Talk for Article "Gatsby, Stoner and the death of the American Dream"

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    I think this article is the start of something really interesting. I like the idea of literary criticism that tries to connect the literature with a contemporary issue. But the article rushes too fast to quite capture that ambition.

    I like how the essay connects the popular reception of two novels (both set in the early 20th century) with economic conditions across the century: Gatsby sold poorly in the 20s, but resonated in the post-WWII boom; Stoner was a novella non grata when it was published in the 60s but today is widely celebrated and read. But that is a conclusion that I drew almost by reading the essay very closely and almost reading between the lines. A rewrite should try to make this theme more explicit – and I think directly outlining this could make the essay more cohesive.

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    CK
    Chris Keating

    test comment – is the commetn feature working?

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Yes The Land – we can see your comment!

      AL

    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      The Land, if you mean the TALK section that is where comment is at this point. I doubt we will have an alternative comment space beyond TALK at launch. You will see though that on fresh comments on TALK there are some specific tags to direct TALK remarks: BIAS, REWRITE, etc.

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      The Land, I have now realised what you have been referring to and I will take a look at how we label Comment differently since it is in fact the TALK area. Peter

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    It feels like this is an academic essay just transplanted but it doesn’t seem to have an overall point or thesis. It’s more an exploration but it needs to have a point. Is the point, that Angela alludes to, that Trump is appealing to a concept which is dead and here is why it’s dead? If so – make that explicit. I would start on Trump and then work your way back. I’d also try and cut it down significantly. Cut out the long block quotes from De Toqueville and others to start. Happy to talk futher. Remember we are writing for a general audience not an academic one.

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      Interesting Charles. I was quite keen on this story and actually urged it to be just gently academic because it plays to Tom’s strengths. Let me take another look. It is intended to be somewhat erudite and nearly an Essay.

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        I actually like the academic aspiration of it. It’s striving to be more than a conventional article on declining upward mobility and increasing inequality in America—something that has been written about again and again and again. But if this is going to be a longer form essay that combines literary criticism and economics, than it needs to slow down and dig in. (I am in the process of writing a larger comment about that…)

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    Hi Tom. One suggestion – Trump is mentioned in the stand first and it would be good to have another reference to Trump and the American dream, perhaps a stat as to how many of his supporters feel left behind or wish to change their social position. That sort of thing has been around -in the past year.
    Angela

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