Book #3 in Theodore Dreiser’s Trilogy of Desire
Theodore Dreiser’s absorbing Trilogy of Desire weaves a tale of twentieth-century American capitalism through the rise and fall of aspiring mogul, Frank Cowperwood.
Caught at a financial impasse and in an increasingly-complicated love triangle, Frank heads across the sea to London, England for a chance to develop a new underground railway system. Though still married to his estranged wife, Aileen, he has found a new paramour in Berenice—among others.
Doing what he does best, Frank puts his plans in motion to conquer London’s transportation market guaranteeing the lion’s share of the profits for himself. However, as his age begins to catch up with him, an illness makes it clear these are the last years of his life. In his final chapter, Frank must negotiate personal and financial challenges to make his lasting mark on the world.
The Indiana-born Dreiser (1871-1945) has never cut a dashing or romantic swath through American literature. He has no Pulitzer or Nobel Prize to signify his importance. Yet he remains for myriad reasons: his novels are often larger than life, rugged, and defy the norms of conventional morality and organized religion. They are unapologetic in their sexual candor--in fact, outrightly frank--and challenge even modern readers. The brooding force of Dreiser’s writing casts a dark shadow across American letters. Here in An American Tragedy, Dreiser shows us the flip side of The American Dream in a gathering storm that echoes with all of the power and force of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Inspired by the writings of Balzac and the ideas of Spenser and Freud, Dreiser went on to become one of America’s best naturalist writers. An American Tragedy is testimony to the strength of Dreiser’s work: it retains all of its original intensity and force.
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