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The unforeseen beauty of public domain reworks

  

 

Revisiting Gatsby [A&C]

The unforeseen beauty of public domain reworks

  The Brown Daily Herald

By AJ Wu

December 6, 2023 | 11:16pm EST

   The Great Gatsby entered the public domain in 2021. The air tasted the same. The clocks chimed no differently. The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg remained unblinking. But the world as we—those of us exposed to The Great Gatsby in a high school English class—knew it was forever changed.

Along with its newfound availability on Project Gutenberg, The Great Gatsby’s release into the public domain also came with many creative adaptations. During quarantine, documentary filmmaker Ben Crew embarked on a project to distract himself from the looming chaos of the global pandemic and the 24/7 news cycle covering “what was happening in D.C.” He emerged from lockdown with a 104-page script for a Muppets adaptation of The Great Gatsby. The work—which introduces a magnificent portrayal of Gatsby from our favorite green frog, as well as Nick Carraway’s constant internal monologuing confusing his muppet co-stars—brings delicious charm and extravagant musical numbers to Fitzgerald’s original work. It quickly picked up a dedicated fanbase, which produced a fan-made poster and a Subreddit committed to launching the project.

Gatsby Great The—the text of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby with the words rearranged in alphabetical order by artist Ryland Stalder—is another inspired remix. While it does not make much sense narratively, it does shed light on the novel’s preoccupations—like a giant word cloud, it gets us both a little farther away from the plot and closer to the core of the novel and how it makes us feel and what it inspires us to think about. The alphabetical reading provides new and uncanny strings of words such as “dazed dazzling dead” and “loneliness, lonely lonely Long.” When stripped away of all narrative context, these amusing but thought-provoking strings retain and amplify the emotional core of The Great Gatsby. They describe in a way different from other formats the idea that extravagance is ephemeral and how loneliness becomes unbearably long.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was buried in Rockville, Maryland, where I grew up. His grave is almost visible from the window of my tenth-grade English classroom. When Fitzgerald died at 44, having suffered from alcoholism and a series of three heart attacks, his books were all out of print and he believed himself fated to fade into literary obscurity. He requested “the cheapest funeral” possible and was buried where his father had lived—in Rockville, allegedly because he had made no plans to be buried anywhere else.

While Fitzgerald may have been mostly apathetic about his relationship with Rockville, Rockville is decidedly more eager to claim Fitzgerald. Every fall, my hometown hosts the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival, a three- to four-day event. The festival offers writing workshops and talks on Fitzgerald scholarship, celebrates literary guests of honor—past honorees include Richard Powers and Barbara Kingsolver—and winners of various sponsored short story contests read from their stories.

Almost immediately after Gatsby’s copyright was lifted, a podcast I’ve been a long-time fan of, Planet Money, released a four-hour episode consisting of a full reading of the novel by their cast of journalists and economists. The episode is simply captioned: “All of it.” I listened, bemused but appreciative of an easily accessible audiobook version. Other forthcoming adaptations of the text include a Broadway musical headed by Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine and a graphic novel first published in Australia in 2007 and now finally releasable in the US over a decade later. Following predecessors such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the novel has also been turned into The Great Gatsby Undead—a ghoulish retelling by Kristen Briggs where Gatsby is a vampire. One of my personal favorites is The Great Gatsby: But Nick Has Scoliosis, which is The Great Gatsby verbatim except for a sentence added in haphazardly every chapter that references Nick having scoliosis.

Not all adaptations, however, are created equal. Nick, a prequel by Michael Farris Smith that fabricates a backstory for the novel’s least interesting character, Nick Carraway, misses the mark entirely on why The Great Gatsby is compelling to begin with. It’s a perfectly fine novel about a World War I soldier, his struggle with PTSD, and a tragic love affair, but I can’t help wondering what the point of its attachment to Gatsby is other than as a substitute for developing characters and stories compelling enough for people to care about on their own. A YA author I can’t stand and have had a private vendetta against since middle school recently released a queer retelling of The Great Gatsby that focuses on a romance between Nick and Gatsby. I was moderately put off and complained to a friend, “You can just write YA! You can just write that! It doesn’t need to be about Nick and Gatsby.” I like a good queer romance but found it a poorly executed choice tonally that stripped away a lot of the weight of the original novel’s messaging about the American Dream, unrequited love, and temporality. It doesn’t add to Gatsby in any direction except laterally.

