Fri, Jun 8 at 7 p.m. | 90 minutes
Because it is so familiar, The Great Gatsby is little known. Half the literary world thinks the novel is a masterpiece, and the rest, conditioned by movies or the cliches of lousy classes, consider it a vacuous ode to wealth and social climbing. A new theory about Fitzgerald even suggests that he was using Connecticut instead of Long Island for his material. By gazing on the glitter of materialism, too many readers have ignored the shadows in which the deeper meanings are inscribed.
One of the secret keys to the symbolism is a series of drawings, in private hands but available to us during this discussion, made for the original cover image, along with the painting that was used, which lead to an interpretation that is vastly different from any other. Dive again into this brief but far from shallow fountain of symbolism, history, and philosophy and you will never read Fitzgerald in the same way again.
Charles Riley II is the director of the Nassau County Museum of Art, an arts journalist, curator and professor at Clarkson University. He graduated from Princeton and received his Phd from City College of New York.