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Gatsby, GATH, and Gault: The Influence of The Entailed Hat on The Great Gatsby

Meredith, David

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ISBN 10: 1425992781 / ISBN 13: 9781425992781
Published by AuthorHouse, 2007
Used Condition: Very Good
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Title: Gatsby, GATH, and Gault: The Influence of ...

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Publication Date: 2007

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title


Pr¿cis of "Gatsby, GATH, and Gault"On his return in 1924 from an extended stay in France, Scott Fitzgerald was exhausted both physically and creatively. His friend John Biggs, Jr., with whom he had collaborated on writing projects at Princeton, came to his aid. Not only did he find the Fitzgeralds a stately old Delaware mansion to lease, but he helped to direct Fitzgerald's imagination towards a new project. His recovery was rapid. By the middle of the year, Fitzgerald was well into the book that was published early in 1925 as The Great Gatsby.Meanwhile, Biggs was working on a novel of his own that was published in 1926 as Demigods. Different from each other though they might seem, these two novels are significantly alike in certain basic respects. In both books, the protagonist is shown resisting the pressures of fate that threaten him with living a life of mediocrity. Fitzgerald's Jimmy Gatz and Biggs's John Gault seek an adult identity appropriate to their own self-image and ambitions. For better or worse, these characters both attempt to create their destiny independent of divine or parental influence. Of particular interest, I find, is that they follow the same course as Meshach Milburn, the protagonist of a novel written nearly fifty years before by the American journalist/novelist/poet George Alfred Townsend, who wrote under the pen-name GATH. Thus the names GATsby and GAulT and one of the principal themes of all three novels, the quest for personal identity.This essay, "Gatsby, GATH, and Gault," attempts to assemble evidence that GATH's The Entailed Hat inspired John Biggs, Jr., and F. Scott Fitzgerald to write their own versions of this earlier novel for their own contemporary readership. All three of these novels present their protagonists' quest for personal identity and study the influence of America's capitalist institutions and materialistic outlook 6n life in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

About the Author:

David Meredith was born and reared in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As a child he heard about Patty Cannon and how the lay of her house (one side Of it in Maryland and the other side in Delaware) helped her avoid arrest for kidnapping Blacks and selling them South. On Sunday outings his family often paused for a while in front of this landmark, or admired the impressive old colonial house in Princess Anne where GATH's fictional Judge Custis is supposed to have lived, or inched down a rutty lane to the Nassawongo Iron Furnace near Snow Hill, all Of which landmarks figure in George Alfred Townsend's The Entailed Hat. Some years later Meredith found a battered copy of this novel by Townsend at a library book sale and read it through, lingering in horror over the chapters about Patty Cannon and her gang. Only fairly recently he read John Biggs's Demigods and began to see correspondences between Biggs's novel and Hat, and between both of them and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The outcome is this critical essay, "Gatsby, GATH, and Gault."Meredith, a retired Associate Professor of English, lives in Kent, Ohio. His degrees are a BA from Western Maryland College (now known as McDaniel College), an MA from Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD from Kent State University. Besides his dissertation, "Borrowing and Innovation in Five Plays by Aphra Behn," he has published an article on Elizabeth Bowen's "Ann Lee's" (in Massachusetts Studies in English, 8:2), five items in A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers, 1601-1800, ed. Janet Todd (1985), and several poems. While teaching at Kent

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