Muppet Gatsby and Scoliosis Gatsby don’t take themselves nearly as seriously, which may be why I find them so enjoyable while reading other Gatsby retellings makes me wonder if attempting to earnestly follow Fitzgerald is a doomed effort. Imitations of Gatsby that clearly wish to repackage the themes of the original but inevitably fall short only invite comparison to the original novel in a way that is unhelpful and uncharitable to the authors of these retellings. 

Halfway through The Great Gatsby, Nick warns Gatsby, “You can’t repeat the past.” To which Gatsby responds incredulously, “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” The futility of repeating the past (and rewriting what’s already been written) may be a message that has evaded some Gatsby re-tellers.

I think some of my hesitation to accept certain self-serious Gatsby retellings stems from a reluctance to fully recognize them as substantial and separate them from the likes of fanfiction relegated to AO3 and FanFiction.net. I have, however, had reason to re-evaluate this outlook on a few occasions. One of my more eccentric English teachers was notorious for publishing an overwhelming amount of Shakespeare fanfiction, including a modern Macbeth retelling about two teens, Mackenzie and Beth (their ship name is Macbeth). Sitting in her classes on how stories change in relation to their time and place (and hearing about her heated argument with her publisher about whether Ophelia’s skirt should be longer on the cover of her YA Hamlet novel) was one of the first times I considered that both thematically compliant as well as wildly divergent retellings of classic stories could have merit on their own.

Adaptations of other widely read classics by Shakespeare and Jane Austen are now prevalent to the point that some of the most iconic examples—10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, West Side Story—have escaped the orbit of the original and left their own lasting cultural impacts. I can only anticipate that as more creators take advantage of The Great Gatsby’s availability, the quality of Gatsby retellings will also continue to stretch towards similar heights.

Ultimately, there’s something pretty lovely about caring about stories and endeavoring to create upon their foundations. The original Jay Gatsby might’ve died with the Roaring Twenties, but Kermit-as-Gatsby (and his numerous brethren) will carry on and change with the times to be what we may or may not need them to be.

When Publishing F. Scott Fitzgerald is the Family Business

  


Charles Scribner III on Three Generations in the Book Business

By Charles Scribner III

 

November 28, 2023

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life and career bounced between success and setbacks like the alternating current of major and minor keys in a Mozart symphony. He was born in 1896, the brink of a new century. Just as his life bridged two centuries, so does his work have a Janus-like aspect, looking back to the Romantic lyricism and epic dreams of nineteenth-century America and forward to the syncopated jazz of the twentieth. “My whole theory of writing,” he said, “I can sum up in one sentence. An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.”

How magnificently, if posthumously, he fulfilled that ideal. His fleeting literary fortunes—a dozen years of commercial and literary success followed by distractions and disappointments—ended in 1940 with a fatal heart attack at the age of forty-four. He was then hard at work on The Last Tycoon, the Hollywood novel he hoped would restore his faded reputation. At the time of his death his books were not, as is so often claimed, out of print with Scribners, his publisher. The truth is even sadder: They were all in stock at our warehouse and listed in our catalog, but no one was buying them.

When Fitzgerald’s daughter, Scottie, first approached the Princeton University Library and offered to donate her late father’s papers she was turned down. It couldn’t be the repository, the librarian said, for every failed alumnus author’s papers. Fortunately she gave them a second chance, several years later, to reconsider.

Today those archives are the most avidly consulted holdings of the library by scholars who come there, as if on pilgrimage, from all over the world. More copies of Fitzgerald’s books are now sold each fortnight than the entire cumulative sale in his lifetime. His novels and stories are studied in high schools and colleges across the country—indeed around the world.

I was the fourth Charles to be involved in publishing his works ever since my great-grandfather signed him up at the prodding of his young editor of genius Max Perkins in 1919. But three generations and namesakes later (ours is a redundant family) I am struck by the realization that mine was the first generation—of no doubt as many to come—to have been introduced to this author’s work in a classroom.

My grandfather, Fitzgerald’s contemporary and friend as well as publisher, died on the eve of the critical reappraisal and the ensuing revival of his works that gained momentum in the 1950s and has continued in full force down to the present. It was my father who presided over that literary apotheosis unprecedented in American letters.

