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Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie (1900)

by Theodore Dreiser

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
There is nothing like going back and reading a classic to appreciate the back in the day American writers who had such a strong command of the English language. ( )
  bogopea | May 8, 2015 |
I actually read the Project Gutenberg version on my NookColor. A friend said she flung this book away in frustration. I think I can see why, with Dreiser's ending. I am not convinced that Carrie's unhappiness at the end despite her physical comfort is due to feeling as opposed to thinking, and I don't think that that's what the book was all about. Although Drouet and Hurstwood can also be characters said to have felt more than they thought. Because of its plot, I would team this book with Nabokov's _Lolita_ and Wharton's _Summer_. I can also see this -- or particular excerpts -- being used in a Literature of Work course. I was agog/disbelieving at Carrie's final acquiescence to her de facto kidnapping. Yes, she's a character that I never completely sympathized with or fully understood, but that's all right: I don't have to. There are themes of women/men, happiness, economics, class, and work throughout. There were some people and events that struck me as there just to manipulate the plot. Dreiser is clean and direct stylist, and I would put his descriptions of people and settings and material objects right up there with Wharton. I read this for a book club, and one question posed was about the rocking chair, as it appears througout the second half of the book and is highlighted at the end. What strikes me about the rocking chair: it's motion without progress.
  AmyMacEvilly | Dec 1, 2014 |
The progression of a "Good Girl" down the primrose path to becoming a kept woman. If you have ever known an attractive girl, with a winning personality and an astute intelligence - who hasn't known such a person - and wonder what has become of her, hopefully she has not had a similar life as Carrie. Her devolution by incremental poor choices could happen to anyone. More is the pity. Very well written by one of my favorite authors. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
A book that is awkward and stuttering in some places, and very interesting and insightful in others - characteristic Dreiser. The last 150 pages somehow redeem the first 350. If I were a less patient person, I probably would have given up on him long ago. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
I was not familiar with this author, who lived around the late 19th, early 20th century, but spotted this novel at Barnes & Noble. It's published in B&N's classics series that I like because they are very reasonably priced. They seem to be well edited- very rarely I find typos or other mistakes and they contain an introductory essay by written currently; typically by a college professor that is an expert in that author's works and life.

Sister Carrie is an interesting novel that traces the life-paths of two individuals. Carrie, whose life progresses from a poverty background growing up in Wisconsin, and moves to Chicago searching for a better life, and eventually becomes a successful actress in New York City. And George Hurtswood who is the manager of a respectable bar in Chicago and whose life ends by killing himself after his last years spent in poverty and destitution in New York City.

Although Carrie is presumably the central character in the novel, after all it's eponimously named, Hurtswood may be the more interesting person. His gradual descent into deprivation, while remembering his former wealthy station, is depressing reading some times. Reading this brings to mind the comment that Francesca da Rimini says to Dante, when he encounters her in the second circle of hell:

"Nessun maggior dolore
che ricordarsi del tempo felice
ne la miseria; e cio` sa 'l tuo dottore"

Longfellow's translation is: "There is no greater sorrow/ Than to be mindful of the happy time / In misery, and that thy Teacher knows"

In any event, Francesca's statement fits very well the state that Hurtswood saw himself from time to time, as he descended into the hell of his own creation.

I don't want to spell out the plot and its details, I let any person who wants to read the novel find it by him/herself. If you want to read an entertaining novel that carries (no pun intended) and keeps you interested for a couple of days, but has no overall redeeming value or no real discussion or consideration of ethical or moral issues, this is a good one for you. Also, I'm no prude but I find it refreshing to read a novel without overt sex and extreme use of foul language such as seems to be prevalent in most modern fiction. But, as one of our fellow LT readers puts it:

"... people use foul language because their vocabulary is not extensive enough to express their feelings in any other way. I feel the same way about an author's gratuitous use of it." ( )
2 vote xieouyang | Feb 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I believe the novel Sister Carrie helps to describe the life of young girls in the turn of the century. The confusion of what to do, who to be with, who to trust.. running into problems, this story touches bases with all of these.
added by newfieldreads | editSister Carrie, Josie (Mar 19, 2010)
The novel Sister Carrie was a great book to read if your into sneaky ways and like reading about Drama. The book shows how you shouldnt always base your opinions on what you see because that may lead you in the way of false pretences. Over all I enjoyed reading the book and it also gave me an outlook on how the 1900's really is not that different from the present time we live in. The novel teaches you inner morals to go with what your heart desires Carrie made her life the way she dreamed by following what she knew and working hard for it.
added by newfieldreads | editSister Carrie, Samantha (Mar 19, 2010)

» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dreiser, Theodoreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Auchincloss, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baldini, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delbanco, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dielemans, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doctorow, E. L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domeraski, ReginaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorp, WillardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in Van Buren Street, and four dollars in money.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Sister Carrie has been published in two forms: all editions between 1900 and 1981 were based on a version somewhat abridged by Dreiser and his editors. In 1981, the Pennsylvania edition based on the original manuscript from the NYPL was published.

Work #36059 is for the standard version. Do not combine it with the unexpurgated editions (Penguin Unexpurgated, Pennsylvania Edition, or NYPL Collectors Edition) or with the Norton Critical Edition (also contains the unexpurgated material as well as several background and critical writings).
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451527607, Mass Market Paperback)

Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser's revolutionary first novel, was published in 1900--sort of. The story of Carrie Meeber, an 18-year-old country girl who moves to Chicago and becomes a kept woman, was strong stuff at the turn of the century, and what Dreiser's wary publisher released was a highly expurgated version. Times change, and we now have a restored "author's cut" of Sister Carrie that shows how truly ahead of his time Dreiser was. First and foremost, he has written an astute, nonmoralizing account of a woman and her limited options in late-19th-century America. That's impressive in and of itself, but Dreiser doesn't stop there. Digging deeply into the psychological underpinnings of his characters, he gives us people who are often strangers to themselves, drifting numbly until fate pushes them on a path they can later neither defend nor even remember choosing.

Dreiser's story unfolds in the measured cadences of an earlier era. This sometimes works brilliantly as we follow the choices, small and large, that lead some characters to doom and others to glory. On the other hand, the middle chapters--of which there are many--do drag somewhat, even when one appreciates Dreiser's intentions. If you can make it through the sagging midsection, however, you'll be rewarded by Sister Carrie's last 150 pages, which depict the harrowing downward spiral of one of the book's central characters. Here Dreiser portrays with brutal power how the wrong decision--or lack of decision--can lay waste to a life. --Rebecca Gleason

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:34 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

From the day of its troubled publication in 1900 to its inclusion in Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, "Sister Carrie" has been a source of controversy and debate. Regarded as the "first masterpiece of the American naturalist movement," this 100th Anniversary Edition of the classic includes material by the author and a new introduction by the definitive Dreiser biographer.… (more)

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4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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The Library of America

An edition of this book was published by The Library of America.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102707, 1400109051

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