Synopses & Reviews
An American Tragedy
is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream. Extraordinary in scope and power, vivid in its sense of wholesale human waste, unceasing in its rich compassion, An American Tragedy
stands as Theodore Dreiser's supreme achievement.
First published in 1925 and based on an actual criminal case, An American Tragedy was the inspiration for the 1951 film A Place in the Sun, which won six Academy Awards and starred Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
In Theodore Dreiser's classic portrait of the dark side of the American dream, Clyde Griffiths finds his social-climbing aspirations and love for a rich and beautiful debutante threatened when his lower-class pregnant girlfriend gives him an ultimatum.
About the Author
Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1871. The ninth child of German immigrants, he experienced considerable poverty as a child and was forced to leave home in search of work at the age of fifteen.After briefly attending Indiana University, Dreiser found work as a reporter at the Chicago Globe. Later he worked for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the St. Louis Republic, and the Pittsburgh Dispatch, before moving to New York, where he worked for the New York World while attempting to establish himself as a novelist. Dreiser was influenced by such authors as Charles Edward Russell, David Graham Phillips, and Frank Norris. In fact, it was Norris, who was working for Doubleday at the time, who helped get Dreiser's first novel, Sister Carrie, published. However, the Doubleday owners disapproved of the novel's subject matter, so it was not promoted and therefore sold poorly.Dreiser continued to work as a journalist as well as write for mainstream newspapers, such as the Saturday Evening Post. At the same time, his work was being published in such socialist magazines as the Call. However, unlike many of his literary friends, he never joined the Socialist Party. Dreiser's second novel, Jennie Gerhardt, was not published until 1911. With the support of the literary critic Floyd Dell, who considered Dreiser a major writer, Sister Carrie was republished in 1912. This was followed by two novels: The Financier and The Titan, which is about Frank Cowperwood, a power-hungry business tycoon. The Genius was published in 1915, but it was another ten years before Dreiser's greatest novel, An American Tragedy, appeared. The book is based on the Chester Gillette and Grace Brown murder case that took place in 1906.In addition to novels, Dreiser, a socialist, wrote several nonfiction books on political issues, including Dreiser Looks at Russia, Tragic America, and America Is Worth Saving. Dreiser joined the American Communist Party just before he died in 1945. Dan John Miller is an American actor and musician. In the Oscar-winning Walk the Line, he starred as Johnny Cash's guitarist and best friend, Luther Perkins, and has also appeared in George Clooney's Leatherheads and My One and Only, with Renee Zellweger. An award-winning audiobook narrator, Dan has garnered multiple Audie Award nominations, winning for The Wrecking Crew by Kent Hartman; has twice been named a Best Voice by AudioFile magazine; and has received several AudioFile Golden Earphones Awards and a Listen-Up Award from Publishers Weekly. He has narrated books by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Roth as well as by Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, John Green, Nora Roberts, and Dean Koontz. Dan lives in the Detroit, Michigan, area with his wife, Tracee Mae, and their daughter, Frances Rose.