The Great Gatsby: Myth to Meme

EXPO 1213/1223: The Great Gatsby: Myth to Meme

Section 001 MWF 9:30am-10:20am (Friday asynchronous online)
Section 002 MWF 11:30an-12:20pm (Friday asynchronous online)

Office Hours: Monday/Wednesday after class from 10:30-11:00 & 12:30-1:00 and Friday 9:30-12:30 on Canvas/on Zoom by appointment. Other options will be available for Zoom Office Hours by appointment.

Click here for the Zoom Link for Office Hours + Conferences
Meeting ID: 950 3899 7721— Passcode: 70451209

Course Description

The Great Gatsby: Myth to Meme [TGGM2M] will follow the evolution of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, starting with its inception through its nearly century-long afterlife as one of the great American novels.

Beginning prior to its publication on April 25, 1925 and ending with its entry into the public domain on January 1, 2021, our course will start by interrogating myths, i.e. about the American Dream and Gatsby himself created by the novel’s unreliable narrator, by Fitzgerald as its author, and by nearly a century of critics, readers, teachers, students, and filmmakers.

We will ask whether, and to what extent, the novel’s popularity and resiliency are connected to myths it perpetuates as we attempt to demythologize them. Our journey will stop to consider how the novel intersects with gender (masculinity, dandyism, flappers), social class conditions (money, American Dream, acquisitiveness), race and race relations, aesthetics (fashion, art, style), identity performance (imposture, passing), and historical/social contexts (Prohibition, gangsters, organized crime, the Roaring Twenties), all of which remain important to American society then and now.

We will end by examining how these myths have influenced forms of Gatsby fandom, and how they might continue to do so as The Great Gatsby enters the public domain in our digital age.

Some Questions Motivating the Creation of TGGM2M

How is The Great Gatsby a 20-century novelization of an archetypal myth? Is Gatsby a mythic hero? A symbol? A cypher?

Why do we believe in the myths that create Gatsby, in which he believes? That he & the novel’s unreliable narrator create about him?

In what ways might a continued fandom & memeification of The Great Gatsby in the public domain continue to perpetuate or challenge or interrogate these myths or other myths about American society + identity in 1922? In 2022?

How might the novel’s entry into the public domain encourage &/or enable us to understand the creation and allure if such myths, and the beliefs systems and behaviors these myths consequential instantiate as history or truth?

Repeating the Past in the Public Domain

Why ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is This Generation’s ‘The Great Gatsby’

Why ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Is This Generation’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ [Step aside, Jay and Daisy.] After discussing how Crazy Rich Asians has been compared to Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, Natalie Sonier, a student at Wake Forest University, argues that the film is better understood compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby …

Multimedia-Multimodal Final Argument Project + Presentation

What Represents Your 21st Century Great Gatsby? And Why? In place of a final written assignment, you are invited to create an alternative genre, multimedia, or multimodal project that synthesizes what you have learned about argument writing in Expository Writing to represent your 21st Century Great Gatsby. In other words, you will design + present …

Option to Create an Evolving Blog Post or Page for PRELIM 6: Evolving Annotated Bibliography

There is an option for writing PRELIM : Evolving Annotated Bibliography as a Blog Post, earning both PRELIM credit + Blog Post credit. Students who have already completed 10 blog posts will be eligible for extra credit. First, sign in to your WordPress website (or other blog hosting program). Second, choose “Posts” or “Add New” …

Units + Texts

Unit 1: Reading The Great Gatsby as a Modernist Novel – Its Critical Reception

Unit 2: Myths in The Great Gatsby – Myths about Gatsby/America/American Identity

Unit 3: Remakes/Adaptations of The Great Gatsby in Other Genres

Unit 4: The Great Gatsby in the Public Domain: Memes + Fandom

About Dr. Mintler

I earned my PhD in English and Women’s and Gender Studies, with a focus in Fashion & Identity in Literary Modernism, from the University of Illinois, Chicago. From 2017-2019, I served as the Interim Director of the Expository Writing Program at the University of Oklahoma.

Since 2008, I have taught the following first year writing seminars for the Expository Writing Program: Fashion & Identity, What Is Work?, American Gangster: From Jay Gatsby to Jay-ZSeeing Is Believing, Citizens!, Doppelgängers & Doubles, Wolves of Wall Street, and Myth of the American Dream, and new this semester: your course: The Great Gatsby: Myth to Meme. I am in the process of designing the following two future courses for the Expository Writing Program: Prison Abolition and Peripatetic Worlds: Pilgrimage to Psychogeography.

I serve on OU’s Women’s and Gender Studies Center for Social Justice Social Justice Committee, am a member of OU Green Zone, and support OU military students through my service on the Pat Tillman Scholarship Committee. I have been a committed 2SLGTBQIA+ ally for the last 30 years.

I support and participate in community engagement projects involving prison abolition and decarceration initiatives. With colleagues from OU’s Expository Writing Program and Langston University, I cofounded OPWAF: Oklahoma Prison Writers and Artists Foundation and co-mentor an inmate writing group at Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington, Oklahoma. You can purchase a copy of the JHCC Writers Guild’s first published anthology, Emergence, here:

My research and scholarship in literary modernism explore connections between sartorial culture and formal innovation in the modernist novel, and the effects of this coalescence in representing modern identity. I have published on Ernest Hemingway and the female writer in the Kent State University Press series, Teaching Hemingway and Gender, and on F. Scott Fitzgerald and dandyism in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review.

I have received a National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH] Fellowship, an Annette Kolodny Award, and a Smith Reynolds Founders Fellowship from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society.

My two current research projects-in-progress propose a) that we read The Great Gatsby as the first literary gangster novel and b) that we find in the life and writing of Ernest Hemingway evidence of a post-war, twentieth-century flâneur figure.