F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly a novel about nostalgia; it explores themes such as the impossibilities of recapturing the past, the role of myths in our lives, the shattered dreams of our youth, and the unrealized ambitions of the founders of America. Much has been written about these issues. However, this essay will argue that Gatsby is also a nostalgic novel, using the work of French philosopher Paul Ricœur, who made a distinction between a novel about time and a time novel (101)1: Fitzgerald's 1925 classic generates a nostalgic, phenomenological experience in the reader with its thematic content, through its deliberate style and form. Jay Gatsby's nostalgic inclinations are thus mimicked, paralleled, and enhanced by the novel's structure and style, creating a profound effect on a reader responsive to the novel's devices.

Fitzgerald uses several tools to create the nostalgic aesthetic of Gatsby. The...

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