Theodore Dreiser

Jude Davies (University of Winchester)
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Theodore Dreiser is now regarded as one of the pre-eminent American novelists of the first half of the twentieth century, an anatomist of the “American dream”. When Dreiser's first novel,

Sister Carrie

(q.v.) appeared in 1900, the American literary establishment, based on the East Coast, was white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, middle-class, and orientated towards European culture. In comparison Dreiser had the wrong parents (German-speaking immigrants from Central Europe), was from the wrong place (the mid-West), the wrong class (decidedly the wrong side of the tracks), and wrote about sub-literary topics. Though he continued to fulfil the role of the outsider throughout his career, Dreiser was instrumental in establishing the American city and especially the experiences of working-class…

2181 words

Citation: Davies, Jude. "Theodore Dreiser". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 August 2001 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

1316 Theodore Dreiser 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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