Dec 21, 2018
F. Scott Fitzgerald: 1896 -- 1940
Today is the unfortunate anniversary of the death of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He passed away at age 44 on December 21, 1940. Sadder still, Fitzgerald was never fully recognized for his masterpiece -- The Great Gatsby -- during his lifetime. His earlier novels were a success, and made him famous. But Gatsby had to incubate for decades before its genius became apparent.
Insightful lectures on Gatsby continue to flourish, nearly 100 years after it's release. But what the scholars miss, and what is of some interest to us, is that it contained what was certainly the earliest reference to inflatable rafts in literature. (Keep in mind, this was written in 1925, about events of the Summer of 1922.)
"At two o’clock Gatsby put on his bathing-suit and left word with the butler that if any one phoned word was to be brought to him at the pool. He stopped at the garage for a pneumatic mattress that had amused his guests during the summer, and the chauffeur helped him pump it up."
So even the wealthiest, 24/7 party people of the era were charmed by simply laying on a raft! Tragically, for the fictional Jay Gatsby, he met his end while floating on that raft in his pool.
Obviously, this image is from the 1974 film version of the book, with Robert Redford in the title roll...so who knows how accurate the portrayal of that raft was? (My guess is the filmmakers didn't dwell on that detail.) Still, its an interesting design concept, with the block rails.
Most famous F. Scott Fitzgerald quote...
My favorite Fitzgerald quote...