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Gatsby and the Remington portable

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F Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald, pen in hand.

I never knew The Great Gatsby was composed on a Remington portable typewriter. At least, so it was in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the classic American novel, starring Leonardo DeCaprio. In the film, the narrator Nick Carraway checks into a sanatorium after a riotous summer with the mysterious Gatsby. He types his story on a Remington Portable (model 1, shift keys right and left) as a form of therapy.

During the film, I nudged my friend and commented, “I own one of those.”

The selection of this typewriter, a humble, yet sophisticated machine, is appropriate. Gatsby, too, was humble, yet sophisticated. The typewriter is also appropriate for the period, the summer of 1922 — (the Remington was introduced in 1920) — which is more than we can say for Gatsby’s yellow car, a 1929 Duesenberg Model J.

Postscript: Had I not politely turned my phone off, I would have taken a photo of the various scenes in which the Remington appeared.

© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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