.”

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

According to an insightful 1993 article entitled “The Automobile as a Central Symbol in F. Scott Fitzgerald” by Luis Girón Echevarría:

“The cars in Fitzgerald’s life provide a rough gauge by which to measure the discrepancy between the dream and reality of his life, as well as his waning fortunes, and his journey from careless, irresponsible youth to cautious, worried middle-age…

His first car, purchased in 1920 after the publication of his best-selling first novel, This Side of Paradise, was a three-year-oíd sports coupé; during the next two decades he would own a used Rolls-Royce, an oíd Buick, [a] Stutz, a nine-year-old Packard, an oíd 1934 Ford coupé, and, finally, a second-hand 1937 Ford convertible

It was Fitzgerald’s destiny to begin life dreaming of a magnificent red Stutz Bearcat and to end up driving a second-hand Ford. But during the interval he wrote of America’s dreams and of America’s enduring love affair with the automobile.”

Read more of this fascinating article here.

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On May 17, 2013, around the time The Great Gatsby was released, we created a post entitled “What Type of Car Did Gatsby Drive?” (reposted below).  Since that time, the post has averaged about 50 hits per day — or about 5,000 hits so far. I find this high number of hits (for us, anyway) astonishing — are that many people interested in Gatsby’s car? Or are students visiting our site for info they can use in their Great Gatsby term papers? (Then again, school just started.)

Over three months later, The Great Gatsby has come and gone from the big screens in L.A. and I didn’t find a good time to catch the film. The next best thing is the 2-disc set issued on August 27th and available on Amazon.com for $17.99.

Post from May 17, 2013: What Type of Car Did Gatsby Drive? 

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Photo: Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) rides with Jay Gatsby(Leonardo DiCaprio) in the 2013 film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby.

Here’s how Nick Carraway describes Gatsby’s car in Fitzgerald’s novel:

It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory, we started to town..”

While Nick describes Gatsby’s car as “cream colored,” other characters in the book describe it as “yellow” — which, as most of us learned in high school, symbolizes Gatsby’s pursuit of the gold, of the American Dream.

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Photo: Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston) drives with Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford) in the 1974 film version of Fitzgerald‘s novel.

But what make and model of car did Gatsby drive — in the novel and the various film versions? A recent article in the New York Times by Jerry Garrett offers some interesting answers. Since the information gets a bit convoluted, I’m going to resort to bullet points — and, in movie parlance, cut to the chase.

  • 1925 novel: Fitzgerald writes, “On weekends, his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight …” According to Garrett’s New York Times article (May 10, 2013), “The Rolls most likely would have been a 1922 Silver Ghost…”
  • 1974 movie (starring Robert Redford): Redford drives a 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom  – for a story set in 1922.
  • 2013 movie (starring Leonardo DiCaprio): DiCaprio drives a 1929 Duesenberg Model J — again, for a story set in 1922.

1949_gatsby_film

Photo: Cars featured in the 1949 film version of The Great Gatsbystarring Alan Ladd.

I also checked out Jerry Garrett’s blog, where he adds another interesting fact…

  • 1949 movie (starring Alan Ladd): In this film version, as in the 2013 offering, Gatsby drives a Duesenberg (though I don’t know year or model). According to vintage car expert Jerry Garrett,“The point of having Gatsby owning a Rolls-Royce in the book, and having a closet full of clothes from England, was to help sell his fantasy girl Daisy Buchanan on his lie of having gone to school at Oxford. The original Duesenberg was made in Indiana. Would Daisy, a society belle from Louisville, Kentucky, have been impressed with a Hoosier?”

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NIGHTHAWKS, 1942 (excerpt)
by Gerald Locklin

In those days, even the
nighthawks wore suits, not
to mention ties and fedoras.
but notice they were hawks,
not owls…
gangsters? gamblers? police
detectives? private eyes?
politicos?
…it is a clean place, with
good wood, and it is a source
of light for a dark and empty
downtown neighborhood, where the
second-story shades are drawn
to half-mast.

PAINTING: “Nighthawks” (1942) by Edward Hopper, © The Art Institute of Chicago

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We continue our tribute to The Great Gatsby — our favorite novel and the reason we started this blog in June 2012 — with the cover from a Swedish edition of the book. In Sweden, F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel is called En Man Utan Skrupler, which translates as A Man Without Scruples.

I’m guessing that people in Sweden like to know something about a book before deciding to read it — and, I’ll admit, The Great Gatsby isn’t a descriptive title like, say, the Swedish blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Set in 1922, The Great Gatsby tells the story of post-WWI America, the Roaring Twenties, when Prohibition —  a national ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol, in effect from 1920-1933 — was the law of the land,  setting the stage for gangsters, bootleggers, and other nefarious types who were ready, willing, and able to give the people what they wanted.

While Jay Gatsby made his money through the illegal sale and transportation of alcohol, I’ve never thought of him as “a man without scruples.” That’s the point of the novel, isn’t it?  In the end, it was Daisy and Tom — the rich — who really had no scruples.

