Monthly Archives: March 2022

David Karsner, “Dreiser, the Daddy of American Realists”


David Karsner, ‘Dreiser, the Daddy of American Realists’ – NY Herald Tribune 6-20-1926

David Karsner obit – NY Times 2-22-1941


Posted here (PDF files above):

David Karsner

“Dreiser, the Daddy of American Realists”

The New York Herald Tribune

June 20, 1926

Plus an Karsner’s obituary,


— posted by Roger W. Smith

James T. Farrell, “Theodore Dreiser: In Memoriam”


James T. Farrell, ‘Theodore Dreiser; I Memoriam’ – Saturday Review 1-12-1946


Posted here (downloadable PDF file above)

James T. Farrell

“Theodore Dreiser: In Memoriam”

Saturday Review of Literature

January 12, 1946

pp. 16–17, 27–28

Dreiser deserved this tribute. And, Farrell had the generosity of spirit and critical acumen to write it.


— -posted by Roger W. Smith


A couple of books from my personal library



from Orrick Johns, “Time of Our Lives”


Orrick Johns, ‘Time of Our Lives’


Posted here is an excerpt from Orrick Johns, Time of Our Lives: The Story of My Father and Myself (New York: Stakcpole Sons, 1937).

Orrick Johns (1887-1946) was an American poet and playwright.

A native of St. Louis, Johns was the son of George Sibley Johns, editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. (In the 1890s, Dreiser was a reporter in St. Louis.) After graduating from the University of Missouri, Orrick Johns eventually landed a position at Reedy’s Mirror, a literary journal in St. Louis whose editor was William Marion Reedy. Reedy was an early champion of Dreiser when the latter’s critical reputation was far from secure. Reedy wrote a highly favorable review of The “Genius.

Johns moved to Greenwich Village in New York City around the time that Dreiser was writing The “Genius.” In 1912, Johns, a modernist free-verse poet, won The Lyric Year poetry contest for his poem “Second Avenue.” Competitors for the award included Edna St. Vincent Millay.

In the 1930s, Johns became a communist, briefly. He was supervisor of the WPA Writers’ Project in New York City. Johns’s Time of Our Lives: The Story of My Father and Myself was published in 1937.

The National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners was an organization founded in 1931 as an accompaniment to the International Labor Defense, led by the Communist Party USA. It was under the auspices of this organization that Dreiser, as de facto leader of the committee, became involved with the plight of striking miners in the Kentucky and Pennsylvania coal fields.

Dreiser’s involvement in the case of the imprisoned labor activist Tom Mooney is covered in my post

Roger W. Smith, “Theodore Dreiser in the US Communist Press”


San Francisco News, May 31, 1930


— posted by Roger W. Smith

March 2022

Robert Penn Warren, “An American Tragedy”


Robert Penn Warren, ‘An American Tragedy’ – Yale Review


Posted here:

Robert Penn Warren

“An American Tragedy”

Yale Review 52 (October 1962), pp. 1–15


— posted by Roger W. Smith

John Cowper Powys review of “An American Tragedy”


John Cowper Powys review of An American Tragedy – The Dial, April 1926


Posted here (downloadable PDF above) is a review by John Cowper Powys of Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.

The Dial, April 1926

An editorial comment: Dreiser’s friend Powys certainly enjoyed showing off his vocabulary.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2022

review of Dreiser, “Free and Other Stories,” The Dial (1918)


review of ‘Free and Other Stories’ – The Dial 12-28-1918


Posted here (downloadable PDF file above) is a review of Dreiser’s Free and Other Stories

The Dial, December 28, 1918

The review makes reference to Dreiser’s novel The “Genius,” which it terms a “ponderous commentary on Weininger’s Sex and Character.” Otto Weininger (1880-1903) was an Austrian philosopher and author of the  book Geschlecht und Charakter (Sex and Character). The influence of Weininger on Dreiser in The “Genius” is analyzed in Donald Pizer’s article “Otto Weininger and the Sexual Dynamics of Theodore Dreiser’s The “Genius,” Studies in American Naturalism 3.2 (winter 2008).

An editorial comment: The “Genius,” which is closely based on events in Dreiser’s life, is an uneven book that can be criticized for its muddled views. It did not get a good critical reception, and it is still not well regarded. I found the novel highly readable despite the weak patches and feel it is underrated.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2022

a letter to the editor re Dreiser


Dreiser letter to editor re M. M. Hedges – The Dial 4-19-1917

Downloadable PDF file above.


The letter, from M. H. Hedges, was published in The Dial of April 19, 1917.

The letter references an article by Dreiser, “Life, Art and America,” published in the February 1917 issue of Seven Arts.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  March 2022

Randolph Bourne, “The Art of Theodore Dreiser”


Randolph Bourne, ‘The Art of Theodore Dreiser’ – The Dial 1917


Posted here (downloadable PDF file above):

Randolph Bourne

“The Art of Theodore Dreiser”

The Dial

June 14, 1917


— posted by Roger W. Smith

Gilbert Seldes on An American Tragedy and Dreiser


Gilbert Seldes, ‘Mainland’


Posted here (downloadable PDF above) are excerpts from Gilbert Seldes, Mainland (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936).

Gilbert Seldes (1893-1970) was an American writer and cultural critic. Seldes served as the editor and drama critic of the magazine The Dial.

Seldes’s review in The Nation of Ulysses by James Joyce helped the book become known in the United States. His tenure as editor of The Dial included the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in the November 1922 issue.

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2022

George Seldes, “The Nobel Prize and Dreiser”


George Seldes, ‘The Nobel Prize and Dreiser’ (letter) – NY Times 11-4-1984 (2)

George Steiner, ‘The Scandal of the Nobel Prize’ – NYTBR 9-30-1984


“The Nobel Prize and Dreiser”

letter to the editor

George Seldes

The New York Times Book Review

November 4, 1984


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   March 2022