When Was the Great Gatsby Written?

Last Updated: October 23rd, 2023 by Kerry Wisby (Teacher-BA English Literature, 1920s & Great Gatsby Expert)

when was the great gatsby published

The Great Gatsby is one of the finest works of literature of all time. Set in the 1920s, the story captures the heart and soul of the wealthy elite in the fictional West Egg region of New York.

Short on time – read my Full Summary of The Great Gatsby.


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is one of the finest pieces of literature composed in the 20th century. Fitzgerald drafted this masterpiece based on personal encounters, social events, class inequalities, and political tensions he witnessed in real life.

When and Where Was The Great Gatsby Written

This novel was written during the summer and fall of 1924, while the Fitzgerald couple were in France. F. Scott Fitzgerald completed the draft in 1924 and its editorial revisions in 1925, after which it was published.

The novel was narrated by Nick Carraway, also one of the story’s main characters. He effectively voices out Fitzgerald’s thoughts and convictions about the prevailing issues at the time.

The author created the character of Tom Buchanan primarily to represent old money, and his character is not well-liked. Daisy Buchanan is Jay Gatsby’s love interest. It is believed that the character was actually based in part on Fitzgerald’s wife and the socialite Ginevra King, with whom Fitzgerald spent a romance in his youth.

Tom Buchanan: A Character Analysis

Through the character of Nick, Fitzgerald is able to paint the picture of a roaring life in New York.

Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan was based in part on Fitzgerald’s pursuit of Ginevra King, a Chicago socialite and heiress. The character himself is said to be based on Max Gerlach, Fitzgerald’s wealthy neighbor.

The character of George Wilson is on the other end of the spectrum (read The Great Gatsby George Wilson quotes here), as he prioritizes love over money (whether new or old) and glory.

Why Was The Great Gatsby Written?

Fitzgerald wrote this novel to show that the American dream everyone was aspiring for was nothing but a farce.  

The concept of the American dream inspired people to work hard because it promised equal opportunity for everyone. In this novel, it’s clear that Fitzgerald was disillusioned with the idea of the American dream. He believed that no matter how hard one toiled, the poor remained poor and oppressed, while the old-money people always won in the end. 

The novel was set in the 1920s – an era called the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age – at a time when the American Prohibition was enforced. Fitzgerald used the novel to show how the economic expansion and progressive efforts taking place during that period were causing cultural decay and sociopolitical turmoil. 

What Is the Time Period of The Great Gatsby?

Published in 1925, this novel captures the roaring twenties, which is a decade that is famous for a few reasons. While the 1920s were an era of prohibition in which alcohol was banned or hard to come by, Jay Gatsby still was able to party. Set in both the fictional communities of East Egg and West Egg in Long Island, there were many conflicts over social classes and wealth.

East Egg Vs West Egg – Two Different Worlds in Long Island

The 1920s are an important piece of American history, as the time period dealt with the after-effects of a major war, as well as worked through prohibition and the Great Depression. This novel touches on key elements from all of those major events in American history ( read more on what happened in 1920 ), which has helped propel this novel into the upper echelons of important literary books to be consumed for decades and years to come. This story is used to help educate students and teach them about the ways of the world in the early 20th century.

Was The Great Gatsby a True Story?

While Gatsby was an inspirational character, it was not a true story. Inspired by some real people, no doubt some elements of the novel were true, but the story as a whole should not be considered 100% accurate, as it is a work of fiction. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald wanted to live in high society and party with the wealthy and the elite. Fitzgerald modeled his literary piece after the American life he wanted for himself.

Readers will never know exactly what percentage of the book is based on truth, as it is widely believed Fitzgerald included a lot of truth in the book, based on characters and events he witnessed at parties that occurred right next door to his home. The novel’s themes are definitely based on history and events that happened in the real world in the early 1920s ( read more on what is the main theme of The Great Gatsby ). To Fitzgerald’s credit, while he was envious of the wealth and the parties that he could not attend, he was able to write about them in a clear and concise way that has been easy to read over generations.

What Is the Theme of The Great Gatsby?

Gatsby was inspired by the parties that took place in the roaring twenties. The wealthy elite in Long Island through infamous parties right near the home of F. Scott Fitzgerald. These parties served as the theme of the book, as Fitzgerald looked to capture many different themes including greed, wealth, and even a love story in the wake of the world war during the jazz age. The wealthy parties served as a way of the top members of society to celebrate and have fun in the wake of the tragedy of the world around them after the war and before the Great Depression.

Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby were the primary characters who each spent time in the war (read more on who was Jay Gatsby) and ultimately spent time clashing over money and throwing glamorous parties. Fitzgerald’s book has many themes, which work to capture the history of the 1920s in America after the war. The book tells the story about the American Dream and how the different characters set out to become the people they wanted to be.

When was the Great Gatsby Written
When was the Great Gatsby Written
When was The Great Gatsby Written? Who was the talented writer that wrote such a famous story which been read and studied for centuries? Read on to learn more.
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