Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945)

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch8

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945), in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch8

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675



  • Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945);
  • Theodore Dreiser, close to becoming the first American - to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, though the honor went to Sinclair Lewis;
  • Dreiser's fictional characters, in a world harsh and competitive - offering rewards to the ruthless and the lucky;
  • character's fate, determined by chance - basic biological drives as sex and instinct for survival;
  • Dreiser, had written unpublished short fiction - before his first novel, Sister Carrie (1900);
  • Dreiser, telling the story of Carrie Meeber's rise to fame and success;
  • novel by others, Sister Carrie - accepted for publication by Doubleday, Page after recommendation by novelist Frank Norris;
  • Dreiser, suffering periods of depression - following his first novel's non-existent publication;
  • The Genius (1915), most autobiographical of Dreiser's novels - subject of hostile criticism for its sexual themes;
  • Dreiser's fiction, and real-life events and characters - his only full-length play, The Hand of the Potter (1919)


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography