On J.D. Salinger - Except perhaps for Mark Twain, no other American writer has registered with such precision the humor — and the pathos — of false sophistication and the vital banality of big-city pretension.
David Brooks referring to Gatsby - As D. H. Lawrence wrote, America “starts old, old, wrinkled and writhing in an old skin. And there is a gradual sloughing of the old skin, towards a new youth.” . . . this desire has played out in American literature, from Melville’s Billy Budd to Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, and in politics, from Jackson to Kennedy to Obama.
Eric Roth in the Winter issue of All Story on the literary origins of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - It is said the idea came from a notion articulated by Mark Twain about the end of life being such a pain in the ass, and why couldn't we in God's great design have grown in the opposite direction: from old to young. We needn't discuss how youth may be wasted on the young, but suffice to say the Mark Twain piece was given to F. Scott by his editor, one Maxwell Perkins. That, along with dandling a new baby—with all the sights and smells an infant brings—and an empty pocket or two, must have twirled around Fitzgerald's fertile brain and a story was born.
Fitzgerald's original story is here.
Poems by Billy Collins and other New York region poets.