Sister Carrie (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – 28 May 2004
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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.
From the Inside Flap
"American writing, before and after Dreiser's time, differed almost as much as biology before and after Darwin," said H. L. Mencken. Sister Carrie, Dreiser's great first novel, transformed the conventional "fallen woman" story into a bold and truly innovative piece of fiction when it appeared in 1900. Naive young Caroline Meeber, a small-town girl seduced by the lure of the modern city, becomes the mistress of a traveling salesman and then of a saloon manager, who elopes with her to New York. Both its subject matter and Dreiser's unsparing, nonjudgmental approach made Sister Carrie a controversial book in its time, and the work retains the power to shock readers today.
"Sister Carrie came to housebound and airless America like a great
free Western wind, and to our
stuffy domesticity gave us the first
fresh air since Mark Twain and Whitman," noted Sinclair Lewis. "Dreiser enlarged, willy-nilly, by
a kind of historical accident if
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"From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Carrie is a young rural girl, who comes to Chicago in 1889, to stay with her sister and her brother-in-law. Carrie has ambition, she is a young woman of beauty and some delicacy, wanting to improve her status and opportunities. She aspires to some kind of clerical office job, or perhaps as a sales assistant in one of the burgeoning glossy department stores. Unfortunately, her poverty and lack of experience are against her. It is an employer’s market, and all she can get is dirty, badly paid, unskilled factory work, exploited and working in impossibly harsh conditions.
Dreiser, writing with irony, looks back on the 1889 working conditions and compares them to the more enlightened thinking of ‘now’ (1900):
“The place smelled of the oil of the machines and the new leather – a combination which added to by the stale odours of the building, was not pleasant, even in cold weather. The floor, though regularly swept each evening, presented a littered surface. 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 and making the work as hard and unremunerative as possible.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
This was Dreiser's first novel, written in 1900, and the prose, with occasional delightfully archaic flourishes seems surprisingly modern. Others have noted that this transcription to e-book is ridden with typos and spelling errors. Simply not true; perhaps these critics are mistaking the American spelling.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a realist/naturalist novel written in 1900 covering the life of an 18 year old Carrie Meeber in 1889’s Chicago. Read morePublished 18 days ago by H. Tee
Given as a present but from what I am told it is worth the five star ratingPublished 5 months ago by dimitri markopoulos
This is a true masterpiece of writing.The style is superb and the storyline fascinating.I am a great Stefan Zweig fan and I would put this in a similar leaguePublished 7 months ago by R. Rowland
First rate book, a very enjoyable read. Not much of a preface but there is still a decent bibliography includedPublished 8 months ago by Andrew Buckle
This edition is full of errors of text/grammar etc - it looks as if it might have been created by reading into voice activated softwear. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Sylvia Steward
Never read anything with so many typos - very poor proof-readingPublished 22 months ago by Hove resanon
A very interesting and fascinating read. Could not put it down!! One of the top books I have ever read!Published on 25 July 2014 by Allison