SparkNotes Blog

23 Rejected Titles F. Scott Fitzgerald Considered Before Settling on The Great Gatsby

Naming things is hard, which is why I name all my documents things like “project draft,” “project draft 1,” “project draft 3222,” and “asd3t2khjlp.” If I ever decide to have kids, I have no reason to believe this trend won’t continue; the birth certificate will simply read “PROJECT DRAFT FINAL VERSION FOR REAL THIS TIME ASDFGHJKL” until I get around to naming the kid something better.

Similarly, F. Scott Fitzgerald struggled to find a name for his beloved novel, The Great Gatsby. He briefly considered Zuckerberging it and just going with Gatsby (dropping the “the,” and also “great”), but he also thought about Among the Ash-Heaps and Millionaires (meh), On the Road to West Egg (double meh), and The High-Bouncing Lover (what). 

And those are just the ones we know about. Here are some other titles I’m PRETTY sure F. Scott Fitzgerald definitely considered before just throwing his hands in the air and being like “FINE. Let’s do The Great Gatsby. Let’s just do it. I don’t even care anymore. It’s whatever.”

1. Nick and Gatsby’s Fun Time 

2. The American Dream (and Other Dumb, Impossible Things That Can’t Happen)

3. Just a Whole Lot of Foreshadowing

4. Old Sport: The Novel

5. The Valley of Ashes (The Ashes Represent Your Hopes and Dreams if You’re Poor, and Also if You’re Not Poor)

6. The Solution to All Life’s Problems is “Just Throw a Party About It”

7. Everything is a Metaphor for Moral Decay

8. How to Get Girls (The Trick is to Disappear for Five Years and Return a Wealthy Man)

9. Looks Like Tom Buchanan Is At It Again

10. Old Money vs. New Money: The Moneying

11. Everybody is Cheating on Everybody

12. Illusions and the Colossal Vitality Thereof

13. Repeating the Past, Which is Of Course a Thing You Can Do

14. Bad Stuff Happens in New York City

15. In Fact, Everything Bad Happens in New York City

16. The Midwest: Hey, At Least It’s Not New York City

17. So It Turns Out the Jazz Age Was Less Fun Than It Sounds

18. Homosexual Subtext: The Novel

19. Green Lights and How Best to Stare Wistfully at Them, Thinking About All the Things That Could Be

20. In Retrospect, Whoops

21. Vehicular Manslaughter Makes Any Relationship Stronger

22. Are You in Love with Her, or Are You Just in Love with the IDEA of Her?

23. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Become Rich and Try Again