Theodore Dreiser, fully Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser

Theodore
Dreiser, fully Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser
1871
1945

American Novelist and Journalist of the Naturalist School

Author Quotes

In short, he was one of those early, daring manipulators who later were to seize upon other and even larger phases of American natural development for their own aggrandizement.

Belief in the greatness and dignity of Man has been the guiding principle of my life and work. The logic of my life and work leads me therefore to apply for membership in the Community Party.

But this is not what I should be doing either, is it? This is Lycurgus. I am a Griffiths, here. I know how these people feel toward me - their parents even. Do I really care for her? Is there not something about her quick and easy availability which, if not exactly dangerous in so far as my future here is concerned, is not quite satisfactory, - too quickly intimate?

Caroline, or Sister Carrie, as she had been half affectionately termed by the family, was possessed of a mind rudimentary in its power of observation and analysis. Self-interest with her was high, but not strong. It was, nevertheless, her guiding characteristic. Warm with the fancies of youth, pretty with the insipid prettiness of the formative period, possessed of a figure promising eventual shapeliness and an eye alight with certain native intelligence, she was a fair example of the middle American class?two generations removed from the emigrant. Books were beyond her interest?knowledge a sealed book. In the intuitive graces she was still crude. She could scarcely toss her head gracefully. Her hands were almost ineffectual. The feet, though small, were set flatly. And yet she was interested in her charms, quick to understand the keener pleasures of life, ambitious to gain in material things. A half-equipped little knight she was, venturing to reconnoitre the mysterious city and dreaming wild dreams of some vague, far-off supremacy, which should make it prey and subject?the proper penitent, grovelling at a woman's slipper.

Certainly he was honest, hard-working, and thrifty. They had been waiting a long time for the day when they could say they owned their own home and had a little something laid away for emergencies. That day had come, and life was not half bad. Their house was neat,-white with green shutters, surrounded by a yard with well-kept flower beds, a smooth lawn, and some few shapely and broad spreading trees. There was a front porch with rockers, a swing under one tree, a hammock under another, a buggy and several canvassing wagons in a nearby stable. Witla liked dogs, so there were two collies. Mrs. Witla liked live things, so there were a canary bird, a cat, some chickens, and a bird house set aloft on a pole where a few blue-birds made their home. It was a nice little place, and Mr. and Mrs. Witla were rather proud of it.

Cowperwood, who saw things in the large, could scarcely endure this minutae. He was but little interested in the affairs of bygone men and women, being so intensely engaged with the living present. And after a time he slipped outside, preferring the wide sweep of gardens, with their flower-lined walks and views of the cathedral. Its arches and towers and stained-glass windows, this whole carefully executed shrine, still held glamor, but all because of the hands and brains, aspirations and dreams of selfish and self-preserving creatures like himself. And so many of these, as he now mused, walking about, had warred over possession of this church. And now they were within its walls, graced and made respectable, the noble dead! Was any man noble? Had there ever been such a thing as an indubitably noble soul? He was scarcely prepared to believe it. Men killed to live?all of them ?and wallowed in lust in order to reproduce themselves. In fact, wars, vanities, pretenses, cruelties, greeds, lusts, murder, spelled their true history, with only the weak running to a mythical saviour or god for aid. And the strong using this belief in a god to further the conquest of the weak. And by such temples or shrines as this. He looked, meditated, and was somehow touched with the futility of so.

Every person according to his light, said Ames You must help the world express itself. Use will make your powers endure...

First of all, this thing called money a moral obligation may have to find a response to sale items and fair labor laws busaal force at the time we realize that not everyone in our society, politics and religion is very much nonsense is continuing on the road to disappear.

For it pained him not a little to think that some one of whom he had once been so continuously fond up to this time should be made to suffer through jealousy of him, for he himself well knew the pangs of jealousy in connection with Hortense. He could for some reason almost see himself in Roberta?s place.

He was a quick, wiry, active man of no great stature, sandy-haired, with blue eyes with noticeable eye-brows, an eagle nose, and a rather radiant and ingratiating smile. Service as a canvassing salesman, endeavoring to persuade recalcitrant wives and indifferent or conservative husbands to realize that they really needed a new machine in their home, had taught him caution, tact, savoir faire. He knew how to approach people pleasantly. His wife thought too much so.

A human can be great not only due to his mind but also feelings.

A thought will color a world for us.

And yet, before he had ever earned any money at all, he had always told himself that if only he had a better collar, a nicer shirt, a good suit, a swell overcoat, like some boys had!

Art is the stored honey of the human soul.

As for the parents of Roberta, they were excellent examples of that native type of Americanism which resists facts and reveres illusion. Titus Alden was one of that vast company of individuals who are born, pass through and die out of the world without ever quite getting any one thing straight. They appear, blunder, and end in a fog. Like his two brothers, both older and almost as nebulous, Titus was a farmer solely because his father had been a farmer. And he was here on this farm because it had been willed to him and because it was easier to stay here and try to work this than it was to go elsewhere. He was a Republican because his father before him was a Republican and because this county was Republican. It never occurred to him to be otherwise. And, as in the case of his politics and his religion, he had borrowed all his notions of what was right and wrong from those about him. A single, serious, intelligent or rightly informing book had never been read by any member of this family - not one. But they were nevertheless excellent, as conventions, morals and religions go - honest, upright, God-fearing and respectable.

At that time, the reputation of the detective William A. Pinkerton and his reference agencies was very important. The man had risen by a series of vicissitudes of poverty to high standing in his weird and obnoxious to some people profession, but for all who need them to be unhappy Services, was his well-known and patriotic role in the civil war and to Abraham Lincoln person a recommendation. He, or rather his organization had this protected during the entire duration of his stormy tenure in the Government Palace. His company had to call offices in Philadelphia, Washington and New York only the most important places.

At the same time so innately pagan and unconventional were his thoughts in regard to all this that he could now ask himself, and that seriously enough, why should he not be allowed to direct his thoughts toward her and away from Roberta, since at the moment Sondra supplied the keener thought of delight, Roberta could not know about this. She could not see into his mind, could she - become aware of any such extra experience as this unless he told her. And most assuredly he did not intend to tell her. And what harm, he now asked himself, was there in a poor youth like himself aspiring to such heights? Other youths as poor as himself had married girls as rich as Sondra.

The most futile thing in this world is any attempt, perhaps, at exact definition of character. All individuals are a bundle of contradictions — none more so than the most capable.

The mystery of life--its inexplicability, beauty, cruelty, tenderness, folly . . . has occupied the greater part of my waking thoughts; and in reverence or rage or irony, as the moment or situation might dictate, I have pondered and even demanded of cosmic energy to know Why.

The principal thing that troubled Clyde up to his fifteenth year, and for long after in retrospect, was that the calling or profession of his parents was the shabby thing that it appeared to be in the eyes of others.

The thing that impressed me then as now about New York ... was the sharp, and at the same time immense, contrast it showed between the dull and the shrewd, the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignorant.... The strong, or those who ultimately dominated, were so very strong, and the weak so very, very weak — and so very, very many.

The whole earth was brimming sunshine that morning. She tripped along, the clear sky pouring liquid blue into her soul.

To the untraveled, territory other than their own familiar heath is invariably fascinating. Next to love, it is the one thing which solaces and delights.

When a girl leaves her home at eighteen, she does one of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse.

When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small truck, a cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in Van Buren Street, and four dollars in money.

Author Picture
First Name
Theodore
Last Name
Dreiser, fully Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser
Birth Date
1871
Death Date
1945
Bio

American Novelist and Journalist of the Naturalist School