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Theodore Dreiser Books In Order

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Publication Order of Trilogy of Desire Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Hand of the Potter (1918)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Best Short Stories of Theodore Dreiser (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Plays of the Natural and the Supernatural (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fulfilment and Other Tales of Women and Men (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Color of a Great City (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Picture and a Criticism of Life (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Letters to Women (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Political Writings (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
American Diaries, 1902-1926 (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

A Traveler At Forty (1913)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twelve Men (1919)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Book about Myself (1922)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dreiser's Russian Diary (1928)Description / Buy at Amazon
Harlan Miners Speak: Report on Terrorism in the Kentucky Coal Fields (With: Sherwood Anderson,John Dos Passos) (1932)Description / Buy at Amazon
Newspaper Days (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dawn (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

50 Great American Short Stories(1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing New York(1998)Description / Buy at Amazon

Theodore Dreiser
Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on August 27, 1871 to Sarah Maria and John Paul Dreiser. He was the twelfth of thirteen children (ninth of the ten that survived), with one of his brothers being Paul Dreiser, who changed the spelling of his name to Dresser as he became a popular songwriter. His childhood was characterized by severe poverty, and his dad could be harsh, and his later fiction reflects these experiences.

After he graduated from high school in Warsaw, Indiana, he went to Indiana University in 1889-1890 without receiving his degree.

In 1892, he began working as a reporter and a drama critic for newspapers in Toledo, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, and Pittsburgh. During this time he published “The Return of Genius”, his first work of fiction, which appeared in the Chicago Daily Globe under the name of Carl Dreiser. By 1895, he was penning articles for magazines. He’d written pieces on writers like John Burroughs, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Israel Zangwill, and William Dean Howells, and he’d interviewed public figures like Theodore Thomas, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, and Marshall Field.

In 1895, he also convinced business associates of his brother Paul to give him the editorship of “Ev’ry Month”, a magazine, in which he published “Forgotten”, his first story, a tale that was based on one of his brother’s songs called “The Letter that Never Came”. Dreiser kept editing magazines, some of which were aimed at a primarily female crowd.

In the year 1899, Theodore and Sara (his first wife) stayed with Arthur Henry and Maude Wood Henry (his wife) at the House of Four Pillars, an 1830s Greek Revival house in Maumee, Ohio. It was here he started working on “Sister Carrie”, his first novel. Unknown to Maude, Henry had sold a half-interest in the house to Theodore in order to finance a move to New York without her.

His book about his brother, called “My Brother Paul”, who became a famous songwriter during the 1890s, was the basis for the 1942 romantic film called “My Gal Sal”.

“Carrie”, a movie based off “Sister Carrie” was released in 1952, and starred Jennifer Jones and Laurence Olivier and was directed by William Wyler. “Jennie Gerhardt” was made into a movie, released in 1933, and “An American Tragedy” was made into a movie that starred Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters, and Elizabeth Taylor called “A Place in the Sun”, released in 1951.

As he worked as a newspaperman in St. Louis, he met Sara Osborne White, a schoolteacher, and in 1893, they got engaged, before getting married on December 28, 1898. In 1909, they separated, partly due to Theodore’s infatuation with Thelma Cudlipp, the teen daughter of a colleague, however they were never formally divorced.

In the year 1913, he started a romantic relationship with Kyra Markham, the painter and actress. And in 1919, he met Helen Patges Richardson, his cousin, with whom he had an affair. She remained the constant woman in his life, through the decades, even through many more temporary affairs, like one with his secretary, Clara Jaeger, during the 1930s. Helen put up with his affairs, and they stayed together until he died. Sara died in 1942, and he married Helen on June 13, 1944.

Theodore was often forced to battle against censorship because of his portrayal of certain aspects of life, like sexual promiscuity, offended authorities, and challenged standards of acceptable opinion. In the year 1930 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature by Anders Osterling, however was passed over for Sinclair Lewis.

He died in Hollywood, California on December 28, 1945 at the age of 74.

“Sister Carrie” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 1900. The story of an 18 year old country girl, named Carrie Meeber, that moves to Chicago and becomes a kept woman, was some strong stuff at the turn of the century, and what Dreiser’s wary publisher released was a very expurgated version in 1900. Times have changed, and now we’ve got a restored “author’s cut” of “Sister Carrie” which shows just how ahead of the times Dreiser actually was.

First and foremost, he’s written an astute, and nonmoralizing account of a woman and the limited options available to her in the late 19th century America. That is pretty impressive in and of itself, however he doesn’t just stop there. Instead he digs deep into the psychological underpinnings of his characters, he gives us people that are often strangers to themselves, drifting numbly until fate pushes them onto a path that they can neither defend later or even recall selecting.

This story unfolds in the measured cadences of an earlier era. This sometimes works brilliantly while we follow the choices, large and small, which lead some characters to glory and others to doom. On the other hand, the middle chapters do drag somewhat, even if you appreciate Dreiser’s intentions. Those that can make it through this sagging middle section, though, are rewarded by the final 150 pages, which portray the harrowing downward spiral of one of the novel’s central characters. Here he portrays with savage power just how the wrong choice, or lack of choice, can lay waste to somebody’s life.

“The Financier” is the first novel in the “Trilogy of Desire” series and was released in 1912. Dreiser, a master of literary naturalism, is known for his keen journalistic eye and great intensity while he examines real life subjects. This powerful novel explores the dynamics of the financial world during the Civil War and after the stock market panic that was caused by the Great Chicago Fire.

This tells the story about Frank Cowperwood, the ruthlessly dominating broker, while he climbs the ladder of success, his adoring mistress championing every move he makes. Based on the life of C. T. Yerkes, a financier, his cutting depiction of the corrupt magnate Cowperwood illustrates the idea that wealth is often obtained by less than reputable means.

“The Titan” is the second novel in the “Trilogy of Desire” series and was released in 1914. Frank has moved to Chicago with his new wife Aileen. His plan is to take the street railway system over and in the process bankrupts his opponents with political allies.

The novel follows Frank through the trials of realizing his dream, social banishment, and marital upheavals.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Theodore Dreiser

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