Theodore Dreiser Books

Theodore Dreiser was an American novelist and poet who was as well known for his political leanings as he was for his literary works.

Order of Trilogy of Desire Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Financier 1912 Description / Buy
2 The Titan 1914 Description / Buy
3 The Stoic 1947 Description / Buy

Order of Theodore Dreiser Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 Sister Carrie 1900 Description / Buy
2 Jennie Gerhardt 1911 Description / Buy
3 The Genius 1915 Description / Buy
4 Short Stories (Short Story) 1918 Description / Buy
5 An American Tragedy 1925 Description / Buy
6 The Bulwark 1946 Description / Buy
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Born in 1871 in Indiana, Theodore was just one of thirteen children that John Paul Dreiser and Sara Maria raised. The author’s personal life was quite tumultuous. He married Sara Osborne White in 1893.

However, their relationship was frequently buffeted by Theodore’s wandering eye. Sara eventually left the poet when his obsession with a friend’s teenage daughter manifested.

Theodore had better luck with Helen Patges, a cousin he met in 1919 after his relationship with Kyra Markham, an actress, and painter came to an end. Helen wasn’t blind to Theodore’s promiscuous ways.

And despite his insatiable appetites, she still married him in 1944, just one year before the author passed away. On the professional front, Theodore Dreiser’s career officially took off in 1925.

As a writer, Theodore spent several years dabbling in journalism. He wrote articles on authors like John Burroughs and William Dean Howells, not to mention notable public figures like Thomas Edison.

Though, none of his interviews made much of a splash. Sister Carrie, Theodore’s first novel was equally unimpressive, at least as far as the reception was concerned. The story the novel told followed a young woman who used her sexual allure to achieve the fame and fortune she so dearly craved.

While Sister Carrie eventually garnered a cult following, with quite a few critics calling it one of the greatest American Urban Novels of all time, the book was panned by readers when it first hit the bookshelves because of the morally questionable attitudes of its heroine.

Nigger Jeff, the short story Theodore produced after Sister Carrie, was inspired by a lynching that he witnessed. It wasn’t quite as incendiary as the novelist’s other works.

An American Tragedy, published in 1925, was the author’s first commercially successful literary project. Theodore used the novel to reveal the wanton greed in the US that was driving young people to pursue financial and social ambition regardless of the cost they had to pay and the people they had to sacrifice.

The novel’s success was partly driven by the Chester Gillette/Grace Brown murder of 1906 whose details Theodore used to tell his story. As with his previous works, though, critics took offense with the author’s morally reprehensible characters.

If all the passionate but negative responses to his work intimidated Theodore Dreiser, he never showed it. If anything, each novel and short story the author published was always designed to push the envelope, to reveal the seedy underbelly of life in America in all its uncensored violent and sexual glory.

Theodore wasn’t afraid to challenge the authoritative figures in his circle who frequently sought to censor his work. The novelist took pride in the fact that the words he put on paper kept upsetting the acceptable standards that society had set.

Theodore Dreiser Awards

Theodore Dreiser received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit in 1944. He received a Nobel Prize Nomination in 1930 but he lost to Sinclair Lewis.

Best Theodore Dreiser Books

Theodore has been praised for challenging the status quo of his era and forcing his readers to confront the ills of their society, with some of the best books in his bibliography including:

Sister Carrie: Theodore Dreiser’s first novel unravels the tale of Carrie Meeber, a simple country girl who left home at the tender age of 18 to hunt for fame and fortune. She initially sought fortune as a mistress who fought to please the men she encountered because she thought they were superior.

But over time, she made her way into the theater circuit and rose to stardom.

An American Tragedy: Clyde did not have it all. He was handsome and ambitious but he was also quite poor and ill-educated. His parents were passionate about their religion and they hoped that Clyde would eventually join their street missionary work.

For a time, Clyde did what little he could to support his family. But eventually, the pleasures of alcohol and sex with prostitutes drew him away. Clyde did not know it yet, but his decision to abandon his parents to their destitution was about to introduce him to the harsh realities of the American Dream.

When Does The Next Theodore Dreiser book come out?

Theodore Dreiser doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is The Financier and was released on August, 19th 2017. It is the newest book in the Trilogy of Desire Series.

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