Tag Archives: Theodore Dreiser The Bulwark

H. L. Mencken on Dreiser

 

 

The following comment on Theodore Dreiser first appeared in the journal Menckeniana (Summer 1971) among selections from previously unpublished Mencken material.

Dreiser, like Goethe, was more interesting than any of his books. He was typical, in more ways than one, of a whole generation of Americans–a generation writhing in an era of advancing chaos. There must have been some good blood hidden in him, but on the surface he was simply an immigrant peasant bewildered by the lack of neat moral syllogisms in civilized existence. He renounced his ancestral religion at the end of his teens, but never managed to get rid of it. Throughout his life it welled up in him in the form of various fantastic superstitions–spiritualism, Fortism, medical quackery, and so on–and in his last days it engulfed him in the form of Communism, a sort of reductio ad absurdum of the will to believe. If he had lived another’ ten years, maybe even another five years, he would have gone back to Holy Church–the path followed before him by many other such poor fish, for example, Heywood Broun. His last book was a full-length portrait of a true believer, and extremely sympathetic. Solon Barnes, like Dreiser himself, was flabbergasted by the apparent lack of common sense and common decency in the cosmos, but in the end he yielded himself gratefully to the God who had so sorely afflicted him.

 

— H. L. Mencken

Michael Lydon publishes “On Reading Theodore Dreiser’s The Bulwark” and “Theodore Dreiser, Anna Tatum, & The Bulwark: The Making of a Masterpiece”

 

 

 

Dreiser enthusiast and scholar Michael Lydon is the author of two new books on Dreiser that have not had wide distribution, but which are well worth reading:

 

On Reading Theodore Dreiser’s The Bulwark

Patrick Press, 2011

 

 

Theodore Dreiser, Anna Tatum, & The Bulwark: The Making of a Masterpiece

Franklin Street Press, 2017

 

 

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On Reading Theodore Dreiser’s The Bulwark is essentially an appréciation of Dreiser’s final novel.

 

Theodore Dreiser, Anna Tatum, and The Bulwark: The Making of a Masterpiece explores new aspects behind the composition of Dreiser’s final novel, which Dreiser worked on for years before it was finally published posthumously. Key findings of Lydon include material on Anna Tatum and her family, providing for a deeper understanding of the Quaker sources underlying the novel.

Anna Tatum was a brilliant young woman from a Quaker family in New Jersey who was one of Dreiser’s many mistresses. She told Dreiser stories about growing up in a Quaker home and community, and these inspired him to write The Bulwark. Lydon’s book length essay combines a sensitive analysis of the novel’s literary excellence and a narrative of the tangled story of Dreiser’s and Tatum’s on again, off again affair. Using newly discovered source material, it delves into how Tatum’s Quaker roots influenced the creation of The Bulwark.

 

 

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The books are available for purchase by going to the publisher’s website

 

franklinstpress.com

 

and scrolling down through the “bookstore” link (at bottom of page) and, then, scrolling through the “bookstore” (hit “next page” to the desired books on Dreiser). Use “Add to Cart” button to purchase.

Payment is by PayPal. Buyers not using PayPal can click on the “contact” button at the top of the page and purchase the book by phone or mail, enclosing a check.

 

 

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See also:

 

Michael Lydon, “Justice to Theodore Dreiser”

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/michael-lydon-justice-to-theodore-dreiser/

Granville Hicks, “Theodore Dreiser”

 

granville-hicks-theodore-dreiser-the-american-mercury-6-1-1946

 

Posted above in downloadable PDF format is a review essay on Theodore Dreiser’s last novel, the posthumously published The Bulwark, by critic Granville Hicks (1901-1982):

Granville Hicks, “Theodore Dreiser,” The American Mercury, vol. 62 (June 1, 1946), pp. 751-756

Hicks’s review-essay goes deeper than the typical review.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     November 2016

 

 

 

Edmund Wilson, “Theodore Dreiser’s Quaker and Graham Greene’s Priest”

edmund-wilson-theodore-dreisers-quaker-and-graham-greenes-preist

 

Posted above as a downloadable PDF file is a review by Edmund Wilson of Theodore Dreiser’s final novel, The Bulwark, and Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory:

 

Edmund Wilson, “Theodore Dreiser’s Quaker and Graham Greene’s Priest,” The New Yorker, XXII, no. 6 (March 23, 1946), pp. 88, 91, 92, 94.

Michael Lydon, “Justice to Theodore Dreiser”

 

 

Michael Lydon, “Justice to Theodore Dreiser”

The Atlantic, August 1993

Posted courtesy of Michael Lydon (see downloadable PDF file below)

Michael Lydon is the author of On Reading Theodore Dreiser’s The Bulwark (Patrick Press, 2011) and Theodore Dreiser, Anna Tatum, & The Bulwark: The Making of a Masterpiece (Franklin Street Press, 2017)

 

 

Lydon, ‘Justice to Theodore Dreiser’