Course Schedule


The Great Gatsby: novel, films, translations (Seminar)

Dozent/in: Emer O'Sullivan

wöchentlich | Dienstag | 16:15 - 17:45 | 03.04.2023 - 07.07.2023 | C 5.325 Seminarraum

Inhalt: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925 at the height of the ‘Roaring Twenties’, is a story about one man’s version of the American Dream. In 1999, in an end-of-the-millennium list compiled by the Modern Library, a committee of editors, writers, and scholars voted The Great Gatsby the best American novel of the 20th century, and in 2002 Book magazine’s panel of literary experts picked Jay Gatsby himself as the best fictional character since 1900. In Germany, no fewer than five new translations of the novel were issued in 2011 and 2012, and in May 2013 the film version directed by Buz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo di Caprio was released. The seminar, consisting of three parts, will address, and try to explain, the contemporary fascination with Fitzgerald’s novel and protagonist across language and media. We will approach the novel and the films from a range of disciplines: literary studies, translation studies, film studies and adaptation studies, also history, cultural studies, music, the visual arts, popular culture, race and gender studies. In the first part we will read "The Great Gatsby" closely, paying special attention to Fitzgerald’s narrative strategies and exploring the novel’s connections to a wide range of American historical and cultural issues of its time, such as rags to riches success stories, sports, gangsters and Prohibition, the culture of celebrity, consumer society, and changes in gender roles in the USA of the 1920s. In the second (shortest) part, we will look at the reception of "The Great Gatsby" in Germany. Starting with the first translation by Maria Lazar in 1928, through its successors of 1953, 2006, 2011 and the most recent one - the eighth - by Hans Christian Oeser (2012), we will trace the traditions of German translation and the different strategies used by translators over time and influenced both by their predecessors and the time in which the translations were undertaken. The third part of the seminar will be devoted to film adaptations of "The Great Gatsby" - especially to the 2013 Buz Luhrmann version but we will also engage with the 1974 version directed by Jack Clayton (screenplay Francis Ford Coppola, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow) and other earlier versions.