Monthly Archives: September 2021

Theodore Dreiser, “Tom Mooney”

 

 

Theodore Dreiser, ‘Tom Mooney’

 

Tom Mooney

by Theodore Dreiser

a pamphlet published April 1933

price 10 cents

“Mooney Talks to Dreiser, Says He Needs Champion”

 

 

 

Posted here:

“Mooney Talks to Dreiser, Says He Needs Champion”

The Fresno Bee, Fresno, California

Saturday, May 31, 1930

pg. 9

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Thomas Joseph “Tom” Mooney (1882-1942) was an American political activist and labor leader, who was convicted with Warren K. Billings of the San Francisco Preparedness Day Bombing of 1916.

It quickly became apparent that Mooney and Billings had been convicted based on falsified evidence and perjured testimony and the Mooney case and campaigns to free him — in which Dreiser was active — became an international cause cause célèbre for two decades.

Mooney served 22 years in prison before finally being pardoned in 1939.

 

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Theodore Dreiser, A Primary Bibliography and Reference Guide, Second Edition, by Donald Pizer, Richard W. Dowell, and Frederic E. Rusch lists sources about Dreiser and Tom Mooney.

Other sources not listed there include:

“Mooney and America,” Hesperian (San Francisco) 1, winter 1933 (reprinted in Theodore Dreiser: Political Writings, edited by Jude Davies)

“Dreiser Denounces Infamous Rolph Decision on Mooney,” Daily Worker, April 22, 1932

“Famous Writers Protest Method of Mooney Probe,” Daily Worker, November 4, 1932

“Mooney’s Release For Funeral Urged,” September 6, 1934

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

    September 2021

Can writing (Dreiser’s) really be this bad?

 

 

Please see a new post on my rogers-rhetoric.com site:

 

Can writing really be this bad?

 

Theodore Dreiser, “The Story of Harry Bridges”

 

 

Theodore Dreiser, ‘The Story of Harry Bridges’ – Friday

 

Harry Bridges – Communist Press

 

Posted here as a Word document is the following:

“The Story of Harry Bridges”

By Theodore Dreiser

Friday

October 4, 1940

October 11, 1940

Dreiser’s interview with Bridges was published in two successive issues. Friday (later called Scoop) was a weekly illustrated magazine, published in the early 1940s, that was financed by Communist-front organizations. Its content was consistently pro-labor.

Some news items about Harry Bridges and comments about him in the US Communist press of the time are also posted here as a Word document.

 

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Harry Bridges (1901-1990) was an Australian-born American union leader, first with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA). In 1937, he led several chapters in forming a new union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), expanding members to workers in warehouses, and led it for the next 40 years. He was prosecuted for his labor organizing and believed subversive status by the U.S. government during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, with the goal of deportation. This was never achieved.

Bridges became a naturalized citizen in 1945. His conviction by a federal jury for having lied about his Communist Party membership when seeking naturalization was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1953 as having been prosecuted untimely, outside the statute of limitations. His official power was reduced when the ILWU was expelled by the CIO in 1950, but he continued to be reelected by the California membership and was highly influential until his retirement in 1977.

— Wikipedia

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2021

 

 

 

 

 

re stage adaptations of An American Tragedy

 

‘Gossip Around Paris’ – Holywood Reporter 7-6-1935

 

‘Paris Producers Do American Plays’ – Holywood Reporter 7-13-1935

 

‘Dreiser Opus for Paris!’ – Variety 9-14-1935

 

Dreiser_NYT-Four-cases-of-Clyde-Griffiths

 

In the entry “Adaptions, Stage,” by Keith Newlin, in A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia,* there is discussion of Patrick Kearney’s stage adaptation of An American Tragedy , which had a successful run in New York in 1931; of an adaption of the novel performed in Vienna in 1931; and of Erwin Piscator and Lina Goldschmidt’s adaptation, ‘Case of Clyde Griffiths,” which was performed in Pennsylvania and New York City, beginning in 1935.

There is no mention of a French stage adaptation of  An American Tragedy, adapted by Georges Jamin and Jean Servais, which Dreiser mentioned in an article in The New York Times, in 1936.** Dreiser also mentions a Russian adaptation by H. Basilevsky, which was entitled “The Law of Lycurgus”.***

Posted here are PDF files of Dreiser’s Times article and US theater industry publications in which the 1935 French adaptation was mentioned. The French adaptation by Jamin and Servais seems clearly to have been based on Patrick Kearney’s adaptation.

