FULLABALOO | Howard Tilton Library reclassifies ‘The Great Gatsby’ as queer literature

Apoorva Verghese, Straight Person

This article is entirely satire. All information and interviews below are fictional and for entertainment purposes only.

Maggie Pasterz

Tulane University has announced that starting in fall 2024, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library will undertake a project to reclassify several classic books as “queer” literature. The project, entitled “Yaasifying Fitz” after F. Scott Fitzgerald, is Tulane’s newest equity, diversity and inclusion initiative.  

The idea came to librarian Evie Rose last year when she was reshelving books and found a copy of “The Great Gatsby.” In the book, a reader had encircled the names of Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby in a heart. 

“Initially, I was confused. Obviously Gatsby and Nick are really good friends, so I thought this was a tribute to platonic friendship. But when I started flipping through the book, I noticed more annotations that implied something beyond platonic between these two characters.”

Rose found several notes at interactions between Gatsby and Carraway that said things like “historians would call them best friends,” “Dude is literally in love???,” and at Gatsby’s death, “homophobic [sad face].” 

Rose began thinking about other classics that could potentially be read with a slight queer undertone. 

“My favorite book is ‘The Iliad’ and thinking about it, I was like, this could totally be read as gay! It was kind of a revelation; I was like why is nobody talking about this! I do feel like kind of a pioneer of gay rights with this project, but I mean, it’s my responsibility as an ally, you know?”

Soon after, “Yaasifying Fitz” was born and a committee of faculty and students created. The goal of this project is simple, to celebrate the queerness found in so many pieces of classic literature and to also make this campus as queer friendly as possible. So far, the committee has compiled a list of several books to include in this reclassification. 

Aside from “The Great Gatsby”, other books include “Rebecca,” “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Little Women.” Initially, the committee considered including contemporary pieces, such as “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” but ultimately decided against it. 

“Yeah, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ is super gay which I realized after reading a bunch of fanfiction. However, we do have to draw the line somewhere in regards to this project. It would become unmanageable if we included everything.”

Despite overwhelming support from the administration for this project, Rose ran into some financial issues. While it seems like the project should require little to no funding, the library does have big plans. 

“We plan on building this gorgeous rainbow bookshelf to display these books on the first floor. Initially, we didn’t have the funds for this. But then, I remembered that the book that inspired all of this had writing in it and that’s vandalism. So we fined the kid who did it $1,000 and put that towards the shelf.”

After obtaining funding, the project was scheduled to be completed in fall of 2022 but continuing severe weather has delayed the project. “They’re books, you know, so we can’t risk moving them in the rain, and unfortunately that’s really putting us back.” Some of the funding for the project is set aside to buy book covers for protection against future bad weather. 

President Mike Fitts has expressed ardent support for the project, claiming that the first floor of the library will now be a truly equitable place. 

“We draw so many differences between you know, heterosexual and homosexual. But we are all homo … homosapiens,” Fitts said with a wink. “This project really celebrates our similarities more than anything.”

As of now, Tulane has no plans to purchase more literature from openly queer authors. “We think this will do pretty much the same thing as supporting queer writers, and it is far more cost effective. Maybe if more students donate to our ‘Give Green’ campaign we’ll have the funds to support the LGBTQ+ community more,” Fitts said.  

“Yaasifying Fitz” launches fall of 2024 and will be open for public viewing.