There is something magical about Fitzgerald. Much has been written—and dramatized—about the Jazz Age personas of Scott and Zelda. But the real magic lies embedded in the prose, and reveals itself in his amazing range and versatility. Each novel or story partakes of its creator’s poetic imagination, his dramatic vision, his painstaking (if virtuoso and seemingly effortless) craftsmanship. Each bears Fitzgerald’s hallmark: the indelible stamp of grace. He is my literary candidate to stand beside the demigods Bernini, Rubens, and Mozart as artists of divine transfigurations.

The key to Fitzgerald’s enduring enchantment lies, I submit, in the power of his romantic imagination to transfigure his characters and settings—as well as in the very shape and sound of his prose. There is a sacramental quality, one that did not wane along with formal observance of his Roman Catholic faith. I say “sacramental” because Fitzgerald’s words transform their external geography as thoroughly as the realm within. The ultimate effect, once the initial reverberations of imagery and language have subsided, transcends the bounds of fiction. I can testify from firsthand experience.

At the time of his death his books were not, as is so often claimed, out of print with Scribners, his publisher. The truth is even sadder: They were all in stock at our warehouse and listed in our catalog, but no one was buying them.

From his earliest days, Scott wanted nothing more than to be a writer: “The first help I ever had in writing was from my father, who read an utterly imitative Sherlock Holmes story of mine and pretended to like it.” It was his first appearance in print, at age thirteen. Here’s the chilling dénouement (which proves that writers are made, not born):

“I forgot Mrs. Raymond,” screamed Syrel, “where is she?”

“She is out of your power forever,” said the young man.

Syrel brushed past him and, with Smidy and I following, burst open the door of the room at the head of the stairs. We rushed in. On the floor lay a woman, and as soon as I touched her heart I knew she was beyond the doctor’s skill.

“She has taken poison,” I said. Syrel looked around; the young man had gone. And we stood there aghast in the presence of death.

No surprise that he next took to writing plays, one a summer, for a local dramatics group. At Princeton, he wrote musical comedies for the Triangle Club before he flunked out (chemistry was the culprit), joined the army, and wrote his first novel, This Side of Paradise, which was eventually adapted to the stage as a musical under the title The Underclassman.

“Start out with an individual and you find that you have created a type—start out with a type and you find that you have created nothing.” Fitzgerald started out with himself—a good choice. “A writer wastes nothing,” he said, and he proved it by mining his early years at St. Paul and Princeton to forge his early stories, poems, and dramatic skits into that witty autobiographical novel that launched his fame.

Fitzgerald’s first novel was turned down twice by my great-grandfather. But he refused to give up. Years later writing to his daughter, Fitzgerald offered the following advice: “Don’t be a bit discouraged about your story not being tops. . . . Nobody became a writer just by wanting to be one. If you have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before.”

A couple of years later, he added some more technical advice: “All fine prose is based on the verbs carrying the sentences. They make sentences move.” Unlike his brisk prose, I did not move; I stayed on at Princeton for two more degrees, leaving the university only when there were no more to be had, but not before I had the pleasure of teaching undergraduates. Since my field was art history, the next transition—into the family publishing business—was abrupt, but once again facilitated by Fitzgerald.

Ensconced at Max Perkins’s old desk at Scribners (which I was given because the senior editor complained that it ran her stockings) I dreamed up as my first book project in 1975 a revival of Fitzgerald’s obscure and star-crossed play The Vegetable; or from President to postman, which featured a presidential impeachment too true to be good: the play had opened—and closed—in 1922 at Nixon’s Apollo Theater in Atlantic City.

My post-Watergate project not only justified repeated revisits to the Princeton University Library for research in the Scribner and Fitzgerald archives—the mecca for Fitzgerald scholars—but, more important, brought me into a happy working relationship with his daughter, Scottie. The play was republished during the election year of 1976 and featured as a presidential address a confection of mixed metaphors.

Fitzgerald considered his year and a half spent on The Vegetable a complete waste, but I disagree, for he followed it with a new novel written with all the economy and tight structure of a successful play—The Great Gatsby. Both The Vegetable and Gatsby shared the theme of the American Dream (first as a spoof for a comedy, finally as the leitmotif of a lyric novel). I don’t think there has ever been a more elusive, mysterious, intriguing character than Gatsby. He’s pure fiction—and pure Fitzgerald: the hopeful, romantic outsider looking in.

