The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
THE GREAT GATSBY: GLOSSARY
The Glossary is limited to proper nouns, the meaning of which might not be
clear in the context of the novel. Symbolic terms such as grail or incarnation
are explained in the chapter-by-chapter analysis.
"AIN'T WE GOT FUN" A very popular song of the day, Klipspringer
sings it to Gatsby and Daisy in Chapter VI.
BELASCO David Belasco (1853-1931) was a very successful American actor,
producer, playwright, and theater manager. Owl Eyes thinks of Gatsby as a
"regular Belasco," because of his magnificent library and real books.
JAMES J. HILL American railroad tycoon and financier (1838-1916); one of many
rich Americans referred to in the novel.
KAISER WILHELM The Emperor of Germany in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I.
Gatsby is suspected of being a nephew of Kaiser Wilhelm.
KANT Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was famous German philosopher who stared at a
church steeple to help his concentration. Nick, in Chapter V, stares at Gatsby's
house, "like Kant at his church steeple."
LAKE FOREST A suburb of Chicago where very rich and socially prestigious
families live. Tom Buchanan comes East with a string of polo ponies from Lake
MIDAS... MORGAN ... MAECENAS The first was the legendary king who was granted
his wish that everything he touch change to gold. "Morgan" refers to
J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), the famous New York financier. "Maecenas"
was a wealthy Etruscan patron of the Roman poets Horace and Virgil. All three
are examples of Fitzgerald's fascination with wealth and the very wealthy.
MONTENEGRO Once a small country on the Adriatic Sea, now part of Yugoslavia.
Gatsby says he has a medal from "little Montenegro."
NEW HAVEN The city in Connecticut where Yale University is located. "New
Haven" in this novel means Yale, where Tom and Nick went to college.
OXFORD Oxford University in England. Meyer Wolfsheim refers to it mistakenly
as "Oggsford College." Oxford is not a college, but a university, made
up of a collection of colleges.
PLAZA HOTEL The famous hotel in New York City at the corner of Fifth Avenue
and Central Park South. You can still take carriage rides from the Plaza today.
(see Chapter IV).
ROCKEFELLER John D. Rockefeller (1839 1939) was an industrialist and
philanthropist who founded the Standard Oil Company. He was perhaps the ultimate
symbol of wealth in the United States.
"SHEIK OF ARABY" Another popular song of the day. overheard by Nick
and Jordan in New York.
TOSTOFF Vladimir Tostoff's Jazz History of the World is an imaginary
composition by an imaginary composer. The jazz orchestra plays it for the guests
at Gatsby's party in Chapter III. It's self-important title is Fitzgerald's
cynical comment on how jazz tried to present itself as a serious rival to
classical music during the '20s.
TRIMALCHIO Central character of the Satyricon by Petronius. Trimalchio is a
vulgar, self-made millionaire whose brief and meteoric rise to the top parallels
Gatsby's brief career. Fitzgerald thought of calling the novel, "Trimalchio
in West Egg."
VON HINDENBURG German general, chief of staff in World War I, later president
of the Weimar Republic. Some say Gatsby worked for von Hindenberg--another
example of the Gatsby myth.
W ORLD SERIES OF 1919 The famous "Black Sox" scandal in which the
Chicago White Sox deliberately lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, a
much weaker team, in order to make money for themselves. The arrangements were
made through a group of gamblers , the key figure of which was Arnold Rothstein,
the model for Meyer Wolfsheim in Gatsby. (See Chapter IV.)