Episode #1148

American Icons: The Great Gatsby

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Great Gatsby Feature Card_Big

Episodes of false identity, living large, and murder in the suburbs add up to the great American novel.

Studio 360 explores F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and finds out how this compact novel became the great American story of our age.  Novelist Jonathan Franzen tells Kurt Andersen why he still reads it every year or two, and writer Patricia Hampl explains why its lightness is deceptive. We’ll drive around the tony Long Island suburbs where Gatsby was set, and we’ll hear from Andrew Lauren about his film G, which sets Gatsby among the hip-hop moguls. And Azar Nafisi describes the power of teaching the book to university students in Tehran. Readings come courtesy of Scott Shepherd, an actor who sometimes performs the entire book from memory.

Produced by:

Emily Botein


David Krasnow

Comments [19]

Gabriela Rodriguez from Live Oak, Ca.

I teach The Great Gatsby to 11th grade English students every year. Besides reading it in high school, I have read it now 5 times, and look forward to it every year! My students find it to be as engaging as I and make it one of their favorites of high school.

Jan. 23 2014 10:40 PM
Myna from Dover, Delaware

I see so much of Gatsby in Don Draper on Mad Men TV show. The reaching for the American Dream and the irony of needing to take on a false identity to get it really hits home. All great stories get repeated!

Jun. 12 2013 08:42 PM
Myna from Dover, Delaware

I see so much of Gatsby in Don Draper on Mad Men TV show. The reaching for the American Dream and the irony of needing to take on a false identity to get it really hits home. All great stories get repeated!

Jun. 12 2013 08:42 PM
Nick Esquer from Scottsdale, AZ

"Gatsby" is, quite simply, my mantra. I live by this, finding it to be THE Great American Novel, as discussed in this episode. I have revisited this recording almost as much as the book itself to listen to the history of it, and what other people think about its complexities and its richness. I go back and read "Gatsby" every June and I always seem to find little hidden gems I never did before. That's when you know you have come upon something truly great.

Jan. 02 2013 04:23 PM

One thing that surprised me was how Mr. Gatsby died because he refused to move on and let go of the past.

Aug. 14 2012 08:26 PM
Little Asian from Albuquerque

I thought the book had many perspective from others that interested me to know how others thought of the book since some things about it made me agree to it. There were many morals to knowing about the book.

May. 19 2011 06:33 PM
abby gracia

cody and aj lol but let me give you a better understanding of the book.when you listen and i mean listen well to the radio show you can actually have a more clear understanding of it an why people love the book so much(some even want to be gatsby or attempt to be in living in that age in that book),because it reminds us of humor nature of gatsby an of other characters.but gatsby is a combination of innocence and faith because he is so commited to hes dreams-people love a person who never gives up on their dreams because in gatsby what they see is someone they can follow,i do dare to say a hero and someone thats is like them.

May. 07 2011 02:57 PM
ajante jones

It was pretty interesting on how the characters were acting, as cody said it does give me a better understanding on the book.!

Apr. 15 2011 10:41 AM
Cody ''THE MAN'' Marquez!!! from IDK where i am!

Hahaha naw i really enjoyed listening, although it was lengthy i believe i have a better understanding about the book now.

Apr. 15 2011 01:31 AM
Heather from Albuquerque

Gatsby is not only a serious look at the American Dream, but is funny too. The characters are ridiculous, realistic and unforgettable. Studio 360 does this classic justice.

Apr. 11 2011 04:17 PM
DocWilliam from St. Paul, Mn

As each year rolls by, Fitzgerald keeps getting better. So much is compressed into each sentence.

Dr. William

Dec. 08 2010 02:38 AM

Studio 360 is one of the few programs on radio or TV that is willing to not just acknowledge the Midwest, but to treat it as a place with value and perspective. That "Gatsby" is as much about the heartland as it is about New York is critical to understanding WHY it's an icon. Keep up the excellent programming.

Dec. 01 2010 02:48 PM
Betsy Delmonico

When you played the recording of Fitzgerald reading from Keats, I noticed that the first two lines on the tape were actually from Shakespeare's black Othello--the ones promising to tell a "round, unvarnished tale" about his courtship of Venice's darling Desdemona It seemed appropriate that the man who invented Gatsby would recite those lines.

Nov. 29 2010 06:27 PM
Buck from Minneapolis

A little dissent here. While I can't deny it's an "icon", I hated this book with a passion. Of course, it was being taught by an overheated English Lit teacher who kept bringing in her experiences during the 60s as what the Prophet Fitzgerald predicted... and treating Fitzgerald (and Steinbeck, Faulkner and, help us, Salinger) as Gods who Did It Best. I've tried reading it through again and again, and it's like eating old dust. Old, cheap dust. I guess one can recognize an icon, yet detest its very fabric.

Thank you, Mrs. Nelson.

Nov. 29 2010 11:11 AM
Sinman from Beverly, MA

My wife and I met at Daisy Buchanan's, a bar on Newbury St. in Boston 21 years ago. We are still together, and I decided to finally read the book with the character that bar is named after. Hearing this segmant on 360 was a treat.

Nov. 27 2010 11:01 PM

Renee Wietzner is correct that the language is a poem. Hearing it aloud as recited by Scott Shepherd was just terrific. Has he recorded a CD? I would love to have it.

Nov. 27 2010 12:21 PM

This is, bar none, my single favorite segment of this program. Because of this original broadcast, I rediscovered this classic, and it's about time to re-read it.....thanks Kurt and company for another incredible program....

Nov. 27 2010 08:08 AM
Renee Weitzner from Washington, DC

This is my favorite American novel. It's so powerful... and the language is a poem!

Nov. 26 2010 07:31 PM
Claire from Dallas, Texas

Gatsby is the perpetual outsider gazing at the desired. I think it is for this reason that the book resonates so strongly with readers.
But the language! Fitzgerald's language is a marvelous practice of the English language: concise, moving, and penetrating about human nature. A true classic.

Jun. 02 2008 03:25 PM

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