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The Golden Hat

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  • Jeffrey Burns
    Hi Jim, It s funny you chose that Gatsby man. I just love the book. This, my friend is american literature! Yes, I agree with everything you say. About Gatsby.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 29, 2005
      Hi Jim,

      It's funny you chose that Gatsby man. I just love the book. This, my friend is american literature!

      Yes, I agree with everything you say. About Gatsby.

      Only, that's about Gatsby.

      For Gatsby is literature.

      Gatsby, it seems to me is not normative.

      Gatsby is a story.

      Is K using the same technique with the same aim ? I don't think so. But I can't prove it.

      You see, I see a slight difference between Scott Fitzgerald's and K's methods.

      The narrator in Gatsby is a character within the novel and is telling the story from the point of view of this character.

      Whereas in Either/Or, there is no narrator for it's not a story. The identity or point of view alteration lies outside the book, so to speak on the front page where K's hiding behind that Eremita gig.

      Now who ever was to genuinely believe there ever was a Mr Eremita ? Don't you think K has intended to be ultimately identified as the author of the book ?

      But nevermind that after all. Let us assume K did use the same trick.

      The question is now where is Scott-Fitzgerald in Gatsby and where is K in Either-Or.

      This is a very - VERY -- VVEERRYY -- interesting question!

      I don't know what your answer is for Scott-F, but I guess I know for K: nowhere.

      K is not inside Either/Or, he is outside.

      This is very interesting. It reminds me the very early section of, precisely, Either-Or, in the papers of A where it is discussed what makes a classic a classic.

      I think it's when K, sorry A, is concerned with sorting out classics and eventually trying to advocate for Mozart being the top of the pop's #1.

      Anyway, he trying to find out what the relation between Homere and that ancient wooden hoarse war is. Is it H who made this war a classic of literature or is it the war that made the classic.

      Rephrased in our context -Great Gatsby- it gives: is it the events of the story which drove Scott-F or is it Scott-F who ordered the story according to his art ?

      I can't remember the answer of K, sorry again, of A. All I can remember is that he says it is no pure accident when a classic is a classic. It's an adequation which has a part which is accidental. What is that part ? The fact that it was the story of a Gatsby guy instead of another story who made Scott-F a classic.

      Now, is Gatsby Fitzgerald ? Is it Nick Carraway ? Undoubtably, some biographical informations about Mr Carraway suggests a relation: the well-to-do family in the Middle Western city. When Mr Carraway moves east to learn about bonds, well of course can it not but remind of Scott-F years at Princeton University ? Of course there is a limit and we are here very interested in the limit. However the limit is not absolute. I rather think its permeable.

      Has Scott-F not said himself once that at times he didn't know whether he and his Zelda were real or were characters in one of his novels ?

      Now as to Gatsby the Great...

      This is much more difficult. I would quite willingly refer to a extension or projection. A "what if" sort of extension. "What if I wasn't afraid of burning down my house to give some light to my party goers of guests outside in the garden"'s, sort of if.

      What if I (Scott-F) was to wear the golden hat without fearing the consequences or the conditions. Of course it needs not be. It is also very likely to have been originated in a real acquaintance of Scott-F who suggested him this fascination.

      But the true issue is the fascination. Whose is that ? Well it's Carraway's, it's Scott-F's and more widely it's everyone's and that perhaps is why the Great Gatsby ultimately is a classic.

      Best regards,

      Jeff Burns



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