The Great Gatsby (1925) and Tender is the Night (1934) are the most highly regarded of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s four completed novels and remain widely read and much studied. Gatsby is the more famous of the two: it has been filmed four times, in 1926, 1949, 1974 and 2000, attracting key actors to the lead role — Warner Baxter, Alan Ladd, Robert Redford and Toby Stephens — and a fifth film is now in the making, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Baz Luhrmann (famed for his William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet). Through the novel and films, Jay Gatsby has become an iconic figure in American and perhaps global culture, a symbol of high aspiration, glamorous success and romantic defeat, like Fitzgerald himself. Very much a product of its time, Gatsby also seems to speak vividly to many readers today. But Tender, likewise engaging with aspiration, success and defeat, also continues to find many readers and interpreters and its concern with the traumas of sexual abuse and of war speaks to us perhaps more strongly than ever in the twenty-first century.
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