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486 pages
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Description

An American Tragedy (1925) is a novel by Theodore Dreiser. Written and rewritten over a number of years, An American Tragedy is a weighty epic with a cleareyed vision of the decay at the heart of industrialized society. Based on the murder of Grace Brown in 1906, the novel proved controversial for its depiction of depravity and violence, but has endured as a classic of naturalist fiction and remains a powerful example of social critique nearly a century after its publication. A young Midwesterner bucks against his puritan upbringing, drinking with acquaintances and frequenting prostitutes when he isn’t busy working any number of thankless jobs. As friends and lovers come and go, he fails to find footing in a society fueled by ambition and cunning. Forced to flee Kansas City after a deadly auto accident, Clyde moves to Chicago before settling in Lycurgus, New York, where he meets a young farmgirl named Roberta Allen. When she becomes pregnant, Clyde begins to feel his dreams of freedom fade, and longs for a way out of marriage. Desperate and confused, he turns to a beautiful socialite named Sondra Finchley, the daughter of a local factory owner. Clyde knows what he should do—marry Roberta, settle down, raise a family—but his reckless ways refuse to remain in the past. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy is a classic of American literature reimagined for modern readers.


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Publié par
Date de parution 21 juin 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781513287348
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0850€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

An American Tragedy
Theodore Dreiser
 
An American Tragedy was first published in 1925.
This edition published by Mint Editions 2021.
ISBN 9781513282329 | E-ISBN 9781513287348
Published by Mint Editions®
minteditionbooks.com
Publishing Director: Jennifer Newens
Design & Production: Rachel Lopez Metzger
Project Manager: Micaela Clark
Typesetting: Westchester Publishing Services
 
C ONTENTS V OLUME O NE B OOK O NE I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX B OOK T WO I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII XXIX XXX XXXI XXXII XXXIII XXXIV XXXV XXXVI XXXVII XXXVIII V OLUME T WO B OOK T WO (CONTINUED) XXXIX XL XLI XLII XLIII XLIV XLV XLVI XLVII B OOK T HREE I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII XXIX XXX XXXI XXXII XXXIII XXXIV S OUVENIR
 
