Theodore Dreiser (1871–1946) has long been recognized as a pivotal figure in twentieth-century American literary and cultural history. His fiction played (and still plays) a major role in the vigorous debate over the relationship of art to social reality and political purpose, and his complex and compelling personality has always attracted much attention. From about 1912–15 to his death he was often considered the greatest American writer of the period. Theodore Dreiser Recalled collects for the first time commentary on this literary giant by those of his own time who knew him well. The book includes seventy-six recollections by friends, lovers, and literary associates, ranging in time of publication from 1912 to 1995. Presented with both expert and general readers in mind, the book not only clarifies and extends our knowledge of many aspects of Dreiser’s life and career but also makes excellent reading. In their various ways—from H. L. Mencken’s acerbic accounts of their friendship to one of Edgar Lee Masters’s most powerful poems to Kirah Markham’s bittersweet memories of their affair and to Esther McCoy’s compelling narrative of Dreiser’s death—the recollections demonstrate Dreiser’s ability to move others to recall him not only in full detail but with panache.
'Touching on the entire spectrum of the author’s controversial life and career, Theodore Dreiser Recalled is a must read not only for Dreiserians but for anyone interested in a multiperspectival portrayal of a watershed figure in US realism and naturalism.'
Klaus H. Schmidt, Studies in American Naturalism