F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby was perhaps the first great piece of 20th Century finance fiction. WIth its narrator spending his free time learning about the bond market, it was its era's Wall Street, Liars Poker and American Psycho. News today that Montenegrins voted to disolve their union with Serbians reminded us that the first time we heard of Montenegro was from the mouth of Jay Gatsby himself.
“Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief, and I tried very hard to die, but I seemed to bear an enchanted life. I accepted a commission as first lieutenant when it began. In the Argonne Forest I took two machine-gun detachments so far forward that there was a half mile gap on either side of us where the infantry couldn’t advance. We stayed there two days and two nights, a hundred and thirty men with sixteen Lewis guns, and when the infantry came up at last they found the insignia of three German divisions among the piles of dead. I was promoted to be a major, and every Allied government gave me a decoration—even Montenegro, little Montenegro down on the Adriatic Sea!”
Little Montenegro! To be independent at last!
More from The Great Gatsby after the jump.
Little Montenegro! He lifted up the words and nodded at them—with his smile. The smile comprehended Montenegro’s troubled history and sympathized with the brave struggles of the Montenegrin people. It appreciated fully the chain of national circumstances which had elicited this tribute from Montenegro’s warm little heart. My incredulity was submerged in fascination now; it was like skimming hastily through a dozen magazines.
He reached in his pocket, and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm.
“That’s the one from Montenegro.”
To my astonishment, the thing had an authentic look.
“Orderi di Danilo,” ran the circular legend, “Montenegro, Nicolas Rex.”
“Major Jay Gatsby,” I read, “For Valour Extraordinary.”