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English Literature   >   Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby


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Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

In this course Professor Meredith Goldsmith (Ursinus College) explores several aspects of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In the first lecture, we provide an introduction in the novel, highlighting its central preoccupations and thinking about the character of 1920s America. In the second and third lectures, we consider the characters of Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, respectively, before turning in the fourth lecture to gender roles and romantic pairings in the novel. In the fifth lecture we consider how the novel engages with race and ethnicity, before turning in the sixth lecture to think about the representation of the human impact on the environment in the novel. Finally, in the seventh lecture, we consider the novel’s representation of capitalism and modernity, focusing in particular on the car and the telephone.


In this lecture, we provide a short introduction to The Great Gatsby, focusing in particular on: (i) the richness of the text, and the importance of developing your own responses to the novel; (ii) the central preoccupations of the Great Gatsby: gender, race, capitalism, modernity, etc.; (iii) the language of the Great Gatsby; (iv) the importance of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, in the development of the Great Gatsby; and (v) the character of the 1920s in the United States – a time of great economic prosperity and cultural change, but also with a strong sense of loss following the First World War and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Goldsmith, M. (2024, April 18). Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Goldsmith, M. "Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Apr 2024,


Prof. Meredith Goldsmith

Prof. Meredith Goldsmith

Ursinus College