The Great Gatsby
World War One was over. The Great Depression was yet to come. When F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby in 1925, America was enjoying more wealth and freedom than ever before. But the novel damns the materialism and individualism that comes with these new excesses. Its hero, the glamorous socialite Jay Gatsby, throws lavish parties funded by dodgy dealings, hoping to win back his former sweetheart Daisy Buchanan, who is beautiful but unavailable. By the novel’s end, Gatsby’s dreams – and his life – are in tatters. And the narrator, Nick Carraway, realises that they were hollow from the start.
Gatsby is in love with Daisy. Or is he in love with the idea of Daisy? Or in love with being in love? Decades later, have sex, marriage, and romance become divorced from authentic love?
The stars were aligned says a prince in love
Is romantic love a force for good? Nobody could doubt the sincerity of the love between Prince Harry and his bride-to-be. Yet for nearly half the population, romance still ends in divorce.
‘Jan, you are the sunshine in my life…’
Are public proposals a good idea? At last week’s Emmy Awards, director Glenn Weiss got down on one knee in front of 10 million viewers. Popping the question has been a big deal for centuries…
Tinder and the dating tech revolution
Has technology transformed dating for the better? Apps like Tinder have revolutionised the way people find partners, but some experts are warning this tech boom could be harming teenagers.
Despite all the promises of America and materialism, the characters in The Great Gatsby find themselves feeling empty and bereft. Relationships do not last; families are far away. In the 21st Century, many fear that the internet has made feelings of loneliness worse than ever.
Instagram star renounces fake social media
Despite earning thousands on Instagram, teenager Essena O’Neill has quit the platform and condemned its deceptive nature. ‘Social media is not real life,’ she says. Does it matter?
Minister of loneliness for ‘broken society’
Can the state stop loneliness? Yesterday Britain appointed a government minister to tackle the “epidemic” blighting millions of lives — an issue dubbed the “giant evil” of our times.
Loneliness ‘epidemic’: modern life under fire
A BBC analysis last night exposed the rise of loneliness in Britain. Are technological, social and working changes making us isolated, or should we take more responsibility for ourselves?
New shock therapy used to erase bad memories
Scientists have found a way to delete traumatic memories using electric shocks to the brain. Would the treatment free us from psychological scars or mean losing vital parts of who we are?
Hilary Mantel: ‘The dead have a vital force’
To many she is Britain’s greatest living writer and our most interesting public intellectual. Today, the Wolf Hall novelist delivers her fourth BBC Reith Lecture. Here are five of her ideas.
Thousands cheer rebirth of famous steam train
The Flying Scotsman, which made its first journey in 1923, has returned to service after a multi-million pound restoration. It has inspired a nostalgic response — but is this justified?
Nick makes his fortune on the rapidly rising stock markets of Wall Street; Gatsby through the organised crime of the prohibition era, and Daisy has married into the “old money” of the upper classes. The 1920s saw the beginning of unprecedented wealth and consumerism – a period which continues nearly a century later.
Where billionaires go to change the world
Can global elites solve the planet’s problems? This week, billionaires and politicians will discuss economics on a snowy Swiss mountain — but trust in their message is lower than ever.
Richest 62 ‘as wealthy as half the world’
Oxfam has caused a stir with its claim that the world’s 62 richest people own as much wealth as its poorest 3.6 billion. But is that number accurate? And does it matter if it is?
From a council estate to Britain’s richest man
Should we celebrate wealth? The Sunday Times has published its annual list of the UK’s 1,000 richest people. At the top is Jim Ratcliffe, a billionaire from a council estate in Manchester...
The story of the romance of Gatsby and Daisy is also the story of America, says Nick. The selfish pursuit of a naive dream leads to corruption and disappointment – all that is left is for Gatsby to die and for Nick to leave the excesses of New York forever.
America’s new civil war over Kavanaugh vote
Can the US ever be united again? Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn onto the Supreme Court, despite serious sexual assault allegations. Some say the row has pushed America to breaking point.
USA divided over abortion and Islam
There’s still over a year to go before Americans vote for their next president, but religious controversy and a possible shutdown have led to a chaotic week. Is this a nation split in two?
‘The American dream is big enough for us all’
So said Hillary Clinton in her concession speech to Donald Trump yesterday. And yet liberals fear that he is a threat to the hard-won rights of women and minorities. Are they right to worry?