An American Tragedy

by Theodore Dreiser

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Bloom, Harold, ed. Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy.” New York: Chelsea House, 1988. One of America’s leading literary critics updates Salzman’s collection (listed below).

Gerber, Philip L. “Society Should Ask Forgiveness: An American Tragedy.” In Theodore Dreiser Revisited. Boston: Twayne, 1992. A structural analysis that also examines Dreiser’s sources, his progression through early drafts, and the novel’s effect on his career. Annotated bibliography.

Gerber, Philip L. Theodore Dreiser Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1992.

Lehan, Richard. “An American Tragedy.” In Theodore Dreiser: His World and His Novels. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969. Discusses Dreiser’s identification with Clyde Griffiths, particularly his fundamentalist religious background and the techniques Dreiser uses to mitigate Clyde’s culpability.

Lingeman, Richard. Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey, 1908-1945. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1990.

Michaels, Benn Walter. “An American Tragedy: Or, The Promise of American Life.” Representations 25 (Winter, 1989): 71-98.

Pizer, Donald. “American Literary Naturalism: The Example of Dreiser.” In Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Rev. ed. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984. One of the foremost authorities on naturalism in American literature defends Dreiser against critical antagonism toward naturalism and illustrates the principles of determinism in An American Tragedy.

Pizer, Donald. The Novels of Theodore Dreiser: A Critical Study. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1976.

Salzman, Jack, comp. The Merrill Studies in “An American Tragedy.” Westerville, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill, 1971. A critical casebook on the novel, containing essays on topics such as naturalism, materialism, and Dreiser’s sources for the novel.

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Critical Evaluation


Critical Overview