THE STATURE OF THEODORE DREISER by

THE STATURE OF THEODORE DREISER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The best and most stimulating of Dreiserian critics gather here: F.O. Matthiessen, H. L. Mencken, Sinclair Lewis, James T. Farrell, Malcolm Cowley, Alfred Kazin, among others. They come not to praise but to evaluate Dreiser. Since style,- or rather that rambling, bludgeoning misuse of language which Dreiser elevated to style- is a prime criterion for determining his legitimacy as a major novelist, all of the critics make at least some comment upon this question. Individually, the critics descant upon Dreiser's status as a ""realist"" or ""naturalist"", his political delinquencies, his powers of social observation, his blunt and blunting love of humanity, his personality as he exhibited himself in brief flurries of friendship, his philosophy and scholarly research-- all this furnished with Dreiser's letters and excerpts quoted from his published works. Despite epithet and depreciation, Dreiser emerges as an honorable man; no one quite doubts his artistic integrity and moral concern. Kazin's essay deserves particular mention... This will find a place on the shelf (library largely) of significant literary criticism of a man who, if doomed to eventual literary oblivion, at least shaped and enhanced the standards of that oblivion.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1955
Publisher: Indiana University Press