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Biography Theodore Dreiser - Реферат

power and bite of the book have been lostin the polite competence of the screen. These are such nice, such obviously successful people, they must be playing characters... there doesn't seem much use in dragging Dreiser's classic off the shelf just to dress it in this elegant, ambivalent production..." The book made Dreiser the champion of social reformers, but his later works did not attain similar notice.
An American Tragedy tells the story of a bellboy, Clyde Griffiths, indecisive like Hamlet, who sets out to gain success and fame. After an automobile accident, Clyde is employed by a distant relative, owner of a collar factory. He seduces Roberta Alden, an employee at the factory, but falls in love with Sondra Finchley, a girl of the local aristocracy. Roberta, now pregnant, demands that Clyde marry her. He takes Roberta rowing on an isolated lake and in this dreamlike sequence 'accidentally' murders her. Clyde's trial, conviction, and execution occupy the remainder of the book. Dreiser points out that materialistic society is as much to blame as the murderer himself. Dreiser based his study on the actual case of Chester Gillette, who murdered Grace Brown - he hit her with a tennis racket and pushed her overboard at Big Moose Lake in the Adirondack in July 1906. An American Tragedy was banned in Boston in 1927.
Much of Dreiser's works evolved from his own experiences of poverty. Among his rare excursions into the realm of fantasy is the ghost story 'The Hand' (1920). It is a tale of murder and the haunting of the killer, but again behind the nightmare of the protagonist are the familiar themes of Dreiser's novels - fear of losing ones social position, feelings of moral guilt arising during the unrestrained struggle for success.
"People did live, then, after they were dead, especially evil people - people stronger than you, perhaps. They had the power to come back, to haunt, to annoy you if they didn't like anything you had done to them." (from 'The Hand')
In 1919 Sherwood Anderson wrote about Dreiser: "... he is very, very old. I do not know how many years he has lived, perhaps forty, perhaps fifty, but he is very old. Something grey and bleak and hurtful, that has been in the world perhaps forever, is personified in him." After his wife's death in 1942, Dreiser married his cousin Helen Richardson, who had been his companion from 1919. Dreiser died in Hollywood, California, on December 28, 1945. In the last months of his life, Dreiser joined the Communist Party. In the 1920's Dreiser had travelled in Russia and depicted his experiences in DREISER LOOKS AT RUSSIA (1928). During the reign of J. Edgar Hoover, Dreiser was considered a security risk and the F.B.I. had a dossier on him. Like many intellectuals in the 1930s (Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Andr? Malraux, C. Day Lewis etc.), Dreiser had travelled to Spain during the civil war in support of the socialist government. Only a small number of writers supported Franco - George Santayana and Ezra Pound were the most famous. "He had an enormous influence on American literature during the first quarter of the century - and for a time he was American literature, the only writer worth talking about in the same breath with the European masters. Out of his passions, contradictions, and sufferings, he wrenched the art that was his salvation from the hungers and depressions that racked him. It was no wonder that he elevated the creative principle to a godhead and encouraged by word and example truthful expression in others." (from Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey 1908-1945 by Richard Lingeman, 1991)
For further reading: Theodore Dreiser by B. Rascoe (1926); Forgotten Frontiers: Dreiser and the Land of the Free by D. Dudley (1933); Theodore Dreiser: Apostle of Nature by R.H. Elias (1949); Theodore Dreiser by F.O. Matthiessen (1951); The Stature of Theodore Dreiser, ed. by C. Shapiro and A. Kazin (1955); Theodore Dreiser by P.L. Gerber (1964); Dreiser by W.A. Swanberg (1965); Theodore Dreiser by M. Thader (1965); Theodore Dreiser: His World and His Novels by R. Lehan (1969); Homage to Theodore Dreiser by R.P. Warren (1971); Theodore Dreiser by J. Lundquist (1974); Theodore Dreiser: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography by D. Pizer (1975); The Novels of Theodore Dreiser by D. Pizer (1977); Theodore Dreiser: At the Gates of the City, 1871-1907 by Richard Lingeman (1986); The Gospel of Wealth in the American Novel by Arun Mukherjee (1987); After Eden by Conrad Eugene Ostwalt (1990); Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey 1908-1945 by Richard Lingeman (1991); Dearest Wilding by Yvette Eastmaned, ed. by Thomas P. Riggio (1995); Love That Will Not Let Me Go, ed. by Marguerite Tjader (1998); An American Tragedy by Paul A. Orlov (1998); Dreiser and Veblen Saboteurs of the Status Quo by Clare Virginia Eby (1999); Reading the Sympton by Mohamed Zanyani (1999) - See also: H.L. Mencken
Selected works:
SISTER CARRIE, 1900 - film 1952, dir. by William Wyler, starring Laurence Olivier, Jennifer Jones. "A famous satirical novel is softened into an unwieldy narrative with scarcely enough dramatic power to sustain interest despite splendid production values. Heavy pre-release cuts remain obvious, and the general effect is depressing; but it it very good to look at." (Halliwell's Film Guide, 1987)
JENNIE GERHARDT, 1911 - suom. - film 1933, dir. by Marion Gering, starring Sylvia Sidney, Donald Cook, Mary Astor
THE FINANCIER, 1912
THE TITAN, 1914
THE "GENIUS", 1915
A HOSIER HOLIDAY, 1916
PLAYS OF THE NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL, 1916
FREE AND OTHER STORIES, 1918
THE HAND OF THE POTTER, 1918
TWELVE MEN, 1919
HEY-RUB-A-DUB-DUB, 1920
A BOOK ABOUT MYSELF, 1922
THE COLOUR OF A GREAT CITY, 1923
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, 1925 - Amerikkalainen murhen?ytelm? - film in 1931, directed by Josef von Sternberg, starring Phillips Holmes and Sylvi Sidney. "It is the first time, I believe, that the subjects of sex, birth control and murder have been put into a picture with sense, taste and reality." (Pare Lorentz) - A Place in the Sun, 1951, dir. by George Stevens, starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor
MOODS, CADENCED AND DECLAIMED, 1926
CHAINS, 1927
DREISER LOOKS AT RUSSIA, 1928
A GALLERY OF WOMEN, 1929
EPITAPH, 1929
MY CITY, 1929
TRAGIC AMERICA, 1931
DAWN, 1931
LIVING THOUGHTS OF THOREAU, 1939
AMERICA IS WORTH SAVING, 1941
THE BULWARK, 1946
THE STOIC, 1947
THE BEST SHORT STORIES, 1947
LETTERS OF THEODORE DREISER, 1959
NOTES ON LIFE, 1974
AN AMATEUR LABORER, 1983 (edited and introduced by Richard W. Dowell, with James L. W. West and Neda M. Westlake)
DREISER'S RUSSIAN DIARY, 1996
THE COLLECTED PLAYS OF THEODORE DREISER, 2000 (includes one previously unpublished play, The Voice)
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