He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.

Who cares how James Gatz became Jay Gatsby, bootlegger or worse? Who would not want to be in such a presence? But it was years later when I met President Clinton that those sentences came to life and recorded my experience of mortal, if presidential, charisma that I could never have imagined outside the bounds of fiction. Clinton made Gatsby real. Or perhaps Gatsby prefigured Clinton?

Fitzgerald wanted his book to be a “consciously artistic achievement. . . . I want to write something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned”— and he succeeded in spades. He later said that what he cut out of it, “both physically and emotionally, would make another novel.”

In his first letter to Perkins—summer of 1922—about his “new” novel, Fitzgerald wrote that it would “concern less superlative beauties than I run to usually” and “would center on a smaller period of time.” He was to change the period and locale as he began writing (it was originally set in the Midwest and New York around 1885), but he never abandoned his determination to limit the time frame and thus give a sharper focus to his plot and characters than he had done in his earlier two novels.

And this, I believe, was the result of his failed attempt at being a Broadway playwright. The special demands imposed by a play—a short work defined by acts and scenes, limited in time and setting—proved an ideal exercise in literary craftsmanship, which the young novelist sharpened through the long series of revisions while the play was in rehearsal.

From Fitzgerald’s long lost first draft of 1923 only a fragment survives in the form of the short story “Absolution” and two handwritten pages I discovered over four decades ago in a rare bookshop here in New York. They reveal that Fitzgerald had already settled on the essential plot and locale of the final version, but the story was told in the third person. The next year he wrote to Perkins that he was now working on a “new angle.” I’m sure he meant through the eyes of his inspired narrator Nick Carraway. (It’s worth streaming the famous Robert Redford film just to hear Sam Waterston tell the story—a generation before his fame in Law & Order.)

While writing an introduction to a new 1979 paperback edition of Gatsby, I decided to revive the original jacket—it is now an icon of the Jazz Age. Twenty years later it was enlarged, at my suggestion, into a huge poster for John Harbison’s opera The Great Gatsby at the Met. When Matthew Bruccoli discovered Cugat’s preliminary sketches for the Gatsby dust jacket in a country shop, serendipity allowed me at last to merge art history and literature. I’m a Gemini. For this once, thanks to Fitzgerald, my dual careers came into sync.

Francis Cugat is not a household name. Born in Spain on my birthday in 1893, he died in Connecticut on my dad’s birthday in 1981. He was a set designer for Douglas Fairbanks in Hollywood and decades later a consultant to Technicolor on films including The Quiet Man and The Cain Mutiny. He is better known as the brother of bandleader Xavier Cugat. He designed only one jacket for Scribners, and did not continue in that line of work. Yet his painting is the most celebrated—and widely disseminated— jacket art in twentieth-century American literature, and perhaps of all time.

After decades of oblivion, and several million copies later, like the novel it embellishes, this Art Deco tour de force has established itself as a classic of graphic art. At the same time, it represents a unique form of “collaboration” between author and jacket artist. Under normal circumstances, the artist illustrates a scene or motif conceived by the author; he lifts, as it were, his image from a page of the book. In this instance, however, the artist’s image preceded the finished manuscript and Fitzgerald actually maintained that he had “written it into” his book.

Cugat’s small masterpiece is not illustrative, but symbolic, iconic. The sad, hypnotic, heavily outlined eyes of a woman beam like headlights through a cobalt night sky. Below, on earth, brightly colored lights blaze before a metropolitan skyline. Cugat’s carnival imagery is especially intriguing in view of Fitzgerald’s pervasive use of light motifs throughout his novel, specifically in metaphors for the latter-day Trimalchio, whose parties were illuminated by “enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden.” Nick sees “the whole corner of the peninsula . . . blazing with light” from Gatsby’s house, “lit from tower to cellar.” When he tells Gatsby that his place “looks like the World’s Fair,” Gatsby proposes that they “go to Coney Island.”

Fitzgerald had already introduced this symbolism in his story “Absolution,” originally intended as a prologue to the novel. At the end of the story, a priest encourages the boy who eventually developed into Jay Gatsby to go see an amusement park, “a thing like a fair only much more glittering” with “a big wheel made of lights turning in the air.” But “don’t get too close,” he cautions, “because if you do you’ll only feel the heat and the sweat and the life.”

