August 22, 2014 Critic Presents Fresh Perspective on "The Great Gatsby"

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In her recently published book on “The Great Gatsby,” Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air,” presents a new perspective on why F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel is a great work of literary achievement.

Corrigan will talk about her book “So We Read On: How ‘The Great Gatsby’ Came to Be and Why It Endures” at noon on Monday, Sept. 15, in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Co-sponsored by the Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division and its Poetry and Literature Center, the event is free and open to the public. No tickets are needed. A book sale and signing will follow the lecture.

Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby” in 1925 to mixed reviews. In 1940, after Fitzgerald died, the book experienced a revival in popularity, and each generation has read the book, which is usually required reading in high school, and adapted it to plays, films, musicals and a ballet.

Corrigan said she was inspired to investigate why “we are borne back ceaselessly into its thrall,” after teaching courses on “The Great Gatsby” for more than a decade and traveling throughout the country for the National Endowment for the Humanities Big Read program. Her book’s exploration into Fitzgerald’s personal history, narrative choices and his commentaries on race, class and gender, as well as the history of the novel itself, provides fresh insights into why Gatsby will continue to captivate readers.

In addition to her work on NPR, Corrigan is a lecturer and critic-in-residence at Georgetown University and a regular book reviewer for The Washington Post. Her literary memoir “Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading!” was published in 2005. She was an associate editor of and contributor to “Mystery and Suspense Writers” and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism presented by the Mystery Writers of America. Corrigan served as a juror for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

The Humanities and Social Sciences Division provides reference service and collection development in the Main and Local History and Genealogy Reading Room and in the Microform and Electronic Resources Center at the Library of Congress. It regularly sponsors programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature. The center administers the endowed chair, U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry; coordinates an annual season of readings, performances, lectures and symposia; and sponsors prizes and fellowships for literary writers. For more information, visit

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


PR 14-152
ISSN 0731-3527