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The Great Gatsby and Fitzgerald's World of Ideas, The Great Gatsby and Fitzgerald's World of Ideas, 0817310738, 0-8173-1073-8, 978-0-8173-1073-8, 9780817310738,

The Great Gatsby and Fitzgerald's World of Ideas
by Ronald Berman

Quality Paper
2000. 248 pp.
Price:  $24.95 s

Berman examines the intellectual and cultural milieu in which The
Great Gatsby
was created--and challenges accepted interpretations of
Fitzgerald's greatest novel.

"The Great Gatsby" and Fitzgerald's World of Ideas
focuses on F. Scott Fitzgerald and the prevailing ideas and values
that permeated American society in the late teens and early twenties, providing
a vivid portrait of the intellectual and cultural milieu in which The
Great Gatsby
was produced.

This new and original reading of Gatsby discloses
Fitzgerald's remarkable awareness of the issues of his time and his debt
to such philosophers and critics as William James, Josiah Royce, George
Santayana, John Dewey, Walter Lippman, H. L. Mencken, and Edmund Wilson.
Ronald Berman's fresh approach considers the meaning of various ideas important
to the novel: for example, those moral qualities governing both social
and individual life. Berman's reading of the text reveals extraordinary
emphases on matters that could productively be described as philosophical
-- the nature of friendship, love, and the good life. But the text of the
novel has many echoes, and the same concern with moral issues -- especially
those issues affecting democratic life - can be found in a number of other
texts of the first quarter of the century. Vigorously debated throughout
Fitzgerald's own lifetime, these texts shed a completely new light on the
idealism of The Great Gatsby and on the penetrating view it has
of life in a new form of American democracy.

A noted Fitzgerald scholar, Berman makes it clear that
accepted interpretations of The Great Gatsby and of Fitzgerald's
work in general must be changed. Berman demonstrates that Fitzgerald wrote
within a vast dialectic, relating the ideas of the twenties to those of
the "old America" described in so many of his works. Gatsby, Nick Carraway,
and the other characters of Fitzgerald's greatest novel all have to consider
not only their relationship to the present but also their distance from
what was once a highly meaningful past.

Ronald Stanley Berman is Professor of Literature at the University of California at San Diego and author of "The Great Gatsby" and Modern Times.

"A thoughtful and penetrating appraisal of the morals, ideas, and ideals of pre-World War I America that became the subjects of national debate prior to Fitzgerald's composition of The Great Gatsby. Berman succeeds brilliantly in opening to the reader a new door to understanding Fitzgerald's great novel. In a lucid, graceful, readable book, Berman proves that fine scholarship can always uncover a new layer of meaning enabling us to enter the world of the novel as if for the first time. No reader could ask for more."
—Ruth Prigozy, Hofstra University

"Berman provides new perspectives on Gatsby byshowing how prevailing ideas and attitudes of the time prompted Fitzgeraldto probe moral and ethical issues for this novel. . . . Berman's analysisof how the story unfolds and Gatsby captures the reader's emotion and compassionis an important contribution to the study of this novel."

Winner of the Elizabeth Agee Prize in American Literature, 1995

Also of Interest

Collected Writings of Zelda Fitzgerald
by Zelda Fitzgerald
Edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli

Great Gatsby and Fitzgerald's World of Ideas
by Ronald Berman

Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Twenties
Ronald Berman

Fitzgerald's Mentors
by Ronald Berman