In my English class, a survey of American literature (what better class for an American writer?), I have a literary analysis to write on any work by any author not on the class’ syllabus.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald happens to fall into that category. Thus, Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited” is my literary work of choice.
And while procrastinating about writing it while doing a little reading on Fitzgerald himself (with “Midnight in Paris” playing in the background), I discovered that “The Great Gatsby” was underrated at the time of its publication.
Now, of course, it is one of the hallmarks of American literature and one of the first pieces you think of after hearing or reading the author’s name.
It struck me a little harder this time reading about some famous author’s work not being well received at the time of its publication.
Over the years, I would read things like that and keep glazing past. But being an author, somewhat doubtful about my own work yet to be released, I saw this as something of an encouragement.
Yes, perhaps my writing won’t be critically-acclaimed stuff or even well-received when I publish it. Yet, think in forty years… I’ll be rounding the turn for 63… it could be a classic of sorts.
Or maybe it’ll have the seedy-sounding trait of having a cult following. I don’t know. None of us do. How canwe know?
I’m sure Fitzgerald wasn’t exactly thrilled to know “The Great Gatsby” wasn’t being received very well at all. But I wonder if he had any inclination to ponder the popularity and acclaim it eventually would have eighty years after its publication.
Just a little insight for you today. Thought I’d share it with you.