Champagne in The Great Gatsby

by amantduvin

aout sept 2012 599

There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. (Chapter 3)

Champagne flows throughout The Great Gatsby novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Champagne continues to play a role in the latest film version by Baz Lurhmann, selected to open the Cannes Film Festival 2013, starring life size bottles of Moet & Chandon.

A pair of stage twins, who turned out to be the girls in yellow, did a baby act in costume, and champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger-bowls. (Chapter 3)

Set in the post-war and pre-depression summer of 1922, champagne is portrayed as defying prohibition before the appellation AOC Champagne was created.

The Great Show

There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden … By midnight the hilarity had increased. … I was enjoying myself now. I had taken two finger-bowls of champagne, and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental, and profound. (Chapter 3)

Great Gatsby themed bars and parties and have been hosted around the world to coincide with the release of the film.

The large room was full of people. One of the girls in yellow was playing the piano, and beside her stood a tall, red-haired young lady from a famous chorus, engaged in song. She had drunk a quantity of champagne, and during the course of her song she had decided, ineptly, that everything was very, very sad — she was not only singing, she was weeping too. (Chapter 3)

The Great Growth

The title implies wealth, celebrity, magic, impression and deception. References to happy Champagne in Chapter 3 lose their sparkle towards the end of that chapter, and in Chapter 6 a flatter reference is released.

I remember the portrait of him up in Gatsby’s bedroom … It was indirectly due to Cody that Gatsby drank so little. Sometimes in the course of gay parties women used to rub champagne into his hair; for himself he formed the habit of letting liquor alone. (Chapter 6)

Playing a great role as a salacious drink during prohibition, symbolic references to illegality and imitation, social tensions and class rivalry, seduction and disillusion may appear to reflect the history of Champagne prior to the establishment of the CIVC the decade after The Great Gatsby first appeared.

He was profoundly affected by the fact that Tom was there. But he would be uneasy anyhow until he had given them something, realizing in a vague way that that was all they came for. Mr. Sloane wanted nothing. A lemonade? No, thanks. A little champagne? Nothing at all, thanks. . . . I’m sorry. (Chapter 6)

Baz Lurhman said ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away [from Cannes]”.

There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn’t been there before. (Chapter 6)

On the red carpet again, The Great Gatsby may toast to a century of success with a coupe of legally celebrated Champagne, and with a pervading freshness that is there now, “among the whisperings … and the stars”.

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