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Sister Carrie (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) [Paperback]

Theodore Dreiser , Alfred Kazin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Mar 1995 Penguin Twentieth Century Classics
A landmark in American literature, presented in its complete and unexpurgated version. Dreiser's unsparing story of a country girl's rise to riches as the mistress of a wealthy man marked the beginning of the naturalist movement in America. Both its subject matter and Dreiser's objective, nonmoralizing approach made it highly controversial, and only a heavily edited version could be published in 1900. In this restored version, the truly revolutionary nature of Sister Carrie is made fully evident.

Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; US Ed edition (30 Mar 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140188282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140188288
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 12.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 770,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Theodore Dreiser is a man who, with the passage of time, is bound to loom larger and larger in the awakening aesthetic consciousness of America. Among all of our prose writers he is one of the few men of whom it may be said that he has . . . never been a trickster. If there is a modern movement in American prose writing, a movement toward greater courage and fidelity to life in writing, Theodore Dreiser is the pioneer and the hero of the movement. --Sherwood Anderson

Such a novel as Sister Carrie stands quite outside the brief traffic of the customary stage. It leaves behind an inescapable impression of bigness, of epic sweep and dignity. It is not a mere story, not a novel in the customary American meaning of the word; it is at once a psalm of life and a criticism of life. . . . [Dreiser's] aim is not merely to tell a tale; his aim is to show the vast ebb and flow of forces which sway and condition human destiny. The thing he seeks to do is to stir, to awaken, to move. One does not arise from such a book as Sister Carrie with a smirk of satisfaction; one leaves it infinitely touched. --H. L. Mencken --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, on August 27, 1871. After a poor and difficult childhood, Dreiser broke into newspaper work in Chicago in 1892. A successful career as a magazine writer in New York during the late 1890s was followed by his first novel, Sister Carrie (1900). When this work made little impact, Dreiser published no fiction until Jennie Gerhardt in 1911. There then followed a decade and a half of major work in a number of literary forms, which was capped in 1925 by An American Tragedy, a novel that brought him universal acclaim. Dreiser was increasingly preoccupied by philosophical and political issues during the last two decades of his life. He died in Los Angeles on December 28, 1945.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, which was checked in the baggage car, a cheap imitation alligator skin satchel holding some minor details of the toilet, a small lunch in a paper box and a yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in Van Buren Street, and four dollars in money. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable 30 Dec 2013
By Daisy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm not talking about the book itself, but the painfully lazy conversion to ebook- DO NOT BUY THIS VERSION, either pay more for another kindle version, or buy a physical copy. This one is full of mistakes and grammatical errors to the extent that I found it unreadable. not just a few small typos, there are mistakes on nearly every page, some so bad I'm not sure what it's actually supposed to say, sentences that don't make sense etc. Don t be swayed by the price, Stay well clear of this version!!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Great American Novel! 12 Mar 2006
Sister Carrie," Theodore Dreiser's debut novel, is the extraordinarily powerful story of Carrie Meeber, a naïve small-town girl from Wisconsin who comes to the big city, Chicago, to reside with her older sister's small family. The year is 1889. "She was eighteen years of age, bright, timid and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth."
Carrie is soon overwhelmed by the difficulty of finding work, especially since she has no previous experience as a wage earner. When she finally does get a job on an assembly line at a shoe factory for $3.50 per week, she is exhausted by long hours of standing and poor working conditions. "Not the slightest provision had been made for the comfort of the employees, the idea being that something was gained by giving them as little as possible." "The wash rooms and lavatories were disagreeable, crude, if not foul places, and the whole atmosphere was one of hard contract."
Carrie does well in spite of these hardships, but she must pay her sister's husband almost her entire salary for her room and board. With winter coming and the chill winds of a Chicago autumn upon her, Carrie has no money for a coat, hat, nor even an umbrella. She is absolutely wretched. Then she meets a young salesman, Charles Drouet, whom she had become slightly acquainted with on the train to the city. She is eventually tricked into living with him - seduced by his offers of marriage, and the economic security and comparative independence he provides her. She is still a girl and is motivated by impulses and her passive, overly trusting nature.
Carrie makes another serious mistake when she allows herself to be deceived a second time by a well-to-do, married saloon manager twice her age, Mr. Hurstwood.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're not happy, said Hurstwood 28 July 1999
By A Customer