VOLUME ONE
 
BOOK ONE
 
I
Dusk—of a summer night.
And the tall walls of the commercial heart of an American city of perhaps 400,000 inhabitants—such walls as in time may linger as a mere fable.
And up the broad street, now comparatively hushed, a little band of six,—a man of about fifty, short, stout, with bushy hair protruding from under a round black felt hat, a most unimportant-looking person, who carried a small portable organ such as is customarily used by street preachers and singers. And with him a woman perhaps five years his junior, taller, not so broad, but solid of frame and vigorous, very plain in face and dress, and yet not homely, leading with one hand a small boy of seven and in the other carrying a Bible and several hymn books. With these three, but walking independently behind, was a girl of fifteen, a boy of twelve and another girl of nine, all following obediently, but not too enthusiastically, in the wake of the others.
It was hot, yet with a sweet languor about it all.
Crossing at right angles the great thoroughfare on which they walked, was a second canyon-like way, threaded by throngs and vehicles and various lines of cars which clanged their bells and made such progress as they might amid swiftly moving streams of traffic. Yet the little group seemed unconscious of anything save a set purpose to make its way between the contending lines of traffic and pedestrians which flowed by them.
Having reached an intersection this side of the second principal thoroughfare—really just an alley between two tall structures—now quite bare of life of any kind, the man put down the organ, which the woman immediately opened, setting up a music rack upon which she placed a wide flat hymn book. Then handing the Bible to the man, she fell back in line with him, while the twelve-year-old boy put down a small camp-stool in front of the organ. The man—the father, as he chanced to be—looked about him with seeming wide-eyed assurance, and announced, without appearing to care whether he had any auditors or not:
“We will first sing a hymn of praise, so that any who may wish to acknowledge the Lord may join us. Will you oblige, Hester?”
At this the eldest girl, who until now had attempted to appear as unconscious and unaffected as possible, bestowed her rather slim and as yet undeveloped figure upon the camp chair and turned the leaves of the hymn book, pumping the organ while her mother observed:
“I should think it might be nice to sing twenty-seven tonight—‘How Sweet the Balm of Jesus’ Love.’”
By this time various homeward-bound individuals of diverse grades and walks of life, noticing the small group disposing itself in this fashion, hesitated for a moment to eye them askance or paused to ascertain the character of their work. This hesitancy, construed by the man apparently to constitute attention, however mobile, was seized upon by him and he began addressing them as though they were specifically here to hear him.
“Let us all sing twenty-seven, then—‘How Sweet the Balm of Jesus’ Love.’”
At this the young girl began to interpret the melody upon the organ, emitting a thin though correct strain, at the same time joining her rather high soprano with that of her mother, together with the rather dubious baritone of the father. The other children piped weakly along, the boy and girl having taken hymn books from the small pile stacked upon the organ. As they sang, this nondescript and indifferent street audience gazed, held by the peculiarity of such an unimportant-looking family publicly raising its collective voice against the vast skepticism and apathy of life. Some were interested or moved sympathetically by the rather tame and inadequate figure of the girl at the organ, others by the impractical and materially inefficient texture of the father, whose weak blue eyes and rather flabby but poorly-clothed figure bespoke more of failure than anything else. Of the group the mother alone stood out as having that force and determination which, however blind or erroneous, makes for self-preservation, if not success in life. She, more than any of the others, stood up with an ignorant, yet somehow respectable air of conviction. If you had watched her, her hymn book dropped to her side, her glance directed straight before her into space, you would have said: “Well, here is one who, whatever her defects, probably does what she believes as nearly as possible.” A kind of hard, fighting faith in the wisdom and mercy of that definite overruling and watchful power which she proclaimed, was written in her every feature and gesture.
“The love of Jesus saves me whole,
The love of God my steps control,”
she sang resonantly, if slightly nasally, between the towering walls of the adjacent buildings.
The boy moved restlessly from one foot to the other, keeping his eyes down, and for the most part only half singing. A tall and as yet slight figure, surmounted by an interesting head and face—white skin, dark hair—he seemed more keenly observant and decidedly more sensitive than most of the others—appeared indeed to resent and even to suffer from the position in which he found himself. Plainly pagan rather than religious, life interested him, although as yet he was not fully aware of this. All that could be truly said of him now was that there was no definite appeal in all this for him. He was too young, his mind much too responsive to phases of beauty and pleasure which had little, if anything, to do with the remote and cloudy romance which swayed the minds of his mother and father.
Indeed the home life of which this boy found himself a part and the various contacts, material and psychic, which thus far had been his, did not tend to convince him of the reality and force of all that his mother and father seemed so certainly to believe and say. Rather, they seemed more or less troubled in their lives, at least materially. His father was always reading the Bible and speaking in meeting at different places, especially in the “mission,” which he and his mother conducted not so far from this corner. At the same time, as he understood it, they collected money from various interested or charitably inclined business men here and there who appeared to believe in such philanthropic work. Yet the family was always “hard up,” never very well clothed, and deprived of many comforts and pleasures which seemed common enough to others. And his father and mother were constantly proclaiming the love and mercy and care of God for him and for all. Plainly there was something wrong somewhere. He could not get it all straight, but still he could not help respecting his mother, a woman whose force and earnestness, as well as her sweetness, appealed to him. Despite much mission work and family cares, she managed to be fairly cheerful, or at least sustaining, often declaring most emphatically “God will provide” or “God will show the way,” especially in times of too great stress about food or clothes. Yet apparently, in spite of this, as he and all the other children could see, God did not show any very clear way, even though there was always an extreme necessity for His favorable intervention in their affairs.
Tonight, walking up the great street with his sisters and brother, he wished that they need not do this any more, or at least that he need not be a part of it. Other boys did not do such things, and besides, somehow it seemed shabby and even degrading. On more than one occasion, before he had been taken on the street in this fashion, other boys had called to him and made fun of his father, because he was always publicly emphasizing his religious beliefs or convictions. Thus in one neighborhood in which they had lived, when he was but a child of seven, his father, having always preluded every conversation with “Praise the Lord,” he heard boys call “Here comes old Praise-the-Lord Griffiths.” Or they would call out after him “Hey, you’re the fellow whose sister plays the organ. Is there anything else she can play?”
“What does he always want to go around saying, ‘Praise the Lord’ for? Other people don’t do it.”
It was that old mass yearning for a likeness in all things that troubled them, and him. Neither his father nor his mother was like other people, because they were always making so much of religion, and now at last they were making a business of it.
On this night in this great street with its cars and crowds and tall buildings, he felt ashamed, dragged out of normal life, to be made a show and jest of. The handsome automobiles that sped by, the loitering pedestrians moving off to what interests and comforts he could only surmise; the gay pairs of young people, laughing and jesting and the “kids” staring, all troubled him with a sense of something different, better, more beautiful than his, or rather their life.
And now units of this vagrom and unstable street throng, which was forever shifting and changing about them, seemed to sense the psychologic error of all this in so far as these children were con

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