Irish Papist

Irish Papist
Statute of the Blessed Virgin in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Church, UCD Belfield

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Just Finished Seeing The Great Gatsby Movie (Spoiler Alert)...

...I read the book in my late teens but it didn't make much of an impression on me; in fact, I barely remembered the plot beyond the general outlines, so the details were all new to me.

However, one thing I did remember very vividly was the extremely poetic passage with which the book ends, and which I've always regarded as one of the most lyrical flights of prose poetry ever. These words especially:

And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old Island that flowered once for Dutch eyes—- a fresh green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

Since the whole story is narrated in voiceover by Tobey Maguire's character, the stockbroker and would-be writer Nick, who is also the first-person narrator of the novel, I was looking forward to hearing those words at the close of the movie.

But, to my bafflement, they were left out!

The final lines of the passage were included, and lingered over, but the most poetic part was just dropped. Bizarre.

It was a pretty good movie, though.

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