 

*A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia, edited by Keith Newlin (Westport, Connecticut; Greenwood Press, 2003). pp. 3-6

**”Four Cases of Clyde Griffiths,” by Theodore Dreiser, The New York Times, March 8, 1936

*** Закон Ликурга : американская трагедия : пьеса в 4 действиях и 12 картинах : по мотивам “Американской трагедии” Теодора Драйзера (Zakon Likurga : amerikanskai︠a︡ tragedii︠a︡ : pʹesa v 4 deĭstvii︠a︡kh i 12 kartinakh: po motivam “Amerikanskoĭ tragedii” Teodora Draĭzera; The Law of Lycurgus; An American Tragedy: A Play in 4 Acts and 12 Scenes: Based on Theodore Dreiser’s American Tragedy

 

– posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2021

“150 years since the birth of Theodore Dreiser, the great American novelist”

 

 

re the following post

“150 years since the birth of Theodore Dreiser, the great American novelist”

By David Walsh

World Socialist Web Site

August 26, 2021

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/08/27/drei-a27.html

 

This is a useful and informative synopsis. I learned some things about Dreiser, such as his views on the Moscow show trials and Stalinism.

I do have some comments to make about inaccuracies. (The author, David Walsh’s, comments are in italics.)

* * *

Dreiser, a figure of intense integrity, candor and sensitivity, could burst into tears, it is said, at the sight of some of the pain-stricken or careworn faces he observed on the street.”

Immense sensitivity? Maybe in the abstract, by Dreiser for his characters. In Clintonesque fashion, he teared up at the sufferings of his fellow man. But not in his (Dreiser’s) actual daily experiences — with lovers, friends (of whom there were very few, and rarely did his friendships last), and relatives.

* * *

Numerous events and publications have been devoted to the anniversary of Dreiser’s birth. However, by and large, the writer’s dedication to representing social life in unsparing, objective-realistic terms, as an exponent of the “naturalist” school, does not meet with contemporary academic or literary critical approval. Moreover, despite Dreiser’s obviously strong and angry determination to expose the plight of his female characters, to the extent of titling two of his major and most moving works, Sister Carrie and Jennie Gerhardt, after such protagonists, feminist critics have expressed “concern” about “his investment in gender stereotypes,” as one commentary notes, and these same critics’ examinations “of Dreiser’s treatment of female sexuality often reach negative and even censorious conclusions.”

I earnestly wish we could be spared such tedious, tendentious, and irrelevant (to Dreiser’s times and his actual works) criticism.

* * *

At a certain point Dreiser decided to make his way to New York City where his brother Paul was the toast of Broadway. He worked his way east, writing for newspapers in Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh, before settling in New York in 1894.

Dreiser briefly stopped in Buffalo in his peripatetic career as a journeyman newspaper reporter and inquired about the availability of work as a reporter there. He was not hired and moved on without writing for any Buffalo paper.

* * *

Dreiser began writing his masterpiece, An American Tragedy, in the summer of 1920 in Los Angeles. The factual inspiration for the book was the Gillette-Brown murder case of 1906, newspaper clippings of which he had saved at the time. Chester Gillette, the son of a Salvation Army officer, met a factory girl, Grace (Billy) Brown, in the shirt factory owned by his uncle, where he worked in Cortland, New York. When Billy became pregnant, Gillette apparently took her out on a boat on Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks, struck her with a tennis racket and pushed her overboard.

Apparently? Gillette did take Grace Brown out in a boat on the lake. I personally have visited the scene of the drowning. A group of us was taken to the spot in the lake where the drowning occurred. It did occur — it is not a matter of conjecture. Anyone with even a remote knowledge of the actual American Tragedy case should know this.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2021

Dreiser’s style is not spare.

 

 

spare: economical in style; using simple language and a minimum of words; restrained

 

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I was amused by William Kent Krueger’s description in his By the Book interview (Aug. 22) of a Midwest voice in literature that is “spare but eloquent,” given the hardly spare style that he uses in his own fiction of the Midwest.

For example, in his novel “Ordinary Grace,” Krueger’s narrator describes his sister’s organ playing at a funeral as “fingers shaping the music every bit as magnificently as God shaped the wings of butterflies.”

When the narrator’s mother sings at the same service, “her voice reached out to wipe away my tears and enfold my heart. … And when she finished the sound of the breeze through the doorway was like the sigh of angels well pleased.” This descriptive flora is anything but “spare.”
One of our great voices of the Midwest was the early-20th-century novelist Theodore Dreiser. His writing was so spare that some critics have complained that it was excessively so.

— Robert Farrell, letter to editor, The New York Times Book Review, September 5, 2021

 

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Dreiser’s style is not excessively spare. Hemingway’s is. Dreiser, on the contrary, is often verbose.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2021