There has scarcely been a time when the name F. Scott Fitzgerald and the title The Great Gatsby has been so frequently mentioned with curiosity and awe. While the 1925 debut of the modern first novel certainly received its due fame, and while the 1974 film rendition made its premiere to the “watching” world, the 2013 remake of the tale starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Carey Mulligan is bound to draw and captivate many towards Fitzgerald’s work, and is expected to bring even more popularity and acclaim towards his convoluted and heart rending masterpiece.
Throngs of people gathered at the theaters this past week to relive Fitzgerald’s complex story of disturbed and entrapped individuals. Whether they were familiar with the story or simply becoming acquainted with it for the first time, the surge in viewer attendance and its inevitable following has lifted the hopes of the few dealers holding the valuable first printings with the scarce dust jacket for some 6-figure asking prices. Staggering when compared to the mere $1,981.85 that Fitzgerald received for the book’s publishing in 1925.
Dealers are hoping that as more and more people become fascinated and encapsulated in Fitzgerald’s work portrayed through film, more and more attention will also be paid to the original literary work, causing there to be a steady increase in collector interest. So much so in fact, that some book dealers, have put their copies up for sale, once again. With the film’s expected raging success and the inevitable boost in popularity for the original written work, dealers have opted to take full advantage of the expected rise in demand.
The fact that this particular version of the film includes a soundtrack filled with popular artists such as Jay-Z and Beyonce and the memorable Bryan Ferry jazzing it up with his old time favorite “Love Is the Drug,” is also bound to draw crowds to the film, causing significant curiosity and interest to spark towards Fitzgerald’s work among the younger generation.
One reason why F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work has resonated in our minds through the centuries and is bound to draw the younger generation in is the fact that his characters and their personal trials are extremely relatable in our own lives, causing each character to be immortally affixed to our minds and hearts, regardless of age. Jay Gatsby, brilliantly portrayed by DiCaprio, represents a man desperate to go back to a time when things were as they were. Through his acute longing and tremendous love for a woman he has lost, he will stop at nothing to put everything back to how it once was, despite others telling him that he is groping for the impossible. Through his feverish pursuit of her and the love that they once shared, he has become disillusioned into thinking that it can and will be done “Can’t repeat the past? [Gatsby asked.]…Why of course you can!” Gatsby’s plight is remarkably relatable to many of us, as we have all longed to go back to a time when situations and circumstances were more desirable.
All together, the characters of Gatsby, Daisy, Myrtle and Tom represent the all too relatable and very human longing to be truly happy and fulfilled in life. While their paths cross dark and complex areas causing many to be hurt along the way, they all reflect an undeniably innate desire that every single individual on this earth also longs for. The daily struggle of reaching for that happiness against the un inclined world around us is, as Fitzgerald described, “…boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
This summer, it seems incredibly likely that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby will be read with much more consistency than in previous times, due, in part to the phenomenal film rendition, but more so due to the incredible work that is responsible for the film’s inspiration. Indeed, as more come to love the tale and personally relate to it, F. Scott Fitzgerald will continue to be hailed as one of the greatest and most symbolic writers of the twentieth century. At least that is what the rare book dealers are signaling.