Category Archives: miscellaneous

a “ ‘past-lack’ motivating impulse”

 

Culhane … resented people using him or his methods to get anywhere, do anything more in life than he could do, and yet he received them. He felt, and I think in the main that he was right, that they looked down on him because of his lowly birth and purely material and mechanical career, and yet having attained some distinction by it he could not forego this work which raised him, in a way, to a position of dominance over these people. Now the sight of presumably so efficient a person in need of aid or exercise, to be built up, was all that was required to spur him on to the most waspish or wolfish attitude imaginable. In part at least he argued, I think (for in the last analysis he was really too wise and experienced to take any such petty view, although there is a subconscious “past-lack” motivating impulse [italics added] in all our views), that here he was, an ex-policeman, ex-wrestler, ex­prize fighter, ex-private, ex-waiter, beef-carrier, bouncer, trainer; and here was this grand major, trained at West Point, who actually didn’t know any more about life or how to take care of his body than to be compelled to come here, broken down at forty-eight, whereas he, because of his stamina and Spartan energy, had been able to survive in perfect condition until sixty and was now in a position to rebuild all these men and wastrels and to control this great institution. — “Culhane, The Solid Man,” in Theodore Dreiser, Twelve Men, edited by Robert Coltrane (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), pg. 152

 

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“[T]here is a subconscious ‘past-lack’ motivating impulse in all our views.” So wrote Theodore Dreiser. This is a clever, original way of saying something by Dreiser, essentially about himself. He had a way of struggling to come with the right word or phrase, and inventing rough-hewn ones, near neologisms to make his meaning plain. Dreiser could identify with Culhane because he himself never overcame the feelings of deprivation and poverty he had experienced growing up — I would be inclined to say emotional deprivation and neglect as well as poverty and want in the commonly understood sense.

 

– posted by Roger W. Smith

   December 2021

in which I make the case against tedious criticism (and for myself)

 

‘Two Letters from Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy’

‘Theodore Dreiser in the US Communist Press’

‘Some Thoughts about Dreiser’

‘Shostakovich’

 

“I find current academic writing excruciatingly boring and pointless. It is completely cut off from reality.” — Arun Mukherjee

 

The following are some essays from the journal American Literary History — from the latest issue (fall 2021) and going back a few years. The titles of the essays presumably reflect the mindset of the editorial board in selecting articles. They must be “academic” (in principle to be expected, and de facto required, but here the definition of academic seems very narrow and, I would say, suffocating in terms of the final product) and they should preferably address topics (theoretical, that is) of current interest to academics:

Latinx Modernism and the Spirit of Latinoamericanismo

Diagnosing Desire: Mental Health and Modern American Literature, 1890–1955

Mapping Decolonial Environmental Imaginaries in Latinx Culture

Literature’s Vexed Democratization

Unspeakable Conventionality: The Perversity of the Kindle

“Dear Anglo”: Scrambling the Signs of Anglo-Modernity from New York to Lagos

Poetic Resistances and the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz

Groping Toward Perversion: From Queer Methods to Queer States in Recent Queer Criticism

Styles of Sovereignty: Parataxis, Settler–Indigenous Difference, and the Transnationalisms of the Great Basin

The Rise of Behavioral Economic Masculinity

Looking Behind the Screen: Genealogies of Poetic Technology

Who Are We? Feminist Ambivalence in  Contemporary Literary Criticism

The Pleasure of Its Company: Of One Blood and the Potentials of Plagiarism

Economics and American Literary Studies in the New Gilded Age, or Why Study the History of Bad Predictions and Worse Rationalizations?

The Economic Humanities and the History of Financial Advice

Money Mazes, Media Machines, and Banana Republic Realisms

The Cultural Economies of Digital Books

The Limits of Critique and the Affordances of Form: Literary Studies after the Hermeneutics of Suspicion

“We Gotta Get Out of this Place”: Literary Criticism in the Academic Workplace

Illuminating the Anthropocene: Ecopoetic Explorers at the Edge of the Naturecultures Abyss

The Exhaustion of Authenticity: Biopolitical Aural Regimes and American Popular Music

Imagination and Indigenous Sovereignty in the Trumpian Era

The Novel and WikiLeaks: Transparency and the Social Life of Privacy

Queer Sociality After the Antisocial Thesis

Archives of Ecocatastrophe; or, Vulnerable Reading Practices in the Anthropocene

Wily Ecologies: Comic Futures for American Environmentalism

Racialized Bodies and Asian American Literature

The New Reification, or Quotidian Materialism

Remediating the Latin@ Sixties

Maybe for Millions, Maybe for Nobody: Jewish American Writing and the Undecidability of World Literature

Lines and Circles: Transnationalizing American Poetry Studies

Cripping [sic] Consensus: Disability Studies at the Intersection

Essay titles worthy of a satire by Jonathan Swift. For me, they are soporific.

