Hayden's Ferry Review


This Week in Literary History: This American Life

On April 10, 1925, the world was introduced to one of literature's most eligible bachelors: Jay Gatsby. Known for his extravagant parties, Mr. Jay Gatsby was the Diddy of 1922. This book portrays New York high society in the early 1920's perfectly, and for that reason it remains part of the American literary canon.

14 years later, on April 14, 1939, John Steinbeck would publish the antithesis of The Great Gatsby, a novel that focused on the poverty stricken and the working class, The Grapes of Wrath. As James Gray writes about Steinbeck and Fitzgerald, both writers had a "preoccupation with the continuing problems of American life...Fitzgerald took his share at the domain inhabited by the rich, the sheltered, the frequenters of cafes, bootleggers' parties, and psychiatrists' consulting rooms...Steinbeck, for his inheritance, took the orchards and growing fields of California, the wasteland of the Depression, the refugee camps of rebels and the slums of poverty."

April 14 is also the anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Bad times. There is a great poem about Lincoln in the latest issue of The Mississippi Review. You can scroll through all the issues available for backorder here.