By Keith Newlin
For a century, Theodore Dreiser has represented for lots of readers a rebellious modernism whose novels either critiqued the yank dream and embodied a bleakly deterministic notion of existence. This reference is an authoritative consultant to his existence and works. integrated are numerous hundred entries on every one of Dreiser's books and brief tales, in addition to journal and newspaper items he amassed in the course of his existence.
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Extra resources for A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia
In an insight long established by Dreiser scholarship, the novel turns upon a "worlds-within-worlds" theme in which a reader sees a kind of ratio of differing desires, as Roberta is to Clyde as Clyde is to Sondra, for in each relationship, crucially, one partner is or seems to be the socially and materially superior one, while the other aspires to the world of, and is led by desire for, that elevated person promising such a successful attainment of happiness. Even as he openly ignores and seeks to shun her, Roberta continues, in her own "American tragedy" story, to admire and yearn for Clyde.
Such an outlook particularly and powerfully informs the story in Books 2 and 3. For example, once Clyde has settled (under a pseudonym) into work in Chicago, he has a chance reunion with a bellhop friend from his Kansas City days who fatefully enables him to gain a position at the prestigious Union League Club, where he chances to encounter his very rich uncle Samuel Griffiths, whom he had long hoped to meet and to find favor with. Then the chance circumstance of Clyde's great resemblance to this rich manufacturer's own son, Gilbert Griffiths, along with some aspects of Samuel's nature and family history, lead him to invite his nephew to Lycurgus, New York.
Reviewers commented on Lippa's success in conveying Dreiser's characters, though they also pointed out the inevitable updating necessary for contemporary audiences: whereas in the novel Carrie's passivity dominates, in the play she is more sexually aware, more vocal in opinions, and more self-aware. On 9 January 2002 the Indiana Repertory Theater (IRT) debuted a new adaptation of Sister Carrie in Indianapolis under the direction of Janet Allen, with Emma Bowers as Carrie, Rob Breckenridge as Drouet, and Craig Spidle as Hurstwood.