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
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?