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Author photo. Courtesy of the <a href="http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?102804">NYPL Digital Gallery</a> (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery (image use requires permission from the New York Public Library)

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Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, the twelfth of 13 children. His childhood was spent in poverty, or near poverty, and his family moved often. In spite of the constant relocations, Dreiser managed to attend school, and, with the financial aid of a sympathetic high school teacher, he was able to attend Indiana University. However, the need for income forced him to leave college after one year and take a job as a reporter in Chicago. Over the next 10 years, Dreiser held a variety of newspaper jobs in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and finally New York. He published his first novel, Sister Carrie in 1900, but because the publisher's wife considered its language and subject matter too "strong", it was barely advertised and went almost unnoticed. Today it is regarded as one of Dreiser's best works. It is the story of Carrie, a young woman from the Midwest, who manages to rise to fame and fortune on the strength of her personality and ambition, through her acting talent, and via her relationships with various men. Much of the book's controversy came from the fact that it portrayed a young woman who engages in sexual relationships without suffering the poverty and social downfall that were supposed to be the "punishment" for such "sin." Dreiser's reputation has increased instrumentally over the years. His best book and first popular success, An American Tragedy (1925), is now considered a major American novel, and his other works are widely taught in college courses. Like Sister Carrie, An American Tragedy also tells the story of an ambitious young person from the Midwest. In this case, however, the novel's hero is a man who is brought to ruin because of a horrible action he commits - he murders a poor young woman whom he has gotten pregnant, but whom he wants to discard in favor of a wealthy young woman who represents luxury and social advancement. As Dreiser portrays him, the young man is a victim of an economic system that torments so many with their lack of privilege and power and temps them to unspeakable acts. Dreiser is also known for the Coperwood Trilogy - The Financier (1912), The Titan (1914), and the posthumously published The Store (1947). Collectively the three books paint the portrait of a brilliant and ruthless "financial buccaneer." Dreiser is associated with Naturalism, a writing style that also includes French novelist Emile Zola. Naturalism seeks to portray all the social forces that shape the lives of the characters, usually conveying a sense of the inevitable doom that these forces must eventually bring about. Despite this apparent pessimism, Dreiser had faith in socialism as a solution to what he saw as the economic injustices of American capitalism. His socialist views were reinforced by a trip to the newly socialist Soviet Union, and in fact, Dreiser is still widely read in that country. There, as here, he is seen as a powerful chronicler of the injustices and ambitions of his time. Dreiser officially joined the Communist Party shortly before his death in 1945. (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from Sister Carrie… (more)
Sister Carrie (Author) 3,858 copies, 58 reviews
An American Tragedy 3,825 copies, 47 reviews
The Financier 518 copies, 17 reviews
Jennie Gerhardt 402 copies, 7 reviews
The Titan 291 copies, 7 reviews
Sister Carrie / Jennie Gerhardt / Twelve Men (Author) 253 copies, 2 reviews
The Genius 155 copies, 7 reviews
The Bulwark 134 copies, 1 review
The Stoic 89 copies, 2 reviews
Twelve Men 57 copies
A Hoosier Holiday (Author) 48 copies, 1 review
A Gallery of Women (complete) 17 copies, 1 review
A Traveler at Forty 16 copies, 1 review
The Lost Phoebe (Author) 7 copies
Phantom Gold (Author) 6 copies
Racconti 3 copies
Nigger Jeff 3 copies
Valik novelle 3 copies
Carolina 2 copies
My City 2 copies, 1 review
The Hand 2 copies
Tytan 1 copy
Finansista 1 copy
Zora 1 copy
Married 1 copy
Titans 1 copy
Libero 1 copy
Fifty Great American Short Stories (Contributor) 410 copies, 3 reviews
Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology (Contributor) 285 copies, 3 reviews
Writing New York: A Literary Anthology (Contributor) 265 copies, 4 reviews
The Treasury of American Short Stories (Contributor) 254 copies, 1 review
Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural (Contributor) 191 copies, 1 review
An Anthology of Famous American Stories (Contributor) 129 copies, 1 review
Rod Serling’s Devils and Demons (Contributor) 55 copies
The Experience of the American Woman (Contributor) 46 copies
Fifty Best American Short Stories 1915-1965 (Contributor) 37 copies, 1 review
Ebony and Ivory (Preface, some editions) 18 copies
Lilith : a dramatic poem (Introduction, some editions) 16 copies
Uncanny Tales 3 (Contributor) 9 copies
Carrie [1952 film] (Original novel) 9 copies
Our lives : American labor stories (Contributor) 6 copies
Representative American Short Stories (Contributor) 5 copies, 1 review
1935 Essay Annual (Contributor) 4 copies
American Short Stories (Contributor) 3 copies, 1 review
My Gal Sal [1942 film] (Writer) 3 copies
The songs of Paul Dresser (Introduction, some editions) 3 copies
Modern Short Stories (Contributor) 2 copies
Modern American short stories (Contributor) 1 copy
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Theodore Dreiser's book The Banned Books Compendium: 32 Classic Forbidden Books was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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