Theodore Dreiser's Uncollected Magazine Articles, 1897-1902

Theodore Dreiser's Uncollected Magazine Articles, 1897-1902

Theodore Dreiser's Uncollected Magazine Articles, 1897-1902

Theodore Dreiser's Uncollected Magazine Articles, 1897-1902

Synopsis

Before writing his first novel, "Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser contributed these previously uncollected articles to various popular magazines around the turn of the nineteenth century, such as "Success, Ainslee's, Cosmopolitan, Metropolitan, Demorest's, Pearson's, Everybody's Harper's Monthly, and "Truth. This body of nonfiction writing reflects not only Dreiser the novelist but the turn of the century, an exciting era in the development of American culture and society.

Excerpt

Before Theodore Dreiser tried his hand at writing a novel, the famous Sister Carrie, published late in 1900 but suppressed for seven years, he was a successful magazine writer. He did not accomplish this writing overnight. As an apprentice the twenty-year-old college dropout wrote his first newspaper article for the Chicago Globe in 1892. For three years the young Dreiser earned his living as a newspaper reporter in Chicago, St. Louis, Toledo, Pittsburgh, and finally in New York. in 1895 he was working for the New York World but the owner Joseph Pulitzer's dictatorial personality and the ferocious working conditions for cub reporters did not suit his temperament. the young journalist was appalled at the discrepancy between the appearance of such a moralizing paper as the World and the merciless reality of its internal struggle. Only after a few months of frustrating, underpaid work did Dreiser leave the profession for good.

In 1895, the young journalist was ambitious and had a great deal of confidence in his writing ability but he scarcely knew what was in store for him. During the next few years Dreiser nevertheless made up his mind to become a novelist, and whatever move he made he was anxiously awaiting an opportunity to write as uninhibitedly as possible. in May 1