№6 2019

УДК / UDK: 821.111

Author: Elvira F. Osipova
About the author:

Elvira F. Osipova (Doctor Hab. of Philology, independent researcher, Saint-Petersburg, Russia)

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The paper reviews various interpretations of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald in both Russian and American critique. A conclusion is made that the idealization of the protagonist is the result of a long tradition of treating Jay Gatsby as both a victim of circumstances and a romantic dreamer. The social context of the time and the place is not adequately assessed, although it determines the character of the central figure of the novel. Fitzgerald’s famous book not only renders the charm of the Jazz Age, but reveals the seamy side of American life in the 1920s. American press of that time was full of news of mafia wars, racket, money laundering, bootlegging, wide-spread corruption of politicians closely connected with the criminal world. The echo of these events is quite audible in “The Great Gatsby”. The paper is, in fact, an enquiry aimed at revealing the real character of Jay Gatsby. It traces his evolution – from a penniless officer who after returning from Europe to New York City agreed to work for the mafia – one of the leaders of a criminal gang. The combination of artistic imagination and historic facts requires an untraditional analysis – searching for clues, juxtaposing facts and dates, checking the words of witnesses and weighing different versions of events described in the novel. The quality and exactness of translation also come under scrutiny: the translation of the novel made by E. Kalashnikova sometimes deviates from the original, which does not help the reader to get an adequate idea of Gatsby’s true nature.

Keywords: Francis Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, New York City mafia, Arnold Rotstein, unreliable narrator, Al Capone.

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