Such essays have little to do, I would suspect, with actual literature — with literature per se, with actual books (fiction, poetry, etc.) by actual writers. The titles, at any rate, are so rarified and abstruse that one can only guess what the articles are about. There is a heavy air of presentism, tendentiousness, and a predilection for social and political topics and isms in vogue on campuses nowadays.

There is Studies in American Naturalism, the journal of The International Theodore Dreiser Society, which publishes a few articles on Dreiser, but is not devoted to Dreiser. The articles tend to be theoretical.

In contrast, take the last issue of the Dreiser Society’s journal to be published before it was discontinued and replaced by Studies in American Naturalism — Dreiser Studies, spring 1987 — and something becomes apparent.. The issue contained essays by prominent Dreiser scholars:

“Double Quotes and Double Meanings in Jennie Gerhardt” by James L. W. West Ill

“Dreiser: Autobiographical Fragment, 1911” by Thomas P. Riggio

“The Revisionist Views of Sarah Schänäb Dreiser” by George H. Douglas

“A Note On Dreiser’s Use of the 1895 Brooklyn Trolley Car Strike” by Michael John McDonough

Such essays would not make it into Studies in American Naturalism. Yet these are titles which would be of immediate interest to Dreiserians, and which I could get my teeth into.

I belong to the Samuel Johnson and George Gissing societies. I doubt that either author is taught that much in English courses here. Yet both societies publish journals developed solely to the author: papers on all aspects of their work, new findings and publications, etc.

 

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I read good literature and am deeply steeped in it. If I get to into an author, I want to read all the works that I can manage to (not just the acknowledged classics) and to learn all I can about the writer. This includes reading criticism to an extent. To illustrate what I mean with specifics, take Walt Whitman. I have read Leaves of Grass many times over, and it is the poetry and the person who interest me above all. I have read several Whitman biographies. And I have not completely neglected critical studies such as C. Carroll Hollis’s brilliant Language and Style in Leaves of Grass, Harold Aspiz’s Whitman and the Body Beautiful and Aspiz’s So Long! Walt Whitman’s Poetry of Death, and the writings of Whitman Scholar Ed Folsom. Or William Blake, whom I took an outstanding course on in college with the late Allen Grossman. It’s the Poetical Sketches, Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and the prophetic books which I immersed myself in. But then a year or two later I read E. D. Hirsch, Jr.’s Innocence and Experience: An Introduction to Blake, a monograph which illuminated so much concerning the composition of Songs of Innocence and Experience.

 

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Not to brag, but I happen to be knowledgeable also about music. My father was a professional pianist, piano teacher, church organist and choir director; and a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in music. I never attained proficiency in music and I can’t, unlike my father, who took a course in composition with the composer Irving Fine in college, did arrangements professionally, and composed an original score on a religious theme for performance by a theater group, read music. Yet my father acknowledged and respected my wide ranging knowledge of music as a listener. In other words, his musical knowledge was that of a professional with musical education, while mine was acquired experientially, so to speak.

Yet I write about classical music. See my essay on Shostakovich (posted here), for example.

 

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To conclude, note the following essays of mine, posted on my Dreiser site (and above):

Two Letters from Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy

Theodore Dreiser in the US Communist Press

Some Thoughts About Dreiser: What a Close Acquaintance With His Life and Works Reveals (This article was based on a presentation by me to the Comparative Literature Department, Institute for Philology and History, Russian State University for the Humanities on March 19, 2001.)

All three were rejected for publication.

“Two Letters from Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy” was submitted to Studies in. American Naturalism “over the transom.” The other two essays were assigned to me. I submitted a proposal in each case that was accepted. The fact that the articles were lengthy was not, a priori, a problem. The editors and I discussed word length. Only after the articles were submitted did the editors decide that the content did not fit their requirements. I had described content and approach fully in the proposals I sent them.

I am grateful that some scholars found my work to be of value. For example, Professor Emeritus Thomas Kranidas wrote me recently, commenting on my essay “Some Thoughts About Dreiser”;

I’ve read your interview with the Russians and am amazed at the sharpness of their questions and —more—with the breadth of your answers. You are now the repository of Dreiser fact. It’s time for you to write a book, on which organizes all this data into a real intellectual biography. You have rediscovered the author and the man.

