Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

"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. Naïve 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 you will, the range of American literature," observed Robert Penn Warren. "[Sister Carrie] is a vivid and absorbing work of art."

From the Hardcover edition.

About Theodore Dreiser

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THEODORE DREISER (1871–1945) is the author of Sister Carrie, Jennie Gerhardt, and An American Tragedy. LARZER ZIFF is the editor of The Portable Benjamin Franklin and the Penguin Classics editions of the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Stephen Crane. He is Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University.
Published November 1, 2000 by Modern Library. 409 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Romance, Literature & Fiction, History, Religion & Spirituality, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction

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BC Books

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A great book — fresh in both prose style and social relevance, Sister Carrie deserves your readership.

Oct 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Sister Carrie

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