Five Fascinating Facts about The Great Gatsby

Interesting Literature

Fun facts about The Great Gatsby and its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald

1. The Great Gatsby sold no more than 25,000 copies in Fitzgerald’s lifetime. It has now sold over 25 million copies. Fitzgerald’s second novel, The Great Gatsby was first published in 1925. It is narrated by Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and WWI veteran who goes to live on Long Island, next door to Jay Gatsby, a rich tycoon known for throwing parties. The novel’s evocation of 1920s America and its critique of the American Dream has helped to ensure its place among the great American novels, but it was outsold at the time by This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald’s first novel, published in 1920.

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Five Fascinating Facts about J. D. Salinger

Interesting Literature

Five fun facts from the biography of J. D. Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye

1. At high school, J. D. Salinger was so fond of acting that he signed the yearbook with the names of the roles he’d performed. His father, however, didn’t want Salinger Jr. to go into acting, and he went to New York University for a year before dropping out. Somewhat aimless, he worked for a short time in Europe as an importer/exporter in the ham trade – an experience which converted him to vegetarianism. He had taken the job at the behest of his father.

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27 Interesting Facts about Words

Interesting Literature

Fun facts about words and the English language

The stuff of literature is, of course, words. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge observed, ‘Prose = words in their best order; – poetry = the best words in the best order.’ In this post, we’ve gathered up 27 of the best facts about words that we’ve unearthed since beginning this blog a couple of years ago. Where necessary, we’ve provided a link to further information.

If you enjoy these facts, you might also like our favourite facts about books.

The word ‘onomatomania’ means ‘intense mental anguish at the inability to recall some word or to name a thing’.

A ‘dysphemism’ is an unpleasant or derogatory word or expression substituted for a pleasant or inoffensive one; the opposite of a euphemism.

Though of uncertain origin, the word ‘bad’ may stem from the Old English ‘bæddel’ meaning ‘hermaphrodite’ or ‘effeminate or homosexual man’.


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Interesting Facts about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Interesting Literature

Curious trivia about the classic L. Frank Baum novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its afterlife

Surprisingly, the famous 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz was not the first time L. Frank Baum’s book had been adapted. It wasn’t even the second. In fact, the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz was the eighth film adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s original novel: it had already been filmed in 1910, 1914 (three times), 1925, 1932, and 1933, before the lavish movie starring Judy Garland was produced. Despite garnering positive reviews from critics, the 1939 film did poorly at the box office, despite its innovative use of Technicolour. How things have changed. It is now reckoned to be the most-watched film of all time. Salman Rushdie acknowledged the film as his first literary influence: ‘When I first saw The Wizard of Oz it made a writer of me.’

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The end of school: my best reads

My school life is coming to an end after many many years. I only have a few days left of sixth form and as an A-Level English Literature student, which is scary to say the least! But the many texts and novels I have read and grew to appreciate over the years has piled up beautifully, which has lead me to want to study English Literature at university. 

So my favourite and most memorable reads (which I highly recommend if you haven’t read yet!) are: 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Having studied this novel for my coursework, it’s interesting to find what can emerge and be discovered from the language after a number of reads! Each character has a captivating trait, whether it be the famous Miss Havisham, the loyal Pip or the mysterious escaped convict (Magwitch of course!) Dickens entwines such compelling ambiguity, that when secrets and questions are revealed it drags us into wanting to read more (or read the text all over again to experience that same surprised feeling!) So from studying this novel, I have learnt a lot about how Dickens depicts Victorian life and how the famous characters are portrayed through this canonical text. 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: Currently I am studying this novel for my English Literature exam as a Gothic text. Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship is unique, very Gothic and immensely passionate. Their relationship is in itself intriguing, as well as Brontë’s craft in language and narration. Although a challenging read, with the complex character relationships and the language of strong Yorkshire dialect, this is also one of my favourite reads. 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: This is also definitely one of my favourite novels and one which I have to re-read after exams! I find the language and romance in this novel so intriguing and passionate, especially the relationship between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth.

Room by Emma Donoghue: Instantly from the title itself, Room oozes with ambiguity from start to finish. The unique narrative voice of 5 year-old Jack creates an interesting perspective of his and his Ma’s abduction and imprisonment. Donoghue’s skill is certainly reflected in portraying such a horrific cirumstance through such a young child. Studying this novel for my independent learning was very compelling and taught me just how interesting it can be to simply change a narrative perspective. Be warned: it’s unlikely you’ll be able to put this book down! 

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe: The rhyme and repetition in The Raven is beautiful, setting such a haunting, ambiguous and macabre tone that effortlessly draws you in (perfect for creating the mood for the Gothic genre in A-Level English). Each time I read it, it seems to stay with me all day… ‘Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”‘ 

Five Fascinating Facts about Peter Pan

Interesting Literature

Fun facts about Peter Pan and his creator, J. M. Barrie

1. Peter Pan first appeared in a novel for adults. The boy who wouldn’t grow up made his debut, ironically, in a book for adults, a little-known 1902 novel called The Little White Bird. However, it was the stage play Barrie produced two years later which really brought the character to a wider audience, and Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up was a huge hit in theatres in 1904. ‘The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up’ wasn’t Barrie’s first choice of subtitle for the book: among the others he considered was ‘The Boy Who Hated Mothers’, but his publisher disliked this suggestion. All royalties from productions of the play go towards helping children at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, after Barrie gave them the rights in 1929.

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