Daisy’s face, says Nick, was “sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth.” In Cugat’s final painting, her celestial eyes enclose reclining nudes and her streaming tear is green—like the light “that burns all night” at the end of her dock, reflected in the water of the sound that separates her from Gatsby. What Fitzgerald drew directly from Cugat’s art and “wrote into” the novel must ultimately remain an open question, though I believe the best candidate is not the famous billboard eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg but rather Nick’s image of Daisy, at the end of chapter 4, as “the girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs” of New York at night.

The reflected lights and ghosts of Gatsby—whether votive or festive—still transfigure Gatsby’s Island, where my family and I were transplanted in the mid-1980s after several generations on the mainland side of the Hudson River. From our new vantage point, I cannot look out over the sound without smiling at Fitzgerald’s description: “the most domesticated body of saltwater in the western hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound.”

There is no longer a dock at the beach in Lattingtown, and, as the crow flies, we are in fact several miles east of East Egg. But occasionally I catch a glimpse of a green light reflected in the water, and each time I drive through the Valley of Ashes (now the site of the Citi Field stadium) and approach the twinkling Manhattan skyline, I feel very much at home. The novel has made me a native.

One wise college professor told us that the ultimate function of art is to reconcile us to life. Fitzgerald’s prose is life enhancing; its evocative power endures. That is why I have no doubt he should be beaming still—from the other side of Paradise.

__________________________________

 

Excerpted from Scribners: Five Generations in Publishing by Charles Scribner III. Copyright © 2023. Available from Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

  

The House That Inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald's Daisy Buchanan Turns the Page

For Kingdom Come Farm, a new chapter is just beginning.

Just the mention of F. Scott Fitzgerald conjures images of Jazz Age romps through the French Riviera, Long Island’s Gold Coast, or Roaring ’20s Manhattan. Yet it was Lake Forest, Illinois, a suburb just north of Chicago, that the writer considered the most glamorous place in the world.

It was one girl who made the town wondrous for him. Ginevra King, the eldest daughter of stockbroker Charles Garfield King, was the It girl of Lake Forest. Known for her dark, curly hair and deep voice, Ginevra was part of a group of debutantes called the “Big Four” that included the golfer Edith Cummings, one of America’s first superstar female athletes. Ginevra was definitely out of Fitzgerald’s league.

The sprawling 1906 home has been lovingly restored by its new owners, but it hasn’t lost many Jazz Age touches that Fitzgerald might recognize.

The pair had a short relationship, meeting first at a party in Fitzgerald’s hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1915. They wrote letters to each other, and Fitzgerald visited King at her home, but within two years the relationship was over. In 1918, King would marry the son of a banker (and grace the cover of Town & Country). Fitzgerald would go on to write some of the most famous stories in American literature. Still, whether it was Isabelle BorgĂ© in This Side of Paradise, his debut novel, or Daisy Buchanan in Gatsby, King was the inspiration for almost all of Fitzgerald’s fictional women. And Lake Forest would forever stay in his mind as more than a place, as an ideal. Kingdom Come Farm, the sprawling mansion built for the Kings in 1906 by Howard Van Doren Shaw, served as the heart of the writer’s life in this period, and today it’s once again the grand house it used to be.

“Here’s the room where the party would make their way out to the lawn,” says Jeanette Hodgkinson, pushing open doors that lead to the back yard of the home she and her husband Danny moved into in 2019. That’s likely where, if the legend is true, Charles King told Fitzgerald that “poor boys shouldn’t think of marrying rich girls.”

But 1915 was a long time ago. Over the years the home’s luster faded; it changed hands repeatedly and was remodeled in Colonial Revival style with Art Deco touches in 1938. It was updated again in the mid-’50s, but after that, nothing. Paint chipped, mold set in, a statue in the pool made by the architect’s daughter, Sylvia Shaw Judson, went missing. “There was a buck living in the back yard,” Danny says.

When the couple first visited the home, it was just months away from demolition. The Hodgkinsons bought Kingdom Come Farm and 1.4 acres, including an English garden, in the fall of 2018 for less than $700,000—a significantly lower price than years earlier, when the house and five acres of land were listed for more than $6 million.

