Sunday, September 19, 2010

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Fitzgerald Week!

Hello everyone! It's that time of year again, and once again, this blog will be dedicated to a week long celebration of F. Scott Fitzgerald's birthday (the actual day of honor is Friday the 24th). By now, you all know how obsessed I am with all things Fitzgerald, but this week isn't just about celebrating an alcoholic writer from 20s and 30s. Rather, it's a week for me to ruminate on how much books and language mean to me. It's a week to celebrate how important literature is to who I am as a person and a writer. I just happen to frame that celebration in the context of the man who's been my favorite novelist since I was fifteen. I'll be celebrating the week by reading a different Fitzgerald story every night and including lists and random thoughts related to his work on this blog. In the meantime, to kick off Fitzgerald Week, I thought I'd skip my Poem of the Week and post a Fitzgerald passage instead. And what would be more appropriate than some of the greatest paragraphs Fitzgerald wrote: the ending of The Great Gatsby. This is my favorite passage in all of American literature, and I am happy to share it whenever possible. Enjoy!

from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes - a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity to wonder.

And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dreams must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, in the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther....And one fine morning --

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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