When The Great Gatsby wasn’t so great
In this day and age, F. Scott Fitzgerald is pretty much a household literary name. His iconic Jazz Era novel, The Great Gatsby, is among the best-selling American classics and has been named the second best English-language novel of the 20thcentury by The Modern Library. If Fitzgerald were alive now, he'd surely be living the high life (as Gatsby did), closing million-dollar book deals, and maybe teaching at a prestigious university. However, Fitzgerald's popularity and The Great Gatsby's mass appeal didn't always exist.
According to Discover Magazine, Scribner only printed 23,870 copies of the novel, which sold sluggishly over the first months of its release. Fitzgerald was paid a mere $3,939.00 advance in 1921, which would equate to $50,098.58 today. These are surprising numbers, considering The Great Gatsby has since sold millions of copies and made its way to the top of countless "Best Novel" lists.
On the brink of another film rendition of the novel (starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan), we can all relax and realize that our efforts will eventually pay off. Just maybe not in this lifetime.