You could always tell through his fiction where Fitzgerald had been. His time in France influenced Tender Is the Night, and, of course, Long Island’s toniest towns served as the setting for The Great Gatsby. But, judging from Fitzgerald’s written works, Lake Forest was a forgotten chapter in his life. That might explain why the home’s importance has been overlooked. Even the Hodgkinsons were initially unaware of the connection. “It just felt special,” Jeanette says.




Condo at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Birthplace Listed for $350K


Live out your roaring '20s dream with modern comfort.

by Corinne Stremmel

From birth to age two, literary icon, F. Scott Fitzgerald lived on the second floor of a picturesque Victorian building nestled on the 400 block of Laurel Avenue in St. Paul. And now, you could too.

Listed at $350,000, this Putnam-style condo is just one of three Fitzgerald landmarks in St. Paul. While many think of Fitzgerald living a glitzy booze-fueled lifestyle in New York, the Jazz Age author grew up as a Midwestern boy attending St. Paul Academy where he wrote his first story at age thirteen in the school’s newspaper.

He lived with his parents just five blocks east of his birthplace on 286-294 Laurel Terrace and famously lived at 599 Summit Ave where he wrote This Side of Paradise in the summer of 1919. Fitzgerald’s daughter Scottie was born not long after in 1921 in St. Paul.

With plenty of history to back this listing, the owner Charlie Brokaw said he’s needed to do minimal upkeep and the building has been well maintained over the years.

Situated in Ramsey Hill, residents can enjoy the quiet, historic neighborhood while being close to plenty of restaurants and shopping with Selby Avenue just two blocks away.

Despite being built in 1892, the home maintains a chic appearance with exposed brick interiors, a fully updated kitchen, in-unit laundry, and plenty of storage. Plus a plaque outside the building notes its historical significance as Fitzgerald’s birthplace, so expect a few Fitzgerald fans to occasionally visit to read the plaque and take a few pictures.

The building has two addresses, 479 for units on the east side of the hallway and Fitzgerald’s former address, 481 Laurel Ave for the units on the west.

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Gatsby First Edition: Sold for $200,000 at Cannes Dinner at amfAR

  

 

The Great Gatsby First Edition: Sold for $200,000 at Cannes Dinner at amfAR

By

 Shantanu Parmar

 -

Saturday, 17 July 2021, 09:33 EDT

 

We have all heard about the book called as The Great Gatsby. It is a legendary novel by a legendary author F. Scott Fitzgerald. It seems that recently the first edition of the book was sold at the Cannes Dinner auction for a whopping $200,000. So, how did this come to happen?

Well, the entire event happened at the Cannes Dinner. This event marks the end of the Cannes film festival. It is filled with dinner where rich people sit and bidding happens after  a fashion show. This is where they bid on things such as dresses made by amazing designers such as Versace, Balenciaga and Givenchy. In the previous auction which coulnd not take place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number were not that good and hence the pressure was felt this time to make sure that this was a successful event.

Before we move to the deal that we are talking about, let us find out about why the importance of Cannes amfAR dinner has been falling. This is because of a scandal that had allegedly taken place. The previous chairman was accused was said to have funnelled about $600,000 to one Mr. Harvey Weinstein.

The theme of the night was The Great Gatsby. Hence to keep in light with the theme Sharon Stone sought to auction off the first edition of the book. But, this was not any first edition. It was the first edition which was signed by two of the protagonists of the movie adaptation. Yes, you heard that right, it was signed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford.

Not only this, it also came with some perks of itself. It featured the cufflinks that these two men had worn. Moreover, it also featured a lunch with Ms. Sto

