“Gatsby” Expert Kirk Curnutt Delves into Fitzgerald’s Life Feb. 17

The Great Gatsby, considered the “Great American Novel,” has been adapted for the big screen four times in the 20th Century, with a new version coming to theatres in May. Kirk Curnutt offers you a multimedia presentation Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1pm in Marvin Auditorium about the book, its many adaptations and the intriguing life of author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Kirk CurnuttFitzgerald wanted to write about money and the effect money has on a character. The Great Gatsby was his outlet. “In our current economy, Gatsby has a lot of lessons to teach us about greed and ambition,” Curnutt said.

He promises to delve into Fitzgerald’s life, his tempestuous marriage, his written works, including The Great Gatsby, and what the critics had to say. The presentation includes video clips from the ‘20s, movie trailers, illustrations and time for questions at the end. “I’ll also talk about the era and why the era is relevant today.”

Curnutt has been researching Fitzgerald since 1993, when he joined the English department at Troy University, Montgomery, Ala., Zelda Fitzgerald’s hometown. His presentation is a signature event of The Big Read, a reading initiative that unites the community around one single book.

“There’s an appeal to The Great Gatsby. People don’t throw Grapes of Wrath-style parties,” he said, adding Fitzgerald helped make the flapper movement a national fade in his debut novel This Side of Paradise. For more flapper stories, check out The Best Early Stories, a collection of short stories that are fun, romantic and have an element of fantasy. Fitzgerald is also credited with coining the term “Jazz Age.”

The library was one of 78 organizations nationwide to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and will have hundreds of copies of The Great Gatsby available to read. Curnutt’s latest book Dixie Noir, a mystery set in Montgomery, is available to check out from the library.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is a 21st-century landmark library and includes the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery, the Millennium Café, Chandler Booktique, meeting rooms and free computer/Internet access. Hours are Mon. through Fri. 9am to 9pm, Sat. 9am to 6pm and Sun. 12pm to 9pm.

4Color-BLKBGRDThe National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest connects the arts to audiences throughout the nine-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest’s history spans more than 25 years. For more information, please visit artsmidwest.org.        

A public relations professional, editor and writer, Lisa shares the library story in her blog posts, in the bimonthly Library News, and media interviews. A self-described social media and news nut, Lisa harnesses that passion to raise awareness and understanding of the library's vital role in this community.

  • Gary

    I wish Kirk could do this program in St. Louis, Missouri. I would be there for it!