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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

F. Scott Fitzgerald was Every Bit the Alcoholic, Grandiose Delusional Dreamer as His Fictional Character Jay Gatsby

00:00 41:49
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The Great Gatsby has sold 25 million copies worldwide and sells 500,000 copies annually. The book has been made into three movies and produced for the theatre. It is considered the Greatest American Novel ever written. Yet, the story of how The Great Gatsby was written has not been told except as embedded chapters of much larger biographies. This story is one of heartbreak, infidelity, struggle, alcoholism, financial hardship, and one man’s perseverance to be faithful to the raw diamond of his talent in circumstances that would have crushed others.
The story of the writing of The Great Gatsby is a story in itself. Fitzgerald had descended into an alcoholic run of parties on Great Neck, New York, where he and Zelda had taken a home. His main source of income was writing for the “slicks,” or magazines of the day, the main source being the Saturday Evening Post, where Fitzgerald’s name on a story got him as much as $4,000. Then on May 1, 1924, he, Zelda, and baby daughter Scottie quietly slipped away from New York on a “dry” steamer to France, the writer in search of sobriety, sanity, and his muse, resulting in the publication of The Great Gatsby a year later.
To tell this fascinating story is today’s guest, William Hazelgrove, author of “Writing Gatsby: The Real Story of the Writing of the Greatest American Novel.”
November 29, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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