The Great Gatsby’s Roman origins

In honor of our current advanced Latin class on the Roman novels, here’s an insight I learned while listening to the NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another”, which aired a game segment called “Working Title” this weekend: original working titles for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby included Trimalchio, or Trimalchio in West Egg!

Fitzgerald Trimalchio

Trimalchio is, of course, one of the memorable characters from Petronius’ Satyricon, and Fitzgerald references the character explicitly: “It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night—and, as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over.”

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