Enough said. There is a place and a need for writings purely about Dreiser, his works, the circumstances of their composition, relevant details from his own life, his biography, and so forth. They don’t have to be bloodless and “fashionable” with respect to current issues. And by the way, my essays are not only meticulously researched and documented (often drawing upon archival and primary sources), but also consistently well written, with an absence of academic argot.

 

— Roger W. Smith

    November 2021

from Donald Friede, “The Mechanical Angel”

 

Donald Friede, ‘The Mechanical Angel’

 

Posted here are excerpts about Dreiser from:

Donald Friede, The Mechanical Angel (New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1948)

Friede recalls his various experiences as Dreiser’s publisher, the stage production of An American Tragedy, and the trial in Boston in 1929 to suppress An American Tragedy.

Mentioned in the book are T. R. Smith (pg. 22) and George Antheil (pp. 54-55). Smith was editor-in-chief at Boni & Liveright. He was heavily involved in the editing and cutting of An American Tragedy. Antheil was an American avant-garde composer, pianist, and author.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   November 2021

 

no sense of humor

 

We were discussing the necessity for humor in the make-up, and as [one] of the qualities of a great man. In fact we concluded that every great man views his greatness through his sense of humor. Humor in its broadest sense implies humility and great understanding. Dreiser, to Carl’s mind, was without the quality of humor. Eugene O’Neill on the other hand, in spite of his tragedy, had a sense of hu­mor or of the sardonic which gives his work flavor.

— William A. Sutton, Carl Sandburg Remembered (The Scarecrow Press, 1979), pg. 236

— posted by Roger W. Smith

    November 2021

an exchange of emails about Dreiser, “Vanity, Vanity, Saith the Preacher,” and Joseph G. Robin

 

biographical sketch of Joseph G. Robin

Helen Dreiser re Joseph G. Robin

Joseph G. Robin obit – NY Times 4-10-1929

Theodore Dreiser, Introducton to Odin Gregory, ‘Caius Gracchus’

‘Bank Owner Began on a Shoe-String’ – NY Times 12-28-1910

‘Cheney Shuts Northern Bank’ – NY Times 12-28-1910

‘Robin Hiding Here in Jerome’s Custody’ – NY Times 12-29-1910

‘Robin Indicted; Looted Bank Shut’ – NY Times 12-30-1910

‘Robin Place to be Sold’ – NY Times 2-21-1911

‘Robin Trial Begins; Insanity Plea Vain’ – NY Times 2-28-1911

‘Robin Is Writing Book on Bank Deals’ – NY Times 4-5-1911

 

I received the following email last week:

Been enjoying your Dreiser site. Have to confess I didn’t even know the name of Chester Gillette before reading it on your site. I would very much like to see the Von Sternberg movie (An American Tragedy, 1931] after your review. I never made it all the way through A Place in the Sun.

Do you know if there are any extant recordings of Dreiser’s voice? I read that he did some radio interviews but I have not any luck finding them.

I’d also be interested in finding some more material on Joseph G. Robin aka Rabinowitz aka Odin Gregory, the subject of “Vanity, Vanity Sayeth the Preacher” and for whom Dreiser provided the introduction to the play Caius Gracchus.

 

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The following is my reply.

In the Theodore Dreiser papers at the University of Pennsylvania, there is a 33-1/3 LP recording of a 1939 interview with Dreiser. There must be recordings somewhere of radio broadcasts which Dreiser made, such as those he made over the Mutual Broadcasting System and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1940. I have never heard a recording of Dreiser’s voice.

Regarding the financier called X____ in Dreiser’s sketch ”Vanity, Vanity,” Saith the Preacher” (in Dreiser’s Twelve Men), his name, as you note, was Joseph G. Robin. Dreiser met Robin, a banker and financier, in 1908 when the former was an editor at Butterick Publishing Company.

Information about Robin is provided by Robert Coltrane in his essay “The Crafting of Dreiser’s Twelve Men” (Papers on Language & Literature, Spring 1991), in the textual notes to the edition of Twelve Men edited by Coltrane (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), and in Coltrane’s entry ”Vanity, Vanity,” Saith the Preacher” in A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia.

