Literaturbrevier

Francis Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

She hinted in a murmur that the surname of the balancing girl was Baker. (I've heard it said that Daisy's murmur was only to make people lean toward her[...].)

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It was on the tip of my tongue to ask his name when Jordan looked around and smiled.
"Having a gay time now?" she inquired.
"Much better." I turned again to my new acquaintance. "This is an unusual party for me. I haven't even seen the host. I live over there..." I waved my hand at the invisible hedge in the distance, "and this man Gatsby sent over his chauffeur with an invitation."
For a moment he looked at me as if he failed to understand.
"I'm Gatsby," he said suddenly.

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He smiled understandingly — much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance[Beruhigung] in it, that you may come across four or five times in life.

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[The smile] understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.

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"At small parties there isn't any privacy."

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At the enchanted[bezaubert] metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting[sehnsüchtig; drückend, lastend] loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others — poor young clerks who loitered[müßig herumstehen, bummeln] in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner — young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant[heftig, eindringlich] moments of night and life.

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"You're a rotten driver," I protested. "Either you ought to be more careful, or you oughtn't to drive at all."
"I am careful."
"No, you're not."
"Well, other people are," she said lightly.
"What's that got to do with it?"
"They'll keep out of my way," she insisted. "It takes two to make an accident."
"Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself."
"I hope I never will," she answered.

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Benny McClenahan arrived always with four girls. They were never quite the same ones in physical person but they were so identical one with another that it inevitably semmed they had been there before.

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pecunia non olet

Auf Deutsch: Geld stinkt nicht.

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He paused. "I see you're looking at my cuff buttons."
I hadn't been looking at them, but I did now.

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Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers, and set it back in place. Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand.
"I'm sorry about the clock," he said.
My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. I couldn't muster up a single commonplace out of the thousand in my head.
"It's an old clock," I told them idiotically.
I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed in pieces on the floor.

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"It's stopped raining."
"Has it?" When he realized what I was talking about, that there were twinkle-bells of sunsihine in the room, he smiled like a weather-man[...].

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It was strange to reach the marble steps and find no stir[Bewegung] of bright dresses in and out the door, and hear no sound but bird voices in the trees.
And inside, as we wandered through Marie Antoinette music-rooms and Restoration salons, I felt that there were guests concealed[verborgen] behind every couch and table, under orders to be breathlessly silent until we had passed through.

Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the Sound. [...] It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air.

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His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination never really accepted them as parents at all.

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Then they[Daisy and Gatsby] sauntered over to my house and sat on the steps for half an hour while at her request I remained watchfully in the garden: "In case there's a fire or a flood," she explained, "or any act of God."
[Datsby ist verheiratet, aber nicht mit Gatsby]

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Daisy began to sing with the music in a husky, rhythmic whisper, bringing out a meaning in each word that it had never had before and would never have again.

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You can't repeat the past.

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"She's got an indiscreet voice," I remarked. "It's full of —"
I hesitated.
"Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly.

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Wilson was so sick that he looked guilty, unforgivably guilty.

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Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other at the kitchen table with a plate of cold fried chicken between them and two bottles of ale. He was talking intently across the table at her and in his earnestness his hand had fallen upon and covered her own. Once in a while she looked up at him and nodded in agreement.
They weren't happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale — and yet they weren't unhappy either. There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture[...].

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On the last afternoon before he went abroad he sat with Daisy in his arms for a long, silent time. [...] Now and then she moved and he changed his arm a little and once he kissed her dark shining hair. The afternoon had made them tranquil for a while as if to give them a deep memory for the long parting the next day promised. They had never been closer in their month of love nor communicated more profoundly one with another, than when she brushed silent lips against his coat's shoulder or when he touched the end of her fingers, gently, as though she were asleep.

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I supposed there'd be a curious crowd around there all day with little boys searching for dark spots in the dust and some garrulous[redselig] man telling over and over what had happened until it became less and less real even to him and he could tell it no longer and Myrtle Wilson's traig achievement was forgotten.
[ψυχ]

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Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.

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