Other books byTheodore Dreiser
First published in 1912, Theodore Dreiser's third novel,The Financier,captures the ruthlessness and sparkle of the Gilded Age alongside the charismatic amorality of the power brokers and bankers of the mid-nineteenth century. This volume is the first modern edition ofThe Financierto draw on the uncorrected page proofs of the original 1912 version, which established Dreiser as a master of the American business novel. The novel was the first volume of Dreiser’s Trilogy of Desire, also known as the Cowperwood Trilogy, which includesThe Titan(1914) andThe Stoic(1947). Dreiser laboriously researched the business practices and personal exploits of real-life robber baron Charles Yerkes to narrate Frank Algernon Cowperwood's early career inThe Financier,which explores the unscrupulous world of finance from the Civil War through the panic incited by the 1871 Chicago fire. In 1927, the monumental novel reappeared in a radically revised version for which Dreiser, notorious for lengthy novels, agreed to cut more than two hundred and seventy pages. This revised version became the most familiar, reprinted by publishers and studied by scholars for decades. For this new edition, Roark Mulligan meticulously reviewed earlier versions of the novel and its publication history, including the last-minute removal of paragraphs, pages, and even whole chapters from the 1912 edition, cuts based mainly on the advice of H. L. Mencken. The restored text better matches Dreiser's original vision for the work. More than three hundred additional pages not available to modern readers--including those cut from the 1927 edition and more than seventy hastily removed from the manuscript just days before publication in 1912--more effectively establish characterization and motivation. Restored passages dedicated to the internal thoughts of major and minor characters bring a softer dimension to a novel primarily celebrated for its realistic attention to the cold external world of finance. Mulligan's historical commentary reveals new insights into Dreiser's creative practices and how his business knowledge shapedThe Financier.This supplemental material considers the novel's place within the tradition of American business novels and its reflections on the scandalous business practices of the robber baron era.
The Titan is the second volume in what the author called his trilogy of desire, featuring the character of Frank Cowperwood, a powerful, irresistibly compelling man driven by his own need for power, beautiful women, and social prestige.Having married his former mistress, Aileen Butler, and moved to Chicago, Cowperwood almost succeeds in his dream of establishing a monopoly of all public utilities. Dissatisfaction with Aileen leads him, however, to a series of affairs with other women. When the Chicago citizenry frustrates his financial schemes, he departs for Europe with Berenice Fleming, the lovely daughter of the madam of a Louisville brothel.At last, Cowperwood experiences the pathos of the discovery that even giants are but pygmies, and that an ultimate balance must be struck.
An American Tragedy
An American Masterpiece Clyde Griffiths finds his social-climbing aspirations and love for a rich and beautiful debutante threatened when his lower-class pregnant girlfriend gives him an ultimatum.
Although world-famous for his novelsSister CarrieandJennie Gerhardt, Theodore Dreiser was also highly accomplished in journalism, autobiography, and travel writing. In 1919, having recently accepted the publishing contract of a new publisher, Boni and Liveright, Dreiser proposed to publish a "book of characters" that would collect twelve biographical sketches of individuals who were major influences on Dreiser, both as a man and as a writer. The resulting narratives combine the best attributes of the character sketch, the autobiography, and the short story into miniature masterpieces of prose. The men profiled inTwelve Menare a diverse and colorful group: from Dreiser's equally famous brother, the songwriter Paul Dresser ("My Brother Paul"), to the entirely obscure railroad foreman Michael Burke ("The Mighty Rourke"), on whose work crew Dreiser had labored in 1903. The twelve narratives are compelling portraits of the men portrayed, but they also reveal many insights into Dreiser's own life and work. These factors elevate the significance ofTwelve Mento a level consistent with other major works in the Dreiser canon.