I did a search for quotes about “scruples” and found the following, which speaks to to Gatsby’s approximate time and place.

“The late 1920s were an age of islands, real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tens of thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or the West Indies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca, Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece.

Paris itself was a modern city that seemed islanded in the past, and there were island countries, like Mexico, where Americans could feel that they had escaped from everything that oppressed them in a business civilization.

Or without leaving home they could build themselves private islands of art or philosophy; or else – and this was a frequent solution – they could create social islands in the shadow of the skyscrapers, groups of close friends among whom they could live as unconstrainedly as in a Polynesian valley, live without moral scruples or modern conveniences, live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love and two lamb chops broiled over a coal fire in the grate. That was part of the Greenwich Village idea, and soon it was being copied in Boston, San Francisco, everywhere.”

MALCOLM COWLEY, Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s. 

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For the uninitiated, an “erasure” poem is where you take existing text — in the above case, Chapter 3 from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — and mark out some of the words to create a poem. Here’s how the above poem reads when it stands alone…

GATSBY SUMMER NIGHT
Through the summer nights
men and girls came and went like moths
and the stars.
I watched his guests
slit the waters of the Sound,
the city scampered 
like a brisk yellow bug
eight servants left his back door
in a pyramid of pulpless halves.
At least enough colored lights
to make a Christmas tree
bewitched to a dark gold
so long forgotten

###

Learn more about erasure poems at Found Poetry Review.

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Photo: F. Scott Fitzgerald with wife Zelda and daughter Scottie, 1923, in the sports coupé the author purchased a few years earlier after selling his first novel, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE.

“When I was a boy, I dreamed that I sat always at the wheel of a magnificent Stutz, a Stutz as low as a snake and as red as an Indiana barn.”

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

According to an insightful 1993 article entitled “The Automobile as a Central Symbol in F. Scott Fitzgerald” by Luis Girón Echevarría:

“The cars in Fitzgerald’s life provide a rough gauge by which to measure the discrepancy between the dream and reality of his life, as well as his waning fortunes, and his journey from careless, irresponsible youth to cautious, worried middle-age…

His first car, purchased in 1920 after the publication of his best-selling first novel, This Side of Paradise, was a three-year-oíd sports coupé; during the next two decades he would own a used Rolls-Royce, an oíd Buick, [a] Stutz, a nine-year-old Packard, an oíd 1934 Ford coupé, and, finally, a second-hand 1937 Ford convertible

It was Fitzgerald’s destiny to begin life dreaming of a magnificent red Stutz Bearcat and to end up driving a second-hand Ford. But during the interval he wrote of America’s dreams and of America’s enduring love affair with the automobile.”

Read more of this fascinating article here.

Image

Photo: Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) rides with Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the 2013 film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby.

Here’s how Nick Carraway describes Gatsby’s car in Fitzgerald’s novel:

It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns. Sitting down behind many layers of glass in a sort of green leather conservatory, we started to town..”

While Nick describes Gatsby’s car as “cream colored,” other characters in the book describe it as “yellow” — which, as most of us learned in high school, symbolizes Gatsby’s pursuit of the gold, of the American Dream.

Image

Photo: Nick Carraway (Sam Waterston) drives with Jay Gatsby (Robert Redford) in the 1974 film version of Fitzgerald‘s novel.

But what make and model of car did Gatsby drive — in the novel and the various film versions? A recent article in the New York Times by Jerry Garrett offers some interesting answers. Since the information gets a bit convoluted, I’m going to resort to bullet points — and, in movie parlance, cut to the chase.

  • 1925 novel: Fitzgerald writes, “On weekends, his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight …” According to Garrett’s New York Times article (May 10, 2013), “The Rolls most likely would have been a 1922 Silver Ghost…”
  • 1974 movie (starring Robert Redford): Redford drives a 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom  — for a story set in 1922.
  • 2013 movie (starring Leonardo DiCaprio): DiCaprio drives a 1929 Duesenberg Model J — again, for a story set in 1922.

1949_gatsby_film

Photo: Cars featured in the 1949 film version of The Great Gatsby starring Alan Ladd.

I also checked out Jerry Garrett’s blog, where he adds another interesting fact…

  • 1949 movie (starring Alan Ladd): In this film version, as in the 2013 offering, Gatsby drives a Duesenberg (though I don’t know year or model). According to vintage car expert Jerry Garrett, “The point of having Gatsby owning a Rolls-Royce in the book, and having a closet full of clothes from England, was to help sell his fantasy girl Daisy Buchanan on his lie of having gone to school at Oxford. The original Duesenberg was made in Indiana. Would Daisy, a society belle from Louisville, Kentucky, have been impressed with a Hoosier?”

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“As all the world knows, the opportunities in Boston for hearing good music are numerous and excellent, and it had long been Miss Chancellor’s practice to cultivate the best.”

HENRY JAMES, The Bostonians