In the conclusion to Vanity, Vanity,” the narrator of the sketch (Dreiser) says that he saw Robin passing on the street in New York in 1918 and that “I have never seen or heard from since.” But. as Coltrane points out, Dreiser “had kept up with Robin’s fortunes” in subsequent years (“J.G. Robin is still around–a failure.” Dreiser to H. L. Mencken, April 8, 1919) and entries in Dreiser’s diary “indicate a continuing relationship [between Dreiser and Robin] at least through 1925.”

Coltrane notes that “Dreiser had to some extent ‘novelized’ Robin in The Financier . … [Dreiser] had already used Robin’s personality some years earlier [prior to writing the sketch for Twelve Men] to create Frank Cowperwood.” Indeed, Robin was very much a Cowperwood-like figure, with his taste for finery and art, among other things.

In My Life with Dreiser, Dreiser’s second wife Helen Dreiser discussed the Robin-Dreiser relationship. See attached PDF.

Dreiser’s introduction to Robin’s play Caius Gracchus: A Tragedy  (Boni & Liveright, 1930), written under the pseudonym Odin Gregory, is posted here.

I have also posted here several New York Times articles about Robin.

 

— Roger W. Smith

   October 25, 2021

post changed

 

 

Theodore Dreiser in the US Communist Press is the title of a new essay of mine posted last week on this site at

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

 

I have a few changes and edits. The revised Word document is posted on the site for downloading.

 

— Roger W. Smith

 

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?

 

“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 under the microscope

 

A bulletin announcing Dreiser sessions at the American Literature Association (ALA) conference held in San Francisco, May 2017:

Papers are invited on theoretical approaches to Dreiser’s canon and life. Some suggested approaches include Poststructuralism, Feminist Gender Theory, Material Culture, Psychoanalysis, and Philosophy (such as Foucault’s Technology of Self). Topics may include Dreiser’s philosophical writings, fiction, plays, essays, autobiographies, and journalism.

Yes, but only if they were viewed through the prism of one of the opaque, recondite, and virtually incomprehensible lines of inquiry dear to academia specified in the second sentence above, almost all of them having nothing to do with Dreiser.

The living, breathing Dreiser and most of his works (unless they can be used to support an academically fashionable theory) are of scant interest to them.

 

— Roger W. Smith

 

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Addendum:

an email to me from Professor Emeritus Arun P. Mukherjee

August 18, 2019

I admire you for sustaining your research and a passion for reading and writing outside the university. This morning, before I read your attached letter, I looked at your Dreiser blog and your responses to Alfred Kazin’s “Introductions.” I loved reading them. I fully agree with you that Studies in American Naturalism is no replacement for Dreiser studies.

I find the way literature is taught in the university under the rubrics of romanticism, naturalism, modernism, postmodernism etc. so deadly. To give you an example from my personal experience, the writers I teach are labeled postcolonial by the academic categorizers. So. I would be often asked by my students as to tell them the “postcolonial aspects of the book.” So, they are not reading the book for the portrayal of the human life in the book, but for an “ism.” It defeats the whole purpose of reading literature.

The majority of academic papers are unreadable and I am thankful that I no longer have to bother reading them.

Theodore Dreiser and the Titanic

 

“Theodore Dreiser, Nearly a Passenger, on the Sinking of the Titanic”

By Nina Martyris

Slate

April 13, 2012

 

Money was Theodore Dreiser’s muse—the dazzling, deforming pivot on which his novels about fallen women and venal businessmen turned. It seems almost karmic, then, that a lack of money saved him from boarding the Titanic.

The great novelist was among a handful of prominent persons—including Guglielmo Marconi, Milton Hershey, J. P. Morgan, and Alfred Vanderbilt—who almost sailed on the allegedly sink-proof ship. As with the 9/11 attacks nearly nine decades later, there has been a persistent public fascination with those who just missed becoming a casualty of that massive catastrophe. What distinguishes Dreiser, who was crossing the ocean on another boat when news about the Titanic spread, is that he wrote about it, capturing the mood in the days immediately following among travelers who avoided the fate of those aboard that famous ship.

Homesick and nearly broke, Dreiser had just spent four months rambling through Europe to write travel pieces. research his novel The Financier, and collect material for his memoir, 1913’s A Traveler at Forty. One of the most gripping chapters in the memoir as it was originally published—the bits about his trysts with Rubenesque prostitutes were not then included—is “The Voyage Home,” an account of being out at sea and receiving the news that the “smart boat” had gone down.

