Sister Carrie

ISBN-10: 0393927733
ISBN-13: 9780393927733
Edition: 3rd 2006
List price: $12.50 Buy it from $11.74
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Description: The text of the Third Edition is based on the 1900 Doubleday Page edition, with detailed annotations that reveal the author's use of real people and places in Chicago and New York. The novel is followed by "A Note on the Text," which discusses the  More...

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Book details

List price: $12.50
Edition: 3rd
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 1/5/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 622
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.50" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.430

The text of the Third Edition is based on the 1900 Doubleday Page edition, with detailed annotations that reveal the author's use of real people and places in Chicago and New York. The novel is followed by "A Note on the Text," which discusses the relationship between this edition's text and that of the Pennsylvania Edition (1981), and a "Textual Appendix," which provides a generous sampling of the cuts Dreiser and his friend Arthur Henry made in the typescript version of Sister Carrie. "Backgrounds and Sources" reprints generous excerpts from Dreiser's autobiographies and other writings that help establish his personal connection to the novel. Coverage of the supposed "suppression" of Sister Carrie by its first publisher is drawn from Dreiser's correspondence with Frank Norris, Arthur Henry, Walter H. Page, and F. N. Doubleday. "Criticism" collects thirteen essays, six of them new to the Third Edition, that discuss Dreiser's distinctive literary naturalism and narrative technique, the novel's relationship to American culture, and issues of gender and class in the novel, among other topics. Contributors include Ellen Moers, Robert Penn Warren, Amy Kaplan, Alan Trachtenberg, and Donald Pizer, among others. A Chronology of Sister Carrie and a Selected Bibliography are also included. About the Series: No other series of classic texts equals the caliber of the Norton Critical Editions. Each volume combines the most authoritative text available with the comprehensive pedagogical apparatus necessary to appreciate the work fully. Careful editing, first-rate translation, and thorough explanatory annotations allow each text to meet the highest literary standards while remaining accessible to students. Each edition is printed on acid-free paper and every text in the series remains in print. Norton Critical Editions are the choice for excellence in scholarship for students at more than 2,000 universities worldwide.

Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, the twelfth of 13 children. His childhood was spent in poverty, or near poverty, and his family moved often. In spite of the constant relocations, Dreiser managed to attend school, and, with the financial aid of a sympathetic high school teacher, he was able to attend Indiana University. However, the need for income forced him to leave college after one year and take a job as a reporter in Chicago. Over the next 10 years, Dreiser held a variety of newspaper jobs in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and finally New York. He published his first novel, Sister Carrie in 1900, but because the publisher's wife considered its language and subject matter too "strong", it was barely advertised and went almost unnoticed. Today it is regarded as one of Dreiser's best works. It is the story of Carrie, a young woman from the Midwest, who manages to rise to fame and fortune on the strength of her personality and ambition, through her acting talent, and via her relationships with various men. Much of the book's controversy came from the fact that it portrayed a young woman who engages in sexual relationships without suffering the poverty and social downfall that were supposed to be the "punishment" for such "sin." Dreiser's reputation has increased instrumentally over the years. His best book and first popular success, An American Tragedy (1925), is now considered a major American novel, and his other works are widely taught in college courses. Like Sister Carrie, An American Tragedy also tells the story of an ambitious young person from the Midwest. In this case, however, the novel's hero is a man who is brought to ruin because of a horrible action he commits - he murders a poor young woman whom he has gotten pregnant, but whom he wants to discard in favor of a wealthy young woman who represents luxury and social advancement. As Dreiser portrays him, the young man is a victim of an economic system that torments so many with their lack of privilege and power and temps them to unspeakable acts. Dreiser is also known for the Coperwood Trilogy - The Financier (1912), The Titan (1914), and the posthumously published The Store (1947). Collectively the three books paint the portrait of a brilliant and ruthless "financial buccaneer." Dreiser is associated with Naturalism, a writing style that also includes French novelist Emile Zola. Naturalism seeks to portray all the social forces that shape the lives of the characters, usually conveying a sense of the inevitable doom that these forces must eventually bring about. Despite this apparent pessimism, Dreiser had faith in socialism as a solution to what he saw as the economic injustices of American capitalism. His socialist views were reinforced by a trip to the newly socialist Soviet Union, and in fact, Dreiser is still widely read in that country. There, as here, he is seen as a powerful chronicler of the injustices and ambitions of his time. Dreiser officially joined the Communist Party shortly before his death in 1945.

Donald Pizer, Pierce Butler Professor of English Emeritus at Tulane University, has published widely on late 19th- and early 20th-century American literature. His books include The Novels of Theodore Dreiser: A Critical Study (1976) and The Theory and Practice of American Literary Naturalism (1993).

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