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

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

  1. Andrew

    I have to disagree with the review. I enjoyed this collection of stories, and don’t think they deserve to be dismissed as “drab content” (they do involve mob violence, a train robbery, a political conspiracy and a strange dream/fantasy). To me, Dreiser’s short stories are some of his most underrated work.



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