Bootlegger Jay Gatsby

The character Jay Gatsby is the modern equivalent of drug lord.  The difference between the 1920’s and today is that we have drug prohibition creating vast fortunes instead of alcohol prohibition.

First-time Fitzgerald readers may not know that upon his death, F.Scott Fitzgerald was largely forgotten. Dorothy Parker undertook the effort to edit and publish a book that began the author’s revival.

This is the book below,edited by Dorothy Parker, that started the resurgence.

Before the revival, like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was sad and tragic figure. After the age of thirty, his life began to spiral.

Something that English high school teachers usually fail to  mention is that Fitzgerald was an alcoholic. Prohibition didn’t seem to curtail his love for drink. His alcoholism contributed to his demise chronicled in Budd Schulberg’s The Disenchanted. Budd Schulberg was a Hollywood scion, author of several notable books, and colleague of Fitzgerald during the Pat Hobby story days.

The cover below of the paperback version is a little more telling about the world of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

This is a fascinating period of American history. American women had just been given the right to vote in 1919 and the “flappers” were blazing new trails. Automobiles were now widespread. Ford had only introduced the first Model T in 1908. Young people now had more freedom of mobility and the luxury of unchaperoned rumble seats.  The end of World War I, jazz music, and a booming economy made “The Lost Generation” want to party like it was 1999.

But most importantly, the 1920’s encompassed the grand experiment called Prohibition. Fitzgerald purportedly modeled Jay Gatsby on a real-life character George Remus. The story of George Remus is one that is truly stranger than fiction. An incredibly interesting story that rivals Jay Gatsby and one that  would never be told in bland American high school history books.