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The Great Gatsby Research Project  

This guide will assist you as you explore literary critisicm of The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940).
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Getting Started Print Page

What is in this guide?

This guide offers suggestions of online resources for both literary criticism and historical research in the Green Library at St. Mark's. The guide will assist you with


How do I begin?

Begin your research by using the databases at your disposal in the Green Library.  Links to the databases may be found under the tab "Scholarly Articles For Literary Research and Critical Analysis" on this page.  Pay particular attention to indexes or table of contents pages which virtually outline the whole body of literary criticism on Gatsby.  Once you have the spark of an idea, begin to formulate a question, for example:  How does the critic discuss the timeless issues of ambiguity and tragedy in the novel?   Or how do the critics, Trask and Trilling, analyze Fitzgerald's view of the American dream in Gatsby?  

Think broadly at first.  In the previous examples, you would choose an appropriate database and search for keywords such as Trilling, Trask, or American dream in Gatsby.  Consider, too, the critical interpretations that various scholars have made about theme, character, or symbol.

Be sure and review the Primer in Boolean logic tab on the Green Library welcome page; it will guide you through the process of narrowing terms and therefore the number of significant results you retrieve.


Selected Green Library Books of related Literary Criticism

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby:  A Literary Reference by Matthew J. Bruccoli

The Great Gatsby:  A Study by Frederick J. Hoffman

Great Gatsby (Bloom's Notes)

Great Gatsby:  Jazz Age (History in Literature) by Heinemann

Class Conflict in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (Social Issues in Literature) by Claudia Johnson

Joycean Elements in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby by Barney Tanner

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Odyssey:  A Reader's Guide to the Gospels in The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby:  The Novel, The Critics, The Background (Scribner Research Anthologies) by Henry Dan Piper

The Great Gatsby (Critical Insights) by Morris Dickstein

The Great Gatsby in the Classroom:  Searching for the American Dream (NCTE High School Literature Series) by David Dowling

Gatsby:  The Cultural History of the Great American Novel (Contemporary American Literature) by Bob Batchelor

The Great Gatsby (Penguin Critical Studies Guide) by Kathleen Parkinson


Cover Art for Important Gatsby Books

Cover Art
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Morris Dickstein (Editor)
ISBN: 9781587656088
Publication Date: 2009-09-01

Cover Art
Literary Masterpieces - Roger Lathbury
ISBN: 0787639605
Publication Date: 2000-03-29

Cover Art
Novels for Students - Diane Telgen (Editor)
ISBN: 0787616877
Publication Date: 1997-09-05

Cover Art
Literature and Its Times - Joyce Moss; George Wilson
ISBN: 0787606065
Publication Date: 1997-09-26

Cover Art
F. Scott Fitzgerald - Harold Bloom (Editor)
ISBN: 0791052540
Publication Date: 1999-09-01

Cover Art
Some Sort of Epic Grandeur - Matthew J. Bruccoli; Scottie Fitzgerald Smith (Afterword by)
ISBN: 1570034559
Publication Date: 2002-05-01

Cover Art
A Life in Letters - F. Scott Fitzgerald; Matthew J. Bruccoli (Editor); Judith S. Baughman (Editor)
ISBN: 0684195704
Publication Date: 1994-07-18

Cover Art
Critical Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" - Scott Donaldson (Editor)
ISBN: 0816186790
Publication Date: 1984-06-01

Cover Art
Twentieth Century Literary Criticism - Sharon K. Hall (Editor); Phyllis C. Mendelson (Editor)
ISBN: 081030175X
Publication Date: 1978-03-31
This is an excellent source for finding many articles of literary criticism on Gatsby.


What is Literary Criticism?

Literary criticism is the term given to studies that define, classify, analyze, interpret, and evaluate works of literature. There are many types of literary criticism: some examples include historical criticism, textual criticism, feminist criticism, and formalist criticism. Literary criticism may examine a particular literary work or it may look at an author's writings as a whole.

One of the earliest published works of literary criticism on The Great Gatsby was written in 1945 by Lionel Trilling.   Prominent critics who followed Trilling were:  Alfred Kazin, 1951, James E. Miller, 1964, Ernest Lockridge, 1968, James Tuttleton, 1972, Collin Cass, 1980, Harold Bloom, 1991, as well as many others. Matthew J. Bruccoli is perhaps the most prolific of Fitzgerald's biographers and critics and has also edited numerous editions of Fitzgerald's correspondence, manuscript facsimiles, notebooks, and account ledgers.

Significant essays interpreting the novel that the Green Library owns are as follows:  

Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Great Gatsby edited by Ernest H. Lockridge, 1968 

Critical Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby by Scott Donaldson, 1984

Novels for Students, vol. 2,   Analysis, Context, and Criticism   pp. 64-86, edited by Diane Telgen, 1997

Literary Masterpieces, The Great Gatsby, vol. 1, by Roger Lathbury, 2000

Other works that might be helpful to Mr. Brown's classes include:

The Fictional Technique of Scott Fitzgerald by James E. Miller, 1957

Afternoon of an Author; A Selection of Uncollected Stories and Essays  by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1957 (original copyright 1920)

F. Scott Fitzgerald by Charles E. Shain, 1961

F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Contemporaries by William Goldhurst, 1963

F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Last Laocoon by Robert Sklar, 1967

F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Contemporaries by William Goldhurst, 1963

The Fitzgerald Reader by Arthur Mizener, 1963*F. Scott Fitzgerald; A Life in Letters by Matthew J. Bruccoli, 1994  

The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald edited by Andrew Turnbull, 1963

The Great Gatsby in historical context

To get you thinking about The Great Gatsby, the Jazz Age, and F. Scott Fitzgerald and his times, you may wish to review these videos and others for a brief expose of the Roaring 20's.


New Books Offering Analysis/Interpretation of Gatsby

Cover Art
The Great Gatsby - Kathleen Parkinson; F. Scott Fitzgerald
ISBN: 9780140771978
Publication Date: 2003-11-25

Cover Art
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Odyssey - Bernard R. Tanner
ISBN: 076182605X
Publication Date: 2003-09-25

Cover Art
Gatsby - Bob Batchelor
ISBN: 9780810891951
Publication Date: 2013-11-16

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