Annotated Bibliography
Dreiser: Biography and Criticism.
by
Carl Bevard Jr.

Bibliography
Pizer, Donald; Dowell, Richard W.; and Rusch, Frederic E. Theodore Dreiser: A Primary Bibliography and Reference Guide. 1975. Rev. ed. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1991.
A comprehensive chronologicallist of publications by and on Dreiser, arranged according to mode ofpublication: books, editions, letters, interviews, and library
holdings, etc.

Biography and Correspondence

Elias, Robert. Theodore Dreiser: Apostle of Nature. Cornell: Cornell University Press, 1970.

---, ed. The Letters of Theodore Dreiser. 3 vols. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1959.

Lingeman, Richard. Theodore Dreiser: At the Gates of the City,1871-1907. New York: Putnam, 1986;

---. Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey, 1908-1945. New York: Putnam, 1990.
A two-volume study considered by several Dreiser scholars to be the most detailed biography inprint.

Swanberg, W. A. Dreiser. New York: Scribner's, 1965.


Criticism

Cassuto, Leonard and Clare Eby, eds. //The Cambridge Companion to Theodore Dreiser//. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
In their introduction to the volume, Cassuto and Eby ground the collection in its historicist approach with a concise history of the major changes in which American society found itself immersed during Dreiser’s productive years. They continue to note further Dreiser’s insight into the emergent phenomenon of urban consumer culture and analogize his writing as “gigantic textbook[s] of modern American life.”

Cassuto, Leonard. “Lacanian Equivocation in Sister Carrie, The“Genius,” and An American Tragedy. Gogol 112-133.
Observing the relative scarcity of psychoanalytic criticism on Dreiser by the mid 1990s, and noting that such criticism up to that point generally takes a simplistic view of desire in Dreiser’s characters as possessed of “poor egos” dominated by libidinal id-energies, Cassuto examines the function of desire from its“confused (and often confusing) mixture of conscious and unconscious desires” derived from “the fundamentally subjective frustration of want.”

Dreiser, Theodore. “True Art Speaks Plainly.” Sister Carrie, ed. Donald Pizer. New York: W. W. Norton &Co., 1991. 418-2.
Written in response to accusations of the “immorality” of depicting sordid scenes in his writing. Articulating aspects of his theory of realism, Dreiser asserts, “To express what we see honestly and without subterfuge: this is morality as well as art.”

Eby, Clare. “Dreiser and Women.” Cassuto and Eby 142-59.
Remarking two early but divergent lines of thought regarding Dreiser’s depiction of women, Eby takes the shift in critical thinking in Dreiser studies from the relatively simple binary of blame/praiseworthy woman to the more complicated discussion of Dreiser’s reliance or contestation of gender stereotypes. Eby further notes that such lack of consensus about Dreiser’s position on women results from the two distinctive powers with which he imbues his female characters: the traditionally feminine attributes of compelling sexual allure or respect for motherhood, or the progressive agency with figures like Carrie negotiate social aspirations by transcending conventional characterizations.

Fisher, Shelley F. “Dreiser and the Discourse of Gender.” Gogol 1-30.
Fisher begins her essay by noting a general dearth of feminist critique of Dreiser through the 1980s and notes that his “empathy for the emotional and psychological neds and intellectual aspirations of real life women” was progressive among his male contemporaries. She continues to assess the ways Dreiser transcended the gender discourse of his time, concluding thathe “challenged the dominant ideology of gender of his time” without being“truly subversive.”

Gair, Christopher. “Sister Carrie, race, and the World’s Columbian Exposition.” Cassuto and Eby 160-76.
Noting the conspicuous absence of racially themed reflections in Sister Carrie compared with contemporary naturalist texts, Gair reads the novel as an expression of the erasure of the African American. He views the text as constructing Carrie’s whiteness with success and the capacity for progress and interprets the Hurstwood’s decline as representative of cultural stereotypes about blackness, which permits “European groups in the novel and beyond to imaginatively assimilate…against the backdrop of an excluded racial otherness, and, with Hurstwood’s death, to imaginatively contain the degeneracies identified with blackness.”

Gammel, Irene. “Sexualizingthe Female Body: Dreiser, Feminism, and Foucault.” Gogol 31-54.
Gammel uses Foucault’s analyses in The History of Sexuality to construct a critical apparatus in which to examine her assertion that“Dreiser celebrates sexuality as the major driving force in life…” Remarking both Carrie’s habit of imitating the behaviors of women Drouet finds attractive, as well as her yielding to his and Hurstwood’s sexual desires, Gammel observes that female sexuality is the site of male sexual and social inscription.

Giles, Paul. “Dreiser’s Style.” Cassuto and Eby 47-62.
Giles asserts that Dreiser’s style is not a matter of simple literary language, but is rather a matter of consistent dialectic between the various themes incorporated into his novels. Giles concludes with the claim that Dreiser’s writing is “concerned less with the plain representation of documentary truth than with a more stylized meditation between alternative versions of truth and categories of representation.”

Gogol, Miriam, ed. //Beyond Naturalism//. New York: New York University Press, 1995.
As its title suggests, this volume represents an important transition in Dreiser criticism in its collection of essays approaching Dreiser’s writing from disparate literary theories that replace traditional focus on fitting Dreiser into the category of “naturalist” writing.

Hakutani, Yoshinobu, ed. Theodore Dreiser and American Culture: New Readings. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2000.

Moers, Ellen. “The Finesse of Dreiser.” Sister Carrie, ed.Donald Pizer. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1991.
A landmark study of Dreiser’s language in Sister Carrie in which Moers argues against a strong negative critical appraisal of Dreiser’s writing style, and contends that his use of language in the novel is especially well-crafted to express the subtleties of the sexual themes in the novel.

---,ed. New Essays on Sister Carrie. New York:Cambridge University Press, 1991.
In his introduction to the four essays in the collection (all original pieces at the time of this volume’s printing), Pizer remarks the rising tide of historicist interest in Sister Carrie and positions the selections included against the more generally contextualizing criticism of the 1980s.

---,The Novels of Theodore Dreiser. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1976.

West, James L. “Dreiser and the profession of authorship.” Cassuto and Eby 15-29.
Discusses the state of the “professional writer” and the literary marketplace during the early twentieth century with respect to other credentialed professions, as well as Dreiser’s transition from journalistic and editorial to primarily fictional narrative writing.

Zaluda, Scott. “The Secrets of Fraternity: Men and Friendship in Sister Carrie.” Gogol 77-94.
Zaluda examines the manner in which Drieser represents a fraternal male culture and “creates and criticizes white, middle-class masculinity and men’s social power” by scrutinizing the representations of these in late-nineteenth century commercial culture.