Letter: I Trust Scribner’s Over Hebert
To the Editor:
Ernest Hebert’s objections to The Great Gatsby are not only wrong, they are preposterous. Published in 1925 by Scribner’s, my edition was reissued by the Cambridge University Press in 1991. The editorial boards of Scribner’s and the Cambridge University Press do not publish books that should not be read in schools.
Consider Meyer Wolfsheim. He is unattractive and Jewish. Is Fitzgerald’s portrait anti-Semitic? During the 1970s, I was having trouble with the IRS because I was traveling a lot in connection with journalism. A friend gave me the address of a tax expert in downtown Manhattan. When I entered the office, there was Meyer Wolfsheim. He was a genius in dealing with tax issues.
Hebert claims that we do not learn how Jay Gatsby made his fortune. On page 197 of my edition, I find that Gatsby “owned drugstores.” These could sell medicinal alcohol, which was potable. Legal denatured alcohol was poisonous. Gatsby’s fortune came from these drugstores.
I find it disturbing that Hebert, a member of the Dartmouth English Department, would not have this great novel taught in schools.