About

 

 

This site is devoted to the American writer Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945). Hopefully, it will be of interest both to scholars and to readers with a general interest in the works of Dreiser.

The site has been developed as a successor to the web site Dreiser Online, which was begun by Roger W. Smith in 2008. It incorporates material from that site, plus much new material has been added.

A substantial amount of material, much of it of potential use to Dreiser scholars, has been posted here already. Much new material is in preparation and is forthcoming.

Among the newly added material on this site are articles based on original scholarship by Roger W. Smith.

 

 

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A good starting place for this site – for Dreiser scholars – is the Dreiser chronology at

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/dreiser-chronology/

The chronology is one of the most complete Dreiser chronologies that has been compiled so far. (It is a work in progress.) It really constitutes a sort of chronology cum encapsulated biography cum bibliography. There is much information about the publication history of Dreiser works and of foreign translations as well as information about the publication history of works about Dreiser. Information about foreign translations of Dreiser’s works, which are innumerable, has not been exhaustively compiled hitherto.

This site contains bibliographies for works about Theodore Dreiser from 1990 to 2008. These bibliographies were compiled mainly while I was serving as bibliographer for the now defunct journal Dreiser Studies.

 

 

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My acquaintance with and interest in Dreiser contains elements of both scholarship and the pure joy of reading Dreiser as a non scholar.

I became interested in Dreiser as a general reader. My appreciation was enhanced by an extensive acquaintance with and deep knowledge of literature.

I have been engaged to do scholarly work on Dreiser since then, and have devoted considerable time to Dreiser research and to collecting materials about him. In the process, I have built up an extensive library of Dreiserana and have collected many articles and miscellaneous materials.

Despite the great deal of time and attention I have devoted to Dreiser, my literary interests and enthusiasms are not confined to him. I have posted blog posts elsewhere, and have published book reviews, about writers such as Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Henry Miller, Walter Van Tilburg Clark, and Edwin O’Connor.

I am not particularly interested in literary criticism or literary theory. I am mainly interested in Dreiser the writer qua writer, Dreiser the man, and Dreiser’s life.

I am interested in uncovering facts and so forth that reveal more about Dreiser. Many stones have been left unturned, and many inaccuracies and misconceptions persist.

 

 

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Please note: Documents and images posted here — e.g., Word files, PDF files, JPEG files — are downloadable. You merely have to point and click, which will enable you to either open the document or to download (save) it.

If you place the cursor over an image, a caption should appear (for images that are captioned).

 

 

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I am willing to share information with other Dreiser researchers and scholars. I have an extensive library of Dreiserana, and I have collected an enormous amount of material about Dreiser, including thousands of articles, many of them not easily accessible. I have a great deal of material in electronic format. This includes scanned documents and material copied from library collections or downloaded from research databases. I believe that much of the material is irretrievable elsewhere.

I have been somewhat surprised by the fact that some persons whom I have assisted with Dreiser related research and writing have hardly bothered to acknowledge my assistance or thank me. A thank you would be welcome. Basic courtesy is not un-apropos to the academic realm!

Worse things have happened, such as wholesale use of my materials (including primary source materials and new discoveries about Dreiser) with insufficient attribution or acknowledgment — or no acknowledgment at all — by scholars who should know better, using original source materials, hitherto undiscovered, that were found solely by me, with painstaking research, they taking (appropriating) the materials and, so to speak, “running with them,” incorporating them — lock, stock, and barrel — into an article published under their name which they pretend is based upon their own research.

My article “Theodore Dreiser, Ervin Nyiregyházi, Helen Richardson, And Marie Pergain,” posted on this blog, is 29 pages long. It is exhaustively documented and based almost entirely upon original research. A prominent Dreiser scholar used this material in an article on John Dos Passos’s involvement with the so called Dreiser Committee in Harlan County, Kentucky in the 1930’s, which he published with no attribution of my discoveries whatsoever.

Similarly, original research of mine into real life material Dreiser used in writing Chapter XLV of Sister Carrie (“Curious Shifts of the Poor”) was not properly credited by another scholar who based a recent journal article on my findings. His article was grounded upon my research, which he defended appropriating on the grounds that he did the writing. Of course, he did, using my material without informing me of what use he planned to make of it; without it, he would have had no article.

 

 

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Comments and inquiries about this site may be directed via email to Roger W. Smith at

brandeis106@gmail.com

 

 

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Roger W. Smith is an independent scholar based in New York City with expertise in English and early twentieth century American literature. He is the former bibliographer of Dreiser Studies and has published several articles and reviews on Theodore Dreiser and his contemporaries. His book reviews on American literature have appeared in major daily newspapers.

Mr. Smith has been a member of the International Theodore Dreiser Society since its founding in 1991.

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