The Great Gatsby: An American Nightmare

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Yoon, ByungWoo
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서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
영학논집 21(1997): 127-146
American DreamPlatonic Conception
In 1945 Lionel Trilling defined The Great Gatsby, relating it with the "American dream," as a kind of historical novel about America itself. "For Gatsby," he said, "divided between power and dream, comes inevitably to stand for America itself. Ours is the only nation that prides itself upon a dream and gives its name to one, 'the American dream.'" According to Trilling, Scott Fitzgerald's clear intention in Gatsby is "that our mind should turn to the thought of the nation that has sprung from its "Platonic conception' of itself." Since Trilling, numerous critics have contributed to this line of historical approach to Gatsby. Connecting Gatsby's individual tragedy to the tragedy of American civilization, Edwin Fussell claimed in 1952 that the subject of Gatsby is "the whole of American
civilization as it culminated in his own time." "The theme of Gatsby," Marius Bewley stated in 1954, "is the withering of the American dream." Much of the Gatsby criticism centers on these interpretations.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)영학논집(English Studies)영학논집(English Studies) No.21 (1997)
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