Dreiser was born poor, and chafed all his life against the “Indiana peasant” label H. L. Mencken cruelly but astutely pinned on him. Ever the outsider looking in, he was anxious to book a berth on the big, new boat filled with all kinds of perfumed pond-crossers. But his English publisher pressed him to take the cheaper Kroonland, and Dreiser sailed from Dover 100 years ago today, on April 13, two days before the Titanic sank.

One night when the Kroonland’s fog horn was “mooing like a vast Brobdingnagian sea-cow,” as Dreiser put it, word came over the wireless that the Titanic had hit an iceberg off Newfoundland, and gone down “with nearly all on board.” Terrified of how those on board would react to the news, the captain ordered that the disaster be kept secret until the ship reached New York. But one Herr Salz, “busy about everything and everybody,” wormed it out of the wireless man by bribing him with cigars. Dreiser and a debonair party were happily engaged in the card room when the German burst in, full of self-importance, and asked the men to step out. One of them joked that perhaps “Taft had been killed or the Standard Oil Company has failed.” Pale and trembling, Salz shared his horrible secret. Don’t tell the ladies, he made them solemnly promise, with the arch concern of a good sensationalist.

“And with one accord we went to the rail and looked out into the blackness ahead,” Dreiser writes grimly.

The terror of the sea had come swiftly and directly home to all. I am satisfied that there was not a man of all the company who heard but felt a strange sinking sensation as he thought of the endless wastes of the sea outside—its depths, the terror of drowning in the dark and cold. To think of a ship as immense as the Titanic, new and bright, sinking in endless fathoms of water. And the two thousand passengers routed like rats from their berths only to float helplessly in miles of water, praying and crying!

For a romantic determinist like Dreiser, the Titanic’s mortality offered a spectacular philosophical vindication—while nonetheless filling him with despair and loathing. That night, as the Kroonland was lashed by waves and “trembled like a spent animal,” Dreiser lay on his berth and felt “a great rage in my heart against the fortuity of life—the dullness or greed of man that prevents him from coping with it.”

The Kroonland still had a week to go before reaching New York, and in that week, the oppressive ghost of the Titanic gradually loosened its hold. The passengers “fell to gambling again, to flirting, to playing shuffle board.” As the ship sailed into the harbor, the warm fellowship kindled by the iceberg melted away. An amused Dreiser noted how a judge who had unbent to play cards with a mere commercial merchant began “to congeal again into his native judicial dignity,” and several young women who had been quite friendly “suddenly became remote.”

The perils of the sea behind them, the passengers were now preoccupied with skirting a new set of icebergs—sharp-eyed customs officers—leading Dreiser to lament, “They were all as honest as they had to be—as dishonest as they dared to be. No more. Poor pretending humanity! We all lie so.”

Dreiser’s standing is not what it once was. Seventy years ago he was ranked alongside Edith Wharton and Willa Cather by critics as one of America’s greatest novelists; while they have become firmly lodged in the literary canon, Dreiser’s reputation and popularity seems to be slipping. Which is unfortunate: Few writers analyzed the power of money in America as keenly as he did. (The last time Ian McEwan spoke with his friend Christopher Hitchens, Hitchens talked about whether Dreiser’s novels were “a guide to the current crisis.”) Spared by fate a berth on the Titanic, Dreiser published his greatest novel, An American Tragedy,  13 years later, in 1925. We are lucky he was around to write it—and foolish if we ignore that good fortune.

 

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‘A Traveler at Forty’ – excerpts

 

I have posted here (Word document above) excerpts from Chapters CI, CII, and CIII of the unexpurgated edition of A Traveler at Forty:

Theodore Dreiser

A Traveler at Forty

edited By Renate von Bardeleben

University of Illinois Press, 2004

 

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Note that Nina Martyris writes:

“Dreiser was born poor, and chafed all his life against the ‘Indiana peasant’ label H. L. Mencken cruelly but astutely pinned on him. Ever the outsider looking in, he was anxious to book a berth on the big, new boat filled with all kinds of perfumed pond-crossers. But his English publisher pressed him to take the cheaper Kroonland. …

I wonder if this is entirely accurate. In A Traveler at Forty, Dreiser wrote:

“[The Titanic) had sailed only three days before, and Grant Richards had assured me that he had intended booking me on that as a novelty, it being the maiden trip of that ship, only we could not make it in time. He wanted me to stay longer.”

An editorial note: The passages in which Dreiser describes the sea as perceived by passengers aboard ship are very powerful, and show his considerable skills (often maligned, but evident here) as a writer.

I wish to thank Isaac Chase for calling my attention to Nina Martyris’s fascinating article.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  August 2021