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Works by
Theodore Dreiser
(AKA Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser)
(Writer)
[August 27, 1871 – December 28, 1945]

Biography/Memoirs
  • Letters to Women: New Letters, Volume 2 (2009) by Theodore Dreiser and Thomas P. Riggio
    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the second volume of Dreiser correspondence to be published by the University of Illinois Press, gathers previously unpublished letters Dreiser wrote to women between 1893 and 1945, many of them showing personal feelings Dreiser revealed nowhere else.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.

  • A Picture and a Criticism of Life: New Letters (2008) by Theodore Dreiser and Donald Pizer
    Before coming to national attention for his novel Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser worked for nearly a decade as a magazine editor and freelance writer. Now in paperback, Art, Music, and Literature, 1897-1902 collects a rich selection of Dreiser's brief, colorful articles and interviews with American artists, musicians, and writers during this period. His profiles and interviews include such notables as Alfred Stieglitz, William Dean Howells, and legendary impresario Major James Burton Pond, as well as numerous women artists, novelists, and musicians. The volume is liberally seasoned with period illustrations reproduced from the original publications, and Yoshinobu Hakutani's notes provide biographical details about Dreiser's various subjects.

  • Dawn: An Autobiography of Early Youth (1998), T. D. Nostwich, ed.
    An autobiography of early youth published in 1931, just as the country was entering the darkest days of the Great Depression, Dawn is a major American writer's engrossing effort to understand how he had become the person that he was. It opens in a small house on a dingy street in Terre Haute, Indiana, where the author is born, the ninth of ten children, on August 27, 1871. Central to Dreiser's story is his Czech mother's struggle to keep her family together in the face of chronic poverty and her husband's inability to earn a living. She is all-enduring and all-forgiving, one of Dreiser's triumphs of characterization. The father, a disabled German Catholic millworker, is pitiful, luckless, and powerless to impress his moral authority on his indifferent children, all of whom are magnetized by pleasure and material display. They are the musically talented Paul, a simple-hearted, generous sensualist; the sullen Rome, an amoral wanderer, often in jail, always full of drink and braggadocio; the four sisters, looking only for fun, finery, and handsome moneyed young men; and Theodore, sickly, withdrawn, finding beauty in nature and in books but little solace from his inborn fatalism.

  • Dearest Wilding: A Memoir, With Love Letters from Theodore Dreiser (1998) by Yvette Eastman and Thomas P. Riggio

  • Dreiser's Russian Diary (1996) by Theodore Dreiser, Thomas P. Riggio, and James L. W. West III
    Theodore Dreiser's Russian Diary is an extended record of the American writer's travels throughout the Soviet Union in 1927-28. Dreiser was initially invited to Moscow for a week-long observance of the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. He asked, and was granted, permission to make a extended tour of the country. This previously unpublished diary is a firsthand record of life in the USSR during the 1920s as seen by a leading American cultural figure. It is a valuable primary source, surely among the last from this period of modern history.

  • Dreiser-Mencken Letters: The Correspondence of Theodore Dreiser and H. L. Mencken 1907-1945 by Theodore Dreiser and Thomas Riggio (Hardcover - Jan 1987)

Fiction
  • The Stoic (1947)

  • The Bulwark (1946)

  • A Gallery of Women (1929)
    Study of the motivating life forces-of love and passion, of jealousy and ambition, of hate and despair.

  • Chains: Lesser Novels and Stories (1927)

  • An American Tragedy (1925)
    A tremendous bestseller when it was published in 1925, An American Tragedy is the culmination of Theodore Dreiser's elementally powerful fictional art. Taking as his point of departure a notorious murder case of 1910, Dreiser immersed himself in the social background of the crime to produce a book that is both a remarkable work of reportage and a monumental study of character. Few novels have undertaken to track so relentlessly the process by which an ordinary young man becomes capable of committing a ruthless murder, and the further process by which social and political forces come into play after his arrest.

    In Clyde Griffiths, the impoverished, restless offspring of a family of street preachers, Dreiser created an unforgettable portrait of a man whose circumstances and dreams of self-betterment conspire to pull him toward an act of unforgivable violence. Around Clyde, Dreiser builds an extraordinarily detailed fictional portrait of early twentieth-century America, its religious and sexual hypocrisies, its economic pressures, its political corruption. The sheer prophetic amplitude of his bitter truth-telling, in idiosyncratic prose of uncanny expressive power, continues to mark Dreiser as a crucially important American writer. An American Tragedy, the great achievement of his later years, is a work of mythic force, at once brutal and heartbreaking.

  • Twelve Men (1919)

  • The "Genius" (1915)

  • The Lost Phoebe (1914)
    See "The Lost Phoebe" and "Old Rogaum and His Theresa"

  • The Titan (1914)
    This sequel to The Financier continues the saga of the ups and downs in the life of Frank Cowperwood.

  • The Financier (1912)
    This powerful novel explores the dynamics of the financial world during the Civil War and after the stock market panic caused by the Chicago fire. Frank Cowperwood, a ruthlessly dominating broker, climbs the ladder of success, occasionally missing a rung or two, with his loving mistress championing his every move.

  • Jennie Gerhardt (1911)
    "It exemplifies the naturalism of which Dreiser was a proponent, telling the unhappy story of a working-class woman who accepts all the adversity life visits on her and becomes the mistress of two wealthy and powerful men in order to help her impoverished family." -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

  • "Old Rogaum and His Theresa" (1901)
    See "The Lost Phoebe" and "Old Rogaum and His Theresa"

  • Sister Carrie (1900)
    Story of a rudderless but pretty small-town girl who comes to the big city filled with vague ambitions.

Non-fiction
Travelogues
  • A Book About Myself (1922) / Newspaper Days (1931)
    Originally published 1922 as A Book About Myself


  • In Newspaper Days, first published in 1922 under the title A Book about Myself, Theodore Dreiser explored his personal life during the time he spent as a reporter for newspapers in Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New York in the 1890s.
  • A Hoosier Holiday (1916)
    Two-week car trip from New York to Indiana undertaken by Dreiser and artist Franklin Booth in 1914.

  • A Traveler at Forty (1913)
    Travelogue/personal memoir of Dreiser's trip to England, France, Italy, Germany and Holland.

Plays
Short Stories
  • Free and Other Stories (1918, 2007)
    Free; McEwen of the Shining Slave Makers; Nigger Jeff; The Lost Phoebe; The Second Choice; A Story of Stories; Old Rogaum and His Theresa; Will You Walk Into My Parlor; The Cruise of the Idlewild; Married; When the Old Century Was New.

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