"Gatsby in Class: 1961-2021"

An Online Lecture and Q&A with Andrew Newman


Part of the Norton Library and Norton Critical Edition Speakers Series

The most important, least studied aspect of the cultural history of The Great Gatsby is its use in the classroom, where most of its many millions of readers first encountered it. Scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to what Gatsby means, but how, over successive generations, has it been taught and understood? How has its American-dream-theme played differently, depending on the teacher's approaches and the students' socio-economic vantage points? This presentation surveyed the teaching of Gatsby over six decades, from Scribner's 1961 "School Edition" through to today's Norton Critical Edition, which is now a milestone in the history of literature instruction.


Andrew Newman is a Professor and Chair of the English Department at Stony Brook University. His book-in-progress is "The High School Canon: The History of a Civic Tradition." A 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, this summer he'll be co-directing a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for School Teachers on "Making the Good Reader and Citizen: The History of Literature Instruction in American Schools."


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