Katie Kohls, a sophomore English major from Columbus Grove, Ohio, submitted an abstract and was selected from more than 4,000 submissions to present her original research on “The Great Gatsby” and surrealism at the National Council of Undergraduate Research Conference, April 3-5, at the University of Kentucky.
Kohls began this research for a final project during her freshman year while taking an American Literature course instructed by Sarah Fedirka, Ph.D., assistant professor of English.
“We used ‘The Great Gatsby’ as our main text, but then had to pick a movement or something that was going on in the 1920s and connect it back to ‘The Great Gatsby,’” said Kohls. “I picked surrealism because I had not done a lot with literary movement and thought that it would be good to get me out of my comfort zone. Little did I know, there was nothing done on this topic of academic value.”
It was up to Kohls to find connections between ‘The Great Gatsby,’ a piece of American literature written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and surrealism, a movement best known for its visual artworks and writings that began in the early 1920s.
without academic research as a resource.
“When I read ‘The Manifesto Surrealism’ by Andre Breton, I realized there are a lot of parallels between the two even though they were written pretty much at the same time across the ocean,” said Kohls.
In Kohls’ research, she also explained similarities between a surrealist painting and the cover art for ‘The Great Gatsby.’
“I’m hoping to develop this project further, and if we can get interest in it, there is a possibility that it could get published in an undergraduate journal,” said Kohls. “I find it very interesting that no one I have found has looked into this connection, I think it is very apparent that it is there.”
The National Council of Undergraduate Research Conference brings together students from many colleges and universities to present research, receive feedback and network with graduate school representatives.
Until April, Kohls plans to delve deeper into her research and get ready for the conference.
“I’ve always loved ‘The Great Gatsby;’ it’s one of my favorites. It’s kind of a short book, but there are so many levels where you can read it and there are so many ways you can look at the characters,” said Kohls. “I do think there is a connection between ‘The Great Gatsby’ and surrealism here, and I want to make my presentation good so other people realize that.”