How Great is Gatsby?

Charles Riley at Strand Bookstore

Fri, Jun 8 at 7 p.m.   |   90 minutes

Dive again into this brief but far from shallow fountain of symbolism, history, and philosophy and you will never read Fitzgerald in the same way again.

Because it is so familiar, The Great Gatsby is little known. Half the literary world thinks the novel is a masterpiece, and the rest, conditioned by movies or the cliches of lousy classes, consider it a vacuous ode to wealth and social climbing. A new theory about Fitzgerald even suggests that he was using Connecticut instead of Long Island for his material. By gazing on the glitter of materialism, too many readers have ignored the shadows in which the deeper meanings are inscribed.

One of the secret keys to the symbolism is a series of drawings, in private hands but available to us during this discussion, made for the original cover image, along with the painting that was used, which lead to an interpretation that is vastly different from any other. Dive again into this brief but far from shallow fountain of symbolism, history, and philosophy and you will never read Fitzgerald in the same way again.


Teacher: Charles Riley

Charles Riley II is the director of the Nassau County Museum of Art, an arts journalist, curator and professor at Clarkson University. He graduated from Princeton and received his Phd from City College of New York.


Venue: Strand Bookstore

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

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June 15, 2020, 8 p.m.

Government Action and Inaction in Response to Covid-19

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Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.