Event—Adult Education

Re-Reading American Classics: The Great Gatsby


Delve into under-appreciated aspects of Fitzgerald’s American classic, especially how it can be read as a crime novel.

The Great Gatsby cover, 1925. Source: Cover illustration by Francis Cugat (1893–1981). Published by Charles Scribner's Sons., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

Few literary characters add a word to the American vernacular vocabulary, and Jay Gatsby is one of them: “Gatsbyesque” references the voluptuous material excess of the Roaring ‘20s and Gatsby's pursuit of a dream. 

Not a best-seller when it was first published, The Great Gatsby eventually became a leading candidate for “The Great American Novel,” a text which paradoxically both describes and creates American identity. 

In this class, we will grapple with that idea, and delve into under-appreciated aspects of Fitzgerald’s text, especially how it can be read as a crime novel.

Bill Savage is Professor of Instruction in the English Department at Northwestern University. He has taught seminars at the Newberry Library since 1992.

Materials List

First Reading

  • No first reading assignment

Cost and Registration

Four sessions, $195 ($175.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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