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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451531551
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/03/2010
Pages: 896
Sales rank: 40,615
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on August 27, 1871. After a poor and difficult childhood, Dreiser broke into newspaper work in Chicago in 1892. A successful career as a magazine writer in New York during the late 1890s was followed by his first novel, Sister Carrie (1900). When this work made little impact, Dreiser published no fiction until Jennie Gerhardt in 1911. There then followed a decade and a half of major work in a number of literary forms, which was capped in 1925 by An American Tragedy, a novel that brought him universal acclaim. Dreiser was increasingly preoccupied by philosophical and political issues during the last two decades of his life. He died in Los Angeles on December 28, 1945.

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An American Tragedy 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
ReadingfreakLA More than 1 year ago
Theadore Dreiser got scarcely a mention during American Lit Class when I was in high school. I had mistaken classified him as an early American writer. So I was surprised to learn that he wrote An American Tragedy in 1938 while in Hollywood, working for a film company. I was also pleasantly surprised to find it one of the best books I've read in several years. Drieser's book is a fascinating character study in the psychology of crime, and also a snapshot on how much the culture has changed in its social attitudes toward sex outside of marriage and pregancy. Based on an actual murder case which occurred in the early 20th Century,it reflects the ambition and attitudes of class consciousness that was the dark side of "the American Dream". At 800-plus pages, it is a little long, but a superbly written book. It is well worth the time and effort. I give it an A.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although the first 50 pages are somewhat slow moving, if you push forward you will find a true literary treasure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a story that most have seen as society corrupting and destoying a young man. I see it as the story of a young man with a deeply flawed character who was doomed by his own actions. The point is that this book, like any great story, can be studied on many levels and from many points of view.
andreablythe on LibraryThing 28 days ago
An epically long look at the life of Clyde Griffiths, an ambitious young man who wants to escape the poverty of his youth and replace it with wealthy, prestige, and social status. Along the way, he becomes entangles in the "dark side of the American Dream."I am starting to loose faith in the Modern Library's ability to choose so-called "great" books. While I think a truly great book goes beyond just entertainment to where it makes the reader think or expands their point of view, I don't see why so many "classics of great literature" have to insist on a kind of dark drudgery. Dreiser, for example, rehashes scenes, dialog, events multiple times, and maybe that's necessary in a book that involves a trial and thus requires multiple interpretations of the same events. However, I really think this book could have done with an editor to hack away all the superfluous repetition that beleaguers the point at every turn. (I almost gave up at a couple of points, but each time figured, welp, I got this far. I may as well see it through.)And yet, I didn't out right hate the book, because even though Clyde is greedy, selfish, and in all rights rather unlikeable, I found it interesting that even as I came to realize just how awful a human being he is, I also found myself siding with him against the law and society that also wasn't all that likable (though for entirely different reasons). So there are definitely some interesting complexities there. I suppose the only "good" character in the whole book is Clyde's mother, an unordained preacher whose entire faith lies with God, which isn't surprising as Dreiser's message seems to be that people need to give up the selfish and destructive pursuit of things and seek a simpler more godly life. Definitely not a favorite.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing 28 days ago
- Clyde Griffiths is a young man with ambition. From the start of this novel when he is a young boy from a poor but devout family he is both on the run and doomed. In over his head with problems that stick to him like honey he leaves Kansas City and arrives in New York, and before long he is in love with a rich girl, but it's a poor girl he has gotten pregnant, Roberta Alden, who works with him at his uncle's factory. One day he takes Roberta canoeing on a lake with the intention of killing her. From there his fate is sealed and doom is once again on the horizon. But by then Dreiser has made plain that Clyde's fate was long before sealed by a brutal and cynical society. - The usual criticism of Dreiser is that, line for line, he's the weakest of the great American novelists. And it's true that he takes a journalist's approach to writing, joining workmanlike sentences one to the other. His prose is repetitive at times, but he slowly builds a powerful network of words, sentences and paragraphs with a natural vitality flowing through them. The first time I read this novel I was still in high school during my Dreiser and Hardy phase. Hardy wears better over the years, but both remain powerful for the attentive reader.
shawnd on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I was spooked when I read this that somehow I'd been able to make it through school without any teachers making us read this. Perhaps a little too gruesome? I think this is a great American novel. It covers all the bases--class issues, choice between good and evil as we strive to reach 'the American dream', the clash between naivete of youth and our desire to give children independence. This is probably more of a thriller than you'd get in the 30s and 40s. From a genre/time in our history perspective, if folks ought to read Ralph Ellison then they ought to read this. Without sounding contorted, -- as this book doesn't fit a profile in my mind -- it's kind of Studs Terkel meets Ralph Ellison meets John Grisham meets John Dos Passos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good story that also presents questions important to think about. Dreiser is master writer and nothing less.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and did not want it to end. It is rich in character study and very well written. See the movie A Place in the Sun based on this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deeply engrossing with superb character development. Well worth the time and effort. A deep exploration of the human character. Sorry I waited so long to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An American Tragedy was probably better when it was breaking new ground. I just wanted to get on with it, so I wouldn't have to spend so much time turning the compost heap of Clyde Griffith's psyche.
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