You're not happy -- so you do something about it. To make yourself happy, you compete with others and the strongest will survive. Hints of Darwinian thought mix with Dreiser's own opinions on society as the reader follows the tale of Carrie and Hurstwood. Carrie goes to the city from the country and proceeds to work her way up in life. Hurstwood begins in a good position yet makes a tragic choice to end up down in life. The strongest survive in the city, and Dreiser's characters are all trying to survive. Works laced with determinism are not the most fun to read, but often have very important things to say about society. Sister Carrie is a profound book and well worth the time and effort.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A classic story turned to gobbledegook 15 Jun 2014
By Pippa M
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This may be a great story and I would love to know but this kindle version is the worst digitised book that I have ever read. It is so full of errors, bad spelling, grammar and punctuation that it is unreadable. It is just so sloppily done that the publishers ought to be ashamed to have made it available in this form. If you have ever used OCR (optical character recognition) software you will know what howlers it can create in mis-identifying words and grammar. But you would expect a publisher to have proof read and corrected the result before putting it on sale. Do not buy this version.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A shocking mess 25 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dreiser was recommended to me and I came to this with high hopes. These still exist but I will be seeking another edition. The novel is so badly typeset, with erroneous punctuation, extra words and missing words, that it seems at first to be an example of some unique, previously undiscovered, modernist style. But it's not. It's just a shoddy shambles. If you still think it's worth forking out 73p to confirm this, don't. It's not. Also see review by Daisy
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyment of Sister Carrie 12 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoy the story, having read it many years ago, and been unable to find a copy to re read, I was delighted to find in on Amazon. I do find however that some of the script is difficulty to follow as words are missing or sometimes words used which are probably not in the original. any one should be able to get the understanding without difficulty.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brother Dreiser 18 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I studied English Literature at London University in the 1960s, Dreiser was not on the map - indeed, unless you opted for a special American Literature paper (which I did not), no American writers were mentioned (apart from the pseudo-English Eliot and James) so that I came later - with delight - to Twain, Steinbeck, Whitman, Dickinson, Fitzgerald and with less delight to Hawthorne, Melville and Hemingway. But after forty years of reading and teaching English Literature, Dreiser did not figure in my consciousness until rently when a friend mentioned that An American Tragedy was one of the things she had enjoyed on her course in the USA. As that book did not figure on the free kindle downloads I opted for Sister Carrie instead. I am very glad to have commenced my acquaintance with Dreiser. He has something in common with Edith Wharton (the background society, though his emphasis is on a different part of it), Thomas Hardy (the tragic inevitability of poverty) and George Gissing (the realistic depiction of poverty and its manifestations), also a splash of Scott Fitzgerald in that he is one of the first critics of the American Dream. But he is sufficiently himself for us to need his voice.
It is quite a hard novel to "rate": on the negative side, the style is raw and clumsy (though often appropriately so), the plot has too many "and then"s rather than "and so"s, there is a creaky and unconvincing sensationalist robbery section which really needed re-writing and the thematically important character of Ames is under-developed, which weakens the force of the novel as a whole. But against this, it is so readable!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm....did not like this much
This was recommended to me by my German pen friend ....after struggling through it , only because I wondered why on earth she'd read it , I had to tell her .... Read more
Published 3 months ago by PatWestLancs
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle
Bought this to read on my Kindle. Haven't got round to it yet but an looking forward to a good read.
Published 15 months ago by A. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected - and that's a good thing!
When the heroine, Carrie, was first introduced as a naive small-town girl heading to Chicago and falling for the advances of a travelling salesman on the train, I was worried that... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Andrew Blackman
5.0 out of 5 stars The Vicissitudes of Life...
Theodore Dreiser, an American novelist of the "naturalist school" published this, his first novel, in 1900, to limited acclaim. The wife of the publisher, Mrs. Read more
Published 24 months ago by John P. Jones III
4.0 out of 5 stars sister carrie purchase
many thanks for a swift and easy purchase. keep up the good work- I would happily purchase from you again!
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by LaurDOR
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Tragic Love
Sister Carrie come to the city to live with her sister who is struggling. She eventually marries but then is "Swept off her feet" and leaves for New York with her lover who looses... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2011 by Marham
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the movie!
As a 21 year old I was hugely impressed by Laurence Olivier's tragic Hurstwood in William Wyler's film 'Carrie' Carrie [DVD] [1952] and even now I'm haunted by his fate, selling... Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2010 by Beric Norman
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