You see, but you do t observe. Holmes to Doctor Watson AN OPTICAL ILLUSION CALLED THE GREAT GATSBY presumes to observe what Fitzgerald meant when in 1924 he excitedly wrote a friend that The Great Gatsby (published 1925) was a new thinking out of the idea of illusion. The precise nature of Fitzgerald's illusion-making-its technique or leger-de-main, and its centrality to the vel as a whole-remains more or less a mystery to this day. Small wonder the author complained following his vel's appearance that of all the reviews, even the most enthusiastic, t one had the slightest idea what the book was about. Since the vel's publication in 1925, readers, in particular those luckless eugh to have been taught the vel in colleges and universities, have been indoctrinated into believing THE GREAT GATSBY to be little more than an embodiment of a fantasy (t mentioned anywhere in the vel, itself) called The American Dream. The vel Fitzgerald actually wrote is infinitely more profound, interesting and universal. GATSBY is most certainly Great. A recent list of top-100-vels ranked it #1. Readers and critics alike consider it the major contender for yet ather fantasy or illusion, The Great American Novel. And, w girding its loins against a mindless Hollywood extravaganza bearing its name, starring some drop-dead cutie named Leonardo butchering the title role, THE GREAT GATSBY has been apotheosized into a NEW YORK TIMES best-seller in fiction. High time to observe the drop-dead wonderful book F.Scott Fitzgerald was putting on the page some four score and ten years ago.
ERNEST LOCKRIDGE (b. Nov. 28, 1938) graduated Phi Beta Kappa with High Honors from Indiana University in 1960. A Rhodes scholarship finalist he was Woodrow Wilson and Lewis-Farmington Fellow at Yale University where he earned Honors in all his graduate courses, was awarded an Inaugural Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship (1962-3) and completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in English within three years (1960-3). Hired by Yale's Department of English (1963-71), he taught there during the Golden Age when its English Department was internationally rated Number One. Lockridge was selected Fellow at The Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (1969-70). In May1971, Yale's seven undergraduate literary prizes were won by his students, for work written under his supervision. He is author of three novels, one of which, Prince Elmo's Fire, was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. His Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Great Gatsby remained in print for a quarter century. His ground-breaking work on Ernest Hemingway has been published in The Hemingway Review and elsewhere. From 1971-91, Lockridge taught English at The Ohio State University where in 1976 he was promoted to Full Professor and in 1985 was awarded the University's premier award for teaching excellence, The OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. He took early retirement after 28 years in full academic regalia, and has devoted himself to writing, jazz sax and clarinet, painting, family, and travel. Travels with Ernest, co-authored with his famous wife, sociologist and poet Laurel Richardson, was published in 2004. He delivered The OSU Department of English Fifth Annual Emeriti Lecture, April 8, 2010. Emeritus Professor of English, Ernest is a jazz musician and painter of award-winning paintings that have appeared in solo exhibits, galleries, and on the covers of books. He is father of three, stepfather of two, grandfather of eight.