"A Strangely Strong Novel
in a Queer Milieu"
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Pennsylvania
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1911
Although Dreiser began Jennie Gerhardt in January of 1901, it took the remainder of the decade for him to complete it: difficulties over the publication of Sister Carrie had brought on a nervous breakdown. The novel concerns the aftermath of a woman who has transgressed sexually and attempts to convey the notion that such a "sin" need not engender moral condemnation. Because the novel ends tragically, moral critics were not as quick to condemn the plot as was the case with Sister Carrie.
Publicity still from the movie Jennie Gerhardt
Dreiser was pleased with Paramount's 1933 screen adaptation of his 1911 work Jennie Gerhardt, which starred Sylvia Sidney as Jennie and Donald Cook as her lover, Lester Kane. After viewing the film, Dreiser wired Paramount executive B. P. Schulberg: "Jennie moving improvisation upon my theme excellently cast beautifully interpreted."
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