Jennie Gerhardt

Jennie Gerhardt

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by Theodore Dreiser

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Regarded as one of Dreiser's best novels, Jennie Gerhardt is here recaptured as it was originally written, restoring it to its complete, unexpurgated form.

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Regarded as one of Dreiser's best novels, Jennie Gerhardt is here recaptured as it was originally written, restoring it to its complete, unexpurgated form.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The best American novel I have ever read, with the lonesome but Himalayan exception of Huckleberry Finn."—H. L. Mencken

"For Dreiser, Jennie Gerhardt was a good career move. Now, with this Pennsylvania edition, we know that it is also a great novel."—New York Times

Dreiser's second novel as published by Harper and Brothers in 1911 was substantially cut and edited to modify its subject matter and moral stance, changing it from a blunt work of social realism to a love story merely set against a social background. Editor West has restored the guts to the work in this unexpurgated version. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date:
Pine Street Books Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

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A Note on the Text

The text of this paperback edition of Jennie Gerhardt reproduces the Pennsylvania Edition of the novel, first published in 1992 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. That edition is an eclectic text prepared in accordance with the principles of Greg-Bowers-Tanselle copy-text editing; it represents an attempt to reconstruct an ideal text by critical, interpretive methods.

This restored edition is based on all extant documentary witnesses: an ur-manuscript, two typescripts, and a composite holograph/typescript fair copy at the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania, and a carbon typescript (the one that H. L. Mencken read) in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. Relevant correspondence by Dreiser and others is preserved at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, the Arents Research Library at Syracuse University, and the Rare Book and Special Collections Library at the University of Illinois.

Readers interested in the theory and documentation that underpin this text of Jennie Gerhardt should consult the Historical and Textual Commentaries in the full-dress Pennsylvania Edition. They should also inspect the tables, notes, and appendixes of that edition for information about emendations and textual cruxes. Two corrections in the 1992 Pennsylvania text have been made for this paperback: at 50.3 "Dukedom" has become "Kingdom"; and at 55.3 "Father" now reads "Pastor."

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About the Author

Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on August 27, 1871. After an impoverished childhood, he became a reporter and feature writer for newspapers in Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, and Buffalo. He moved to New York in 1897 and made a start there as a successful magazine journalist and editor. In 1900 he published his first novel, Sister Carrie, but the book was considered immoral by its own publisher and was given little promotion or sales support. Dreiser enter a period of depression in 1901, emerging two years later to resume his career as a magazine editor; but he published no new fiction until Jennie Gerhardt in 1911. There followed a decade and a half of major work in several literary forms, capped in 1925 by An American Tragedy, a novel that brought him great critical acclaim and professional reward. Dreiser was preoccupied by philosophical and political issues during the last two decades of his life; he died in Los Angeles on December 28, 1945.

About the Editor

James L. W. West III is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University. He has been awarded fellowships by the Guggeheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has held Fulbright appointments in England and Belgium. West's American Authors and the Literary Marketplace since 1900, an expansion of his 1983 Rosenbach Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1988. His most recent books are William Styron: A Life (1998) and The Perfect Hour: The Romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King (2005).

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Jennie Gerhardt 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a classic work of art by a master. Contemporary novels cannot hold a match to this. The characters jump out at you. The reader can't help but empathize with Jennie, her mother, father and Lester. It is true life. Don't miss it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book about the hardships of life and what social standings mean to a high class family. Read this book and you will know what I mean by a fabulous book!