Great Gatsby is back in fashion

No film makes you ache for summer more than The Great Gatsby. In Newport, Rhode Island, where I spent my summers growing up, Gatsby's legacy is alive and well. Those huge white palaces (or 'cottages', as they're known locally) are still there, including Rosecliff, which doubled as Gatsby's house for the 1974 film. Tennis 'whites' are still required if you're on court, and the cocktails and the socialising are as potent as they ever were.
My affection for the book began when I first read it at 16, and despite an instant dislike for Daisy, my selfish, careless namesake, I chose it as the theme for my debutante coming-out party (yes, they still exist) the following summer. It was as big as any wedding extravaganza, beginning with the invitations, which came in boxes with colourful boas for the girls and sparkly bow ties for the boys. Our driveway was lined with a collection of 1920s Studebakers, Ford Model Ts and Chrysler Imperials, and guests were offered a glass of champagne to sip as they made their way past the cars to the party. My parents invited 150 people for a seated dinner at our house, which was decorated with enormous stands of black and white flowers, sparklers and pearls. A further 250 came to dance under a full moon to two jazz bands; there were even cigarette girls and a doughnut-making machine. Most of my friends stayed reasonably in control, except for my cousin Gigi, who got so 'tired and emotional' that she fell into the band and had to spend the night in the 'sleeping tent' that my parents had thoughtfully erected for just such an eventuality. Prohibition was long gone but we were still underage and fortified ourselves with surreptitious shots of vodka and cigarettes. The shots made me tipsy but really intoxicating was the knowledge that I had all the best parts of my life in front of me. I felt like Nick Carraway at the start of the story: 'It had been a golden afternoon… I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.'
First published in 1925, F Scott Fitzgerald's novel, which encapsulates the aimlessness hidden behind a smokescreen of opulence that was the roaring Twenties, only became truly popular after his death in 1940. But still it was not until the 1974 film, starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow and Sam Waterston, that the visual language of Gatsby and the term 'Gatsbyesque' came into existence. People are never more intrigued by the tale than in times of financial strife, when the excesses of the past become so rose-tinted. The film launched during the throes of a major recession, the oil crisis of 1973 was choking the USA and inflation had hit an all-time high. Now, with the world desperately clambering out of a global recession and oil prices soaring again, Baz Luhrmann, the man behind Moulin Rouge, is helming a lavish 3D remake starring Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hayley Atwell and Tobey Maguire. Luhrmann certainly sees the similarities between the rise and fall of Gatsby and our recent economic troubles, and considers it a good way to teach us a lesson: 'If you tell people, "You've been drunk on money," they're not going to want to see it. But if you reflect that mirror on another time, they're willing to.'
Designers have consistently used Gatsby as a reference point. This season once again there are languid silk pyjamas at Rochas, just made for a sultry night spent sipping gin-spiked lemonade, and Chanel has black and white numbers that are perfect to slip into after a late game of tennis. Stella McCartney has given girls Gatsby's three-piece white suits, while Roksanda Ilincic tapped Daisy herself, wrapping her models in layers and layers of romantic chiffon. Phillip Lim has a turquoise tunic dress with a jaunty collar, perfectly suited to the tomboyish athlete Jordan Baker, and Erdem's floaty floral dresses in vibrant greens and yellows on white are just the thing for a spot of croquet.

It's not just designers and directors who have a thing for Gatsby.
Sigourney Weaver took her first name from the book: 'An act of desperation because I didn't like being called Susie.' Marc Jacobs is so obsessed that 'both my dog and my perfume are named after my favourite literary character Daisy Buchanan'. Even Hugh Hefner, still a fast-living playboy in his eighties, says it's his favourite novel, and Brad Pitt and David Beckham have aped Gatsby's style for the red carpet. For die-hard fans, there is now an online game where you can go on your own hunt for Gatsby at his party, dodging menacing waiters, drunks throwing bottles, and flappers doing the Charleston, winning points by downing Martinis along the way.
But there is one famous face who loves Fitzgerald so much that at times she seems like the reincarnation of Zelda herself. Kate Moss is so obsessed with the legend of the Fitzgeralds that her long-suffering fiancé Jamie Hince tried desperately to track down Zelda's diamond engagement ring with which to propose to her. He only managed a copy, but what could be more perfect for the girl who once confided that she is obsessed by Gatsby (Marianne Faithfull introduced her to the book) despite its unhappy ending: 'I know,' she said. 'But it was the whole lifestyle, the whole thing.' And who can forget her extravagant Beautiful and Damned-themed 30th birthday party at Claridge's a few years ago? The evening allegedly descended into the kind of decadence not seen since Fitzgerald's day; Moss, a vision in a blue sequined dress, with smouldering eyes and curly golden tresses, had struck the perfect note of the Lost Generation's tragic glamour.

Now once again summer is just around the corner and with it comes that perpetual promise of a glittering Gatsby- esque future for us all.

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