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Sister Carrie (Norton Critical Editions) [Paperback]

Theodore Dreiser , Donald Pizer
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1991 0393960420 978-0393960426 2nd
This Norton Critical Edition features the 1900 Doubleday Page text of the novel. "Backgrounds and Sources" reprints excerpts from Dreiser's autobiographies, and a documentary account, drawn largely from Dreiser's correspondence with Frank Norris, Arthur Henry, Walter H.Page and F.N.Doubleday, discusses the supposed "suppression" of Sister Carrie by its first publisher. "Criticism" includes twelve essays that seek to identify Dreiser's literary naturalism in "Sister Carrie", the sources of fictional strength in the novel and the novel's relationship to American life. New to the second edition are essays by Ellen Moers, Robert Penn Warren, Philip Fisher, Robert Shulman and Donald Pizer.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 580 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc; 2nd edition (February 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393960420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393960426
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History Repeats Itself April 2, 2005
Here is a snapshot, written by a journalist, of Chicago and New York of 110 years ago. Dreiser, according to the excellent background notes in this Norton edition, had never read "naturalist" novels before he wrote this one, but had been heavily influenced by Balzac. What we have here is social and political messages delivered in the context of the life of a young, idealistic woman who comes to Chicago to escape the boredom of a small town and to make her way in the world. I'm reminded of the book, Devil in the White City, and how it mentions all the young women who flocked to Chicago in the 1880s and 1890s and were in awe of that booming city's majesty and bustle and life. What Carrie finds is utter indifference and dullness until a man sets her up in a "love nest." What a scandal! Soon Carrie grows weary of this guy and is taken with the true tragic figure in this story, a successful married man named Hurstwood. Hurstwood falls in love with Carrie and blows his whole life up for that love. All of this is based on a true story of Dreiser's own sister, we learn from the background notes, but Dreiser has embellished this squalid little tale to give us the demise of a man in minute and realistic detail, all the while commenting on the meaning of success, material well being, and what happiness is all about. This would all be trite if it weren't framed in journalistic realism. Carrie ends up a smashing "success" in the theater, but never finds true contentment. Question: What is the good life? Answer: It comes from internal sources, not external materialistic ones. But money, nevertheless, helps along the way to give you the leisure time to even contemplate this question. Dreiser doesn't seem to address this. Read more ›
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Dreiser's Sister Carrie is an urban novel. A country girl comes to the city, ends up with a slick saleman as a kept woman, but runs off with a bar manager to New York where she finds fame as an actress. Her bar manager husband falls on hard times and kills himself. Carrie's fortunes rise as Hurstwood's falls. The characters operate in the world of the city with its mystical pull. Their decisions and some chance events help guide along the plot, but this is a world of survival of the fittest. Carrie turns out to be fit, while Hurstwood does not. There are undertones of Darwin's theories. Dreiser himself occasionally appears as a voice in the work separate from the narrator and the characters. The Norton Critical Edition contains useful reference works at the back and a bibliography helpful for starting research.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read December 16, 2005
Sister Carrie is undoubtedly a hallmark of American literature. Whether one reads this as a social Darwinesque glorification of American society or a scathing criticism of capitalist individualism and urban naturalism, Dreiser's work encapsulates the fabric of American society and history. Unfortunately, Dreiser has gone long underappreciated, and the sheer importance of his work has yet to be fully recognized.

Norton's edition is spectacular, compiling a significant amount of background information about Dreiser and the writing of Sister Carrie, as well as critical responses and reviews. Another edition worthy of attention is the University of Pennsylvania "unabridged" publication, regardless of one's opinions about the authenticity or genuousness of un-editing the edited (originally published) Sister Carrie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece October 23, 2010
Sister Carrie is a masterpiece of American fiction. I have read
it twice and it is as fresh as if it was written yesterday. The
quintessential American drive for upward and better is captured
in the character of Carrie. A great companion to Edith Wharton's
"The House of Mirth". I will NEVER tire of reading Sister Carrie!!!
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