The second-highest grossing film at the box office this weekend–trailing only Iron Man 3–was The Great Gatsby, which earned an estimated $50.1 million. Not bad at all for a film with no explosions, car chases, or vampires. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, this 3D adaptation stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the title character (Jay Gatsby), Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. The film is, of course, a star-studded adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s most popular novel, which was first published in 1925. A copy of the first English edition of the novel from 1926 is currently housed at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Fitzgerald is generally regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the Modernist period, and is the face of the so-called “Jazz Age,” a term he coined. Along with The Great Gatsby, he also penned such notable works as “May Day” (1920), This Side of Paradise (1920), “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” (1922), “Babylon Revisited” (1931), and Tender is the Night (1934). The Literatures and Languages Library has nearly 100 primary and secondary resources by or about Fitzgerald.
Fewer people are familiar Fitzgerald‘s flirtations with Hollywood. He wrote, revised, and consulted on numerous scripts in the 1920s and 1930s. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation is the fourth full-length rendering of the novel for the big screen. The first version, released in 1926, has been lost. A 1949 version, starring Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby, was made, as well as a more popular version in 1974, starring Robert Redford as Gatsby and Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan.