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Jennie Gerhardt
 
 

Jennie Gerhardt [Kindle Edition]

Theodore Dreiser
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Review

"The best American novel I have ever read, with the lonesome but Himalayan exception of Huckleberry Finn."-H. L. Mencken "For Dreiser, Jennie Gerhardt was a good career move. Now, with this Pennsylvania edition, we know that it is also a great novel."-New York Times

Product Description

The Library of Alexandria is an independent small business publishing house. We specialize in bringing back to live rare, historical and ancient books. This includes manuscripts such as: classical fiction, philosophy, science, religion, folklore, mythology, history, literature, politics and sacred texts, in addition to secret and esoteric subjects, such as: occult, freemasonry, alchemy, hermetic, shamanism and ancient knowledge. Our books are available in digital format. We have approximately 50 thousand titles in 40 different languages and we work hard every single day in order to convert more titles to digital format and make them available for our readers. Currently, we have 2000 titles available for purchase in 35 Countries in addition to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Our titles contain an interactive table of contents for ease of navigation of the book. We sincerely hope you enjoy these treasures in the form of digital books.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 753 KB
  • Print Length: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Library of Alexandria (22 April 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006L7R2A2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #78,628 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It seems each time I finish one of Dresier's works I think it is my favorite. Such is the case with Jennie Gerhardt, at least until my next Dresier. This heart-wrenching saga takes the reader through Jennie's life from cleaning houses with her mother, bearing a child by a US Senator and living and loving a man beyond her society class. Lester (the man she loves after the Senator), for his part, is unwilling to marry Jennie and is cut-off from the family and it's millions for loving someone "below" his class in society. Jennie remains true to herself, following her heart and the dicates of a harsh scoiety. She makes amendes with her father and is the only child to nurture him through his final days and death. She takes her daughter away from Chicago and leaves Lester so he can reclaim his family fortune. Her daughter dies, leaving her alone but the strength of Jennie's character comes through when she adopts orphans, for if she isn't nurturing she isn't living. Dreiser drives home his theme of fate and how some can dictate it while others are a slave to it. But even this distinction isn't black and white. Lester seems not to care what fate has in store for him until he takes it into his onw hands and marries the society girl he arguably should have married before he hooked up with Jennie. Alas, Jennie never mastered her fate. She was punished for loving two men from the upper-crust of scoiety instead of taking the crusts that high-living classes would toss her.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grand and Lavish...I feel so spoiled 26 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As usual, Dreiser's writing style just amazes me. Just like SISTER CARRIE, this book is about a woman searching for a place in life. You can't but help feel her pain of how her first love dies, only to find out she's pregnant, and she's not even married! Then concealing this child from her next lover, who she lives on. Just like always, a grand and entertaining read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking story... 24 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Dreiser's story spanning the life of Jennie is excellently written with rather "modern" topics, considering the time in which it was published. It is a bittersweet story which holds the reader and makes an impression long after it has been finished.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jennie Has-hardt 11 July 2003
By Jana - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Truly, Jenny Gerhardt has a lot of heart.
Though she makes some bad decisions and often lacks the confindence that could have reinvented her in the magnified binocular-eyes of society, Dreiser's love for the character shines and we, the readers, grow to love her also. Several glimmers of why Dreiser is the transcendent novelist that he is peek out from the fast moving story of Jennie Gerhardt.
"She was not, like so many, endeavoring to put the ocean into a tea-cup or to tie up the shifting universe in a mess of strings called law."
"The loveliness of seventeen is centuries old. That is why passion is almost sad."
"So this little household drifted along quietly and dreamily indeed, but always with the undercurrent of feeling which ran so still because it was so deep."
I admit to you, I have never been very interested by the sometimes dry prose offered in the writing of earlier time periods. But Dreiser seems to me a rare gem in the world of early 20th century fiction.
However, the one reason I am writing a 4 star review is because of the ending of this novel. After several mini-climaxes, the book ends. --just like that. With a grim display of "if only". And although most, if not all of us, identify with that theme, I felt like I MUST have read 366 pages for something other than that.
However, I would still recommend it. It is a delicate work of art whose power and beauty cannot be denied.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, truthful and rewarding 25 May 2004
By B. Gordon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was the first novel I ever read by Theodore Dreiser. The reason why I selected it was because in the film, American Splendor, Harvey Pekar mentions the novel and he's shown finishing it in the film. I wanted to know and feel what Mr. Pekar felt. And I believe I did. The tragedy of Jennie Gerhardt's life resonated with me. I was anguished over Jenny's loneliness and the fact that Lester could never make up his mind to marry her. I cried. Dreiser's observation of turn of the century high society and their view of the poor as pariahs still seems relevant today. We still live in a time of social and financial inequality.
Dreiser's writing style is definitely not modern. And his phrasing is not structured in the active voice. It's more long-winded. You need to enjoy his descriptions and his philosophical speculations that do make the novel more meaningful. You can't take the social critic out of Dreiser. If you can make time in your life to sit down and read this novel, you will come away having been moved by Dreiser's heartfelt portrayal of the human condition. May each and everyone one of you be as lucky to love as deeply as Jennie did.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A girl punished for daring to love men above her class. 5 Jun 1999
By William A. Marsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It seems each time I finish one of Dresier's works I think it is my favorite. Such is the case with Jennie Gerhardt, at least until my next Dresier. This heart-wrenching saga takes the reader through Jennie's life from cleaning houses with her mother, bearing a child by a US Senator and living and loving a man beyond her society class. Lester (the man she loves after the Senator), for his part, is unwilling to marry Jennie and is cut-off from the family and it's millions for loving someone "below" his class in society. Jennie remains true to herself, following her heart and the dicates of a harsh scoiety. She makes amendes with her father and is the only child to nurture him through his final days and death. She takes her daughter away from Chicago and leaves Lester so he can reclaim his family fortune. Her daughter dies, leaving her alone but the strength of Jennie's character comes through when she adopts orphans, for if she isn't nurturing she isn't living. Dreiser drives home his theme of fate and how some can dictate it while others are a slave to it. But even this distinction isn't black and white. Lester seems not to care what fate has in store for him until he takes it into his onw hands and marries the society girl he arguably should have married before he hooked up with Jennie. Alas, Jennie never mastered her fate. She was punished for loving two men from the upper-crust of scoiety instead of taking the crusts that high-living classes would toss her.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand and Lavish...I feel so spoiled 26 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As usual, Dreiser's writing style just amazes me. Just like SISTER CARRIE, this book is about a woman searching for a place in life. You can't but help feel her pain of how her first love dies, only to find out she's pregnant, and she's not even married! Then concealing this child from her next lover, who she lives on. Just like always, a grand and entertaining read.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jennie Gerhardt 16 Jan 2006
By Bomojaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This edition of Dreiser's JENNIE GERHARDT attempts to "correct" the text that appeared in 1911 when the book was first published. Back then the editors at Harper's agreed to publish the novel only if they could make substantial changes to the text, softening Dreiser's criticisms of organized religion and the rich, and diluting the "immoral" behavior of the main character. Dreiser reportedly didn't like the changes, fought to get some of them re-instated, but eventually had to yield since no other publisher would touch the book. Using preserved typescripts, this edition is closer to the one Dreiser submitted before cuts were made.

Jennie Gerhardt has an out-of-wedlock child by Senator Brander, which she is able to keep secret from the wealthy socialite Lester Kane, whom she takes up with. He finds out about the child, however, and is unaffected by the news. He continues to live with her in a complicated arrangement, until Jennie finds out that Lester's father will basically disinherit him if he doesn't stop living with her and forces him to leave (echoes of WASHINGTON SQUARE by James and the subsequent movie version THE HEIRESS here). He marries Letty Gerald, a woman from his own social class, but is miserable. When he becomes ill and is alone, he summons Jennie and declares his true love for her.

The novel is an interesting one. Lester is a pessimistic, cynical, atheistic man while Jennie is much simpler and has a mystical belief in the goodness of life. The "battleground" on which these opposing beliefs are fought over is made fascinating by Dreiser. Also Lester's struggle with his own wealthy class system, which he is never comfortable with and rebels against, is handled admirably and honestly by the author (it became a major theme in fiction by WW I). This was Dreiser's second novel after SISTER CARRIE; it's not as good as that first book, but it's a solid work of fiction nonetheless.
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