Theodore Dreiser

Theodore Dreiser by George H. Rothacker - acrylic on canvas -  24" x 24" - Original painting $2400, prints @$90 each plus tax and shipping (Prints are an edition of 50, signed, titled and numbered with an image area of 13"x 13").
Theodore Dreiser was born in 1871 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Following high school, he attended Indiana University, from which he dropped out within a year, and forged his way to life as a journalist. He found a job at the Boston Globe, and then at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, from which he wrote articles on many public figures including Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison and Nathaniel  Hawthorne.

Dreiser's first published book was Sister Carrie (1900), about a young woman who flees rural life for the city (Chicago) and struggles with poverty, complex relationships with men, and prostitution. The book sold poorly, and it was not until 1925 that he found commercial success with An American Tragedy a novel about a young man of humble beginnings who forges a life beneath what he hopes to have, and takes up with a young woman of wealth, and then finds that his former girl friend is pregnant. Though he is with her when she drowns in a canoe accident, he is not responsible for his death, but he also did not try as hard as he might to save the pregnant girl, and he was convicted of murder.

I was 21 when I read the novel and affected me greatly since I came from humble beginnings and wanted more out of life than I could have at that time. The ending of the book, and the movie A Place in the Sun, troubled me greatly, and stays with me to today.

Overall, I read three of Dreiser's novels in my early 20s. The Genius was modeled on the life and career of the artist John Sloan, with the protagonist an illustrator who longed for a career as a fine artist. I think I'm still dealing with that book.

Theodore Dreiser

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