11 things you probably don't know about 'The Great Gatsby'

Great gatsby dicaprio carey mulliganWarner Bros / FacebookLeonardo DiCaprio starred in the recent remake of ‘The Great Gatsby.’

F. Scott Fitzgerald always wanted his novel “The Great Gatsby” to become a “consciously artistic achievement.”

Today, it is just that.

His American classic is mandatory reading across English classrooms. There was a time, however, when no one wanted to read about Gatsby and his lost love, Daisy.

Some may say, “Gatsby” was simply ahead of its time.

On the 90th anniversary of Fitzgerald’s beloved book, here are a few things you may not know about the tale.

The book was highly influenced by Fitzgerald's failed play 'The Vegetable: or from President to Postman.'

Fitzgerald spent a year and a half working on the comedy -- a satire on the American Dream and spoof of President Harding's administration -- which he hoped would make him a famous Broadway playwright.

The young author began work on 'Gatsby' after the first draft of 'Vegetable' was complete while travelling between Long Island, Great Neck, and New York City for play rehearsal.

'Vegetable' was a disaster opening night in the fall of 1923 in Atlantic City, NJ.

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

'Gatsby' was originally set in the Midwest -- not New York -- around 1885.

The original concept was to have a 'Catholic element' in the novel.

Today, the story takes place in the summer of 1922 -- during the Jazz Age -- in both Long Island and New York City.

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

There's a short story dedicated to Gatsby's childhood.

During Fitzgerald's early manuscript of 'Gatsby,' he wrote about a Catholic boy growing up in the Midwest.

According to Fitzgerald, this was to describe Gatsby's childhood in a prologue; however, it was cut from the book.

Instead, the bit was published nearly a year before 'The Great Gatsby' in June 1925 in the short story, 'Absolution.'

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

Ernest Hemingway hated the now-iconic cover of the novel.

The author described it as 'the ugliest jacket he'd seen.'

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

Fitzgerald was hesitant about 'The Great Gatsby' as the title ...

Instead, he suggested the following:

'Among the Ash-Heaps and Millionaires,'

'Trimalchio in West Egg,'

'Gold-Hatted Gatsby,'

'The High-Bouncing Lover,'

'On the Road to West Egg,' and simply 'Gatsby.'

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

... so hesitant that three weeks before the book was published on April 20, 1925, Fitzgerald asked for the title to be changed to 'Under the Red, White, and Blue.'

However, it was too late to change the title, and 'The Great Gatsby' remained.

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

There is a printing of an early version of 'The Great Gatsby' under its alternate title, 'Trimalchio in West Egg.'

Trimalchio is a fictional character from a 1664 novel 'Satyricon' who achieved wealth and success through hard work.

You can read portions of it here.

'The Great Gatsby' was a commercial failure upon release.

While Fitzgerald hoped his most passioned work would sell 75,000 copies in 1925, the first printing sold slightly more than 20,0000 -- just enough to repay publisher Scribners.

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

Initial reviews called the book a dud.

Not all of the reviews shared the same sentiment; however, some tore 'Gatsby' apart.

'... The first to appear in New York, just two days after publication, was headed F. SCOTT FITZGERALD'S LATEST A DUD (the World). The reviewer for the Brooklyn Eagle claimed she could not find 'one chemical trace of magic, life, irony, romance or mysticism in all of 'The Great Gatsby' and concluded that 'the boy' (Fitzgerald) was 'simply puttering around.''

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

Fitzgerald blamed poor sales on the title of the book.

He claimed at the time the book had no important female characters for the women who controlled the fiction market.

Yet, Daisy Buchanan was both the main love interest and depicted on the book's famed cover.

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

Fitzgerald died before his masterpiece became a success.

When the author died in 1940, there were still unsold copies of 'Gatsby' on store shelves.

It took more than a decade for the tale to find a following among a new generation. By 1959, the book was selling at the rate of 50,000 books per year.

It's suggested the book gained readers after the Armed Services Editions gave away copies to the American military during World War II.

(Source: 'The Great Gatsby')

'The Great Gatsby' has been made into a movie a few times.

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