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Theodore Dreiser

(1871—1945) American novelist


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(1871–1945),

American novelist. His first novel, Sister Carrie (1900), is a powerful account of a working girl's rise to worldly success, and of the slow decline of her lover and protector Hurstwood. It was withheld from circulation by its publishers, who were apprehensive about Dreiser's frank and amoral treatment of Carrie's sexuality and ambition. Other novels include Jennie Gerhardt (1911) and a trilogy about an unscrupulous business magnate, Frank Cowperwood (The Financier, 1912; The Titan, 1914; The Stoic, 1947). An American Tragedy (1925) is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who escapes from his evangelist parents to the exciting and colourful life of a bell‐boy in a Kansas City hotel; he moves to New York State to work in a collar factory, and when his girl‐friend Roberta becomes pregnant he drowns her, possibly accidentally, and is tried and condemned to death. Dreiser's many other works include Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928) and America Is Worth Saving (1941), which express the growing faith in socialism that replaced the nihilistic naturalism and pessimism of his earlier works.

Subjects: Literature.


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