Tag Archives: Roger Smith

Сергей Динамов, “Теодор Драйзер и революция” (Sergei Dinamov, Theodore Dreiser and Revolution)

 

FINAL, RUSSIAN Dinamov – Preface to A Gallery of Women

FINAL, ENGLISH Dinamov – Peface to A Gallery of Women

 

Posted here as Word documents are the original Russian article:

Теодор Драйзер и революция

Предисловие к Теодору Драйзеру: Собрание сочинений, том 8

Москва; Ленинград, 1933 г.

and an English translation by Roger W. Smith:

Theodore Dreiser and Revolution

Preface to Theodore Dreiser: Collected Works, Volume 8

By Sergei Dinamov

Moscow; Leningrad, 1933

Sergei Dinamov was a Russian critic.

See also a copy of the original article below.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

September 2022

 

Dinamov, ‘Theodore Dreiser and Revolution’ ORIGINAL

“Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisan”

 

‘Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisian’ – St. Louis Post-Disptach’ 1-26-1902 (2)

 

Posted here (PDF file above) is an early interview with Dreiser:

“Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisan”

St. Louis Post–Dispatch

January 26, 1902, pg. 4

This interview has already been published in Theodore Dreiser: Interviews, edited by Frederic E. Rusch and Donald Pizer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2022

a Dreiser parody

 

Ted Robinson, Jack and Jill parody – Ithaca Journal-News 4-25-1921 pg 4

 

This parody of Dreiser by Ted Robinson appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (date unknown) and was reprinted in the Ithaca Journal-News of April 25, 1921.  It was one of several parodies of Jack and Jill as told by various writers.

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  September 2022

an early notice of Dreiser

 

‘The Literary Outlook’ – Los Angeles Times 8-12-1898

 

Posted here, an early, interesting notice of Dreiser:

“The Literary Outlook”

by E. C. Martin

The Los Angeles Times, August 12, 1898, pg. 7

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2022

Harry Rosecrans Burke, Dreiser in St. Louis

 

‘Dreiser and the Riddle of the Sphinx’

 

Posted here (PDF file above):

“Dreiser and the Riddle of the Sphinx”

From the Day’s Journey: A Book of By-Paths and Eddies About St. Louis

By Harry Rosecrans Burke

Saint Louis: The W. H. Miner Co., Inc., 1924

pp. 165-171

 

In this chapter, there is a rare recounting of Dreiser during his days as a reporter in St. Louis.

Dreiser lived in St. Louis from 1892 to 1894, during which time he was employed as a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the St. Louis Republic.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   August 2022

Grace Brown’s and Roberta Alden’s letters

 

letters of Grace Brown and Roberta Alden

 

Please see downloadable Word file posted above.

Roberta Alden and Clyde Griffiths were the two main characters in Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.

An American Tragedy was based on an actual case: the murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette in 1906.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   June 2022

 

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Note: I transcribed Grace Brown’s letters from court records. They were presented as exhibits at the trial of Chester Gillette.

I would appreciate being informed of any errors I may have made in transcribing the letters.

“Memories of Dreiser” (Vera Dreiser’s)

 

Paul Vandervoort, ‘Memories of Dreiser’ – Indianapolis Star 10-2-1976

 

Posted here (PDF above):

“Memories of Dreiser”

By Paul Vandervoort

The Indianapolis Star

October 2, 1976

The article focuses on recollections of Dreiser’s niece Vera Dreiser, who had just published a book on Dreiser, My Uncle Theodore.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  July 2022

review of Adirondack Tragedy: The Gillette Murder Case of 1906 and Murder in the Adirondacks: An American Tragedy Revisited

 

review of Brownell and Wawrzaszek, ‘Adirondack Tragedy’ – New York History

 

Posted here (PDF above) is an excellent review of two books on the Gillette murder case:

Adirondack Tragedy; The Gillette Murder Case of 1906, by Joseph W. Brownell and Patricia A. Wawrzaszek

Murder in the Adirondacks: An American Tragedy Revisited, by Craig Brandon

reviewed by Katherine E. Compagni

New York History, vol. 68, No. 1 (January 1987), pp. 117-122

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

a faux philosopher

 

I have no theories about life, or the solution of economic and political problems. Life, as I see it, is an organized process about which we can do nothing in the final analysis. Of course, science, art, commercial progress, all go to alleviate and improve and ease the material existence of humanity, and that for the great mass, is something. But there is no plan, as I believe, from Christianity down, that can be more than a theory. And dealing with man is a practical thing—not a theoretical one. Nothing can alter his emotions, his primitive and animal reactions to life. Greed, selfishness, vanity, hate, passion, love, are all inherent in the least of us, and until such are eradicated, there can be no Utopia. Each new generation, new century brings new customs, new ideas, new theories, but misery, weakness, incapacities, poverty, side by side with happiness, strength, power, wealth, always have, and no doubt, always will exist. And until that intelligence which runs this show sees fit to remould the nature of man, I think it always will be the survival of the fittest, whether in the monarchies of England, the democracies of America, or the Soviets of Russia.

— Dreiser to Sergei Dinamov, Letters of Theodore Dreiser: A Selection, Volume Two, edited by Robert H. Elias (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1959), pg. 449-450

 

This is “vintage” Dreiser qua philosopher. This is “vintage” Dreiser qua philosopher. Prolix, “muddy,” pompous, pseudo profound.

But at least expressing core beliefs that made him a bona fide naturalist. Grounded in Herbert Spencer’s (a great influence on Dreiser) adapting and popularizing of Darwin. “Survival of the fittest” was Spencer’s term..

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   July 2022

a “wretched loser?”

 

The following is an excerpt from a new blog post:

The Sunny Side of American Life

Why our greatest writers found their inspiration in misery and failure

by David Mikics

Tablet

June 8, 2022

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/sunny-side-american-life

“When Dreiser first came to New York in 1894, in the midst of an economic crash, he was struck by the “hugeness and force and heartlessness of the great city.” New York was “gross and cruel,” he noted. Dreiser slept in flophouses, a wretched loser like Hurstwood in Sister Carrie, the scandalous first novel he published a few years later. Like Crane and Norris, Dreiser never lost the sense that life is ruthless.”

 

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This is misleading and in fact inaccurate.

Dreiser visited New York City and siblings living there in the summer of 1894. He returned to the City for good in late 1894 and had some difficulty getting newspaper work. But he got his footing rather quickly and was hired in the spring of 1895 as a magazine editor. His first editing job, for the magazine Ev’ry Month, lasted for about two years. He then had a brief but quite successful career as a freelance writer for magazines. Dreiser was married in December 1898 and seemed destined to live a comfortable middle class life.

Dreiser began writing Sister Carrie in the fall of 1899. He was not down or out or homeless. He and his wife were living in an Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan. Sister Carrie was published in 1900 by Doubleday, Page & Co. The events on which the novel is based occurred in the mid-1880s.

Dreiser then began a second novel, eventually published as Jennie Gerhardt. Troubled by financial worries and his inability to work on Jennie Gerhardt (he got stalled after a few chapters), Dreiser became depressed and began a period of restless wandering. He and his wife Jug (a nickname) gave up their Manhattan apartment and for the most part were living separately. This period of despair and impoverishment was recounted by Dreiser in his posthumously published account An Amateur Laborer.

This Hurstwood-like state came after Sister Carrie was written and published, and the misery and despair which Dreiser experienced then were short lived. In August 1904, Dreiser was hired by the publishing firm Street and Smith, and this led to several lucrative editorial posts in which he continued to work for several years before leaving voluntarily and returning to fiction.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  June 2022