Written by the late Harvard professor- long an authority on Dreiser, this is a fine biography of a major American writer whose works, although difficult, somewhat dated and largely forgotten, are important in this country's literature. Here is the boy from Indiana who was to write so powerfully of poverty from his own grounding in it during his childhood and youth. Later, Dreiser gained much of his material for his novels from his experiences as a bill collector in Chicago and as a reporter in St. Louis, Toledo, Pittsburgh and New York. His troubles with his first novel, Sister Carrte, then considered a shocker, detoured Dreiser into a decade of magazine editing, but did not permanently dam the inspiration that found its fullest expression in Jennie Gerhardt. The Genius, The Financier and An American Tragedy. Both Dreiser's name, and Matthiessen's combine to give this a steady, substantial interest, particularly for libraries.