New York: Boni & Liveright, 1925. Limited Edition. Two volumes in original publishers' boards. One of 795 deluxe copies, this one marked for Presentation, signed on the limitation page and additionally inscribed on the title: "For Mary Gold, who slaved on this. Theodore Dreiser." An excellent copy in all, with an important association.
"Dreiser is widely regarded as the strongest of the novelists who have written about America as a business civilization. No one else confronted so directly the sheer intractibility of American social life and institutions, or dramatized with such solicitousness and compassion the difficulty of breaking free from social law. Dreiser had a genius for factuality: he recreated the inner workings of a factory, a stock exchange, a luxury hotel; he was definitive" (The New Yorker). Among the greatest of his works stands An American Tragedy, with its emphasis on sexual obsession and unquenchable desire. Indeed, the despair that characterizes the novel seems to stem from Dreiser's own troubled Catholicism and fascination with true crime. "The germ of the novel was a newspaper story of 1906: A young man was convicted of drowning a pregnant girl in Upstate New York...Dreiser clipped accounts of the case and brooded over it for years" and in the end he hoped to create "a crime sensation of the first magnitude, with all those intriguingly colorful yet morally atrocious elements -- love, romance, wealth, poverty, death" (The New Yorker). Very Good + (Item #2644)