The Atlantic

To Its Earliest Reviewers, Gatsby Was Anything but Great

The canonical novel, published 90 years ago today, was initially deemed "unimportant," "painfully forced," "no more than a glorified anecdote," and "a dud."
Source: Bettman / Getty

"To make Gatsby really Great," Edith Wharton wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald on April 8, 1925, "you ought to have given us his early career (not from the cradle-but from his visit to the yacht, if not before) instead of a short resume of it. That would have situated him & made his final tragedy a tragedy instead of a fait divers for the morning papers."

had already 21,000 copies in its first year, less than half of the first-year sales for or This was a source of frustration to Fitzgerald, who had been

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