The Great Gatsby

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Original cover art

The cover of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of art in American literature.[9] It depicts disembodied eyes and a mouth over a blue skyline, with the image of a naked woman reflected in the irises. A little-known artist named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the book while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing it. The cover was completed before the novel, with Fitzgerald so enamored of it that he told his publisher he had "written it into" the novel.[9]

Fitzgerald's remarks about incorporating the painting into the novel led to the interpretation that the eyes are reminiscent of those of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg (the novel's erstwhile optometrist on a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson's auto repair shop) which Fitzgerald described as "blue and gigantic — their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose." Although this passage has some resemblance to the painting, a closer explanation can be found in the description of Daisy Buchanan as the "girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs".[9]

Ernest Hemingway recorded in A Moveable Feast that when Fitzgerald lent him a copy of The Great Gatsby to read, he immediately disliked the cover, but "Scott told me not to be put off by it, that it had to do with a billboard along a highway in Long Island that was important in the story. He said he had liked the jacket and now he didn't like it."[10]

[edit] Title

Fitzgerald was ambivalent about the title, making it hard for him to choose. He entertained many choices before settling on The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald shifted between Gatsby; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Trimalchio; Trimalchio in West Egg; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby and The High-Bouncing Lover. Initially, he preferred Trimalchio, after the crude parvenu in...
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