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Sister Carrie
"A Strangely Strong Novel
in a Queer Milieu"
Curated by Nancy M. Shawcross
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Pennsylvania

Theodore Dreiser ** Ex Libris

Franklin Booth
Bookplate for Theodore Dreiser

Booth and Dreiser first met when the former had done illustrations for the Daily News Sunday supplement on which the latter worked. It was Booth who suggested to Dreiser in 1915 that Dreiser accompany him on an automobile trip to Indiana, where Booth maintained a studio (in addition to his atelier in New York) in his hometown of Carmel. Dreiser agreed and proposed that the two collaborate on a book. In 1916 it was published as A Hoosier Holiday with text by Dreiser and illustrations by Booth.

Theodore Dreiser was a prolific writer and published extensively. Beyond his years of newspaper and magazine articles and in addition to his novels, he published books of autobiography, poetry, plays, and essays. In his lifetime he saw through to publication six novels, including Sister Carrie; two novels, The Bulwark and The Stoic, were published posthumously, within two years of his death.

In his critical study, The Novels of Theodore Dreiser, Donald Pizer writes:

Throughout his career as a novelist Dreiser was to rely on . . . formulas [derived from sentimental or hackneyed narrative patterns], particularly those of the seduced country girl in Sister Carrie and Jennie Gerhardt and the Horatio Alger myth of success in the Cowperwood trilogy, The "Genius," and An American Tragedy. In most instances, he both used the myth and reversed some of its traditional assumptions. Carrie "rises" not only despite her seduction but also because of it, and Clyde finds neither luck not pluck in his attempt to succeed. Like many major American novelists, Dreiser used the mythic center of American life as a base from which to remold myth into patterns more closely resembling experience as he knew it.







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