Sunday, May 5, 2013

Scott's midnight cowboy

   Everybody's talkin' at me
   I don't hear a word
   they're sayin' ..

   A few years ago, it just happened to surface
   in the press, in passing, that some three 
   hundred thousand copies of The Great Gatsby
   were then being sold in the English language,
   every year. The text has enjoyed a scrupulous
   editing and continues to sustain the name of
   its Princetonian publishing family, Scribner,
   quite single-handedly, relieving any pressure
   on Hemingway. There really are plenty of en-
   during literary gestures in the American can-
   on but possibly none which can be said to be
   so plain and so impregnable. This is not an
   impenetrable book; but it is a book in the
   most autonomous sense, a communication des-
   tined for absorption in one distinctive way,
   steeped in a metabolic flux which gives the
   fairest warning against transposition into
   other constructions. 

   Here they go again, one could say, but it is
   not their fault. The Great Gatsby beats on,
   quietly unassailable and free. This is not
   allure; this is the current it comes in. It
   is always the Gatz boy, who was young when
   he left home, 

   .. going where the sun keeps shinin', 
   through the pourin' rain,
   going where the weather suits [his] clothes

   .. skipping over the ocean like a stone.



Fred Neil

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