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 of The Financier to 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 includes The Titan (1914) and The 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 in The 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 shaped The 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.
Theodore Dreiser led a long and controversial life, almost always pursuing some serious question, and not rarely pursuing women. This collection, the second volume of Dreiser correspondence to be published by the University of Illinois Press, gathers previously unpublished letters Dreiser wrote to women between 1893 and 1945, many of them showing personal feelings Dreiser revealed nowhere else. Here he both preens and mocks himself, natters and scolds, relates his jaunts with Mencken and his skirmishes with editors and publishers. He admits his worries, bemoans his longings, and self-consciously embarks on love letters that are unafraid to smolder and flame. To one reader he sends “Kisses, Kisses, Kisses, for your sweety mouth” and urges his needy requests: “Write me a love-letter Honey girl.” Alongside such amorous play, he often expressed his deepest feelings on philosophical, religious, and social issues that characterize his public writing.
Chronologically arranged and meticulously edited by Thomas P. Riggio, these letters reveal how wide and deep Dreiser’s needs were. Dreiser often discussed his writing in his letters to women friends, telling them what he wanted to do, where he thought he succeeded and failed, and seeking approval or criticism. By turns seductive, candid, coy, and informative, these letters provide an intimate view of a master writer who knew exactly what he was after.
Notes on Life
Theodore Dreiser University of Alabama Press, 1974 Library of Congress PS3507.R55N6 1974 | Dewey Decimal 191
"It has long been known that Dreiser devoted much effort during the final two decades of his lfe to the preparation of a major philosophical work which remained unfinished at his death....The best evidence of Dreiser's later thought would appear to be [t]his treatise, and it is appropriate that Marguerite Tjader and John J. McAleer--the two Dreiserians most sympathetic to the mystical religiosity of the later Dreiser--should make it available in published form." --American Literary Realism
Edited by Jude Davies University of Illinois Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3507.R55A6 2011 | Dewey Decimal 818.52
Theodore Dreiser staked his reputation on fearless expression in his fiction, but he never was more outspoken than when writing about American politics, which he did prolifically. Although he is remembered primarily as a novelist, the majority of his twenty-seven books were nonfiction treatises.
To Dreiser, everything was political. His sense for the hype and hypocrisies of politics took shape in reasoned but emphatic ruminations in his fiction and nonfiction on the hopes and disappointments of democracy, the temptations of nationalism and communism, the threat and trumpets of war, and the role of writers in resisting and advancing political ideas.
Spanning a period of American history from the Progressive Era to the advent of the Cold War, this generous volume collects Dreiser's most important political writings from his journalism, broadsides, speeches, private papers, and long out-of-print nonfiction books. Touching on the Great Depression, the New Deal, and both World Wars as well as Soviet Russia and the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany, these writings exemplify Dreiser's candor and his penchant for championing the defenseless and railing against corruption.
Positing Dreiser as an essential public intellectual who addressed the most important issues of the first half of the twentieth century, these writings also navigate historical terrain with prescient observations on topics such as religion, civil rights, national responsibility, individual ethics, global relations, and censorship that remain particularly relevant to a contemporary audience. Editor Jude Davies provides historical commentaries that frame these selections in the context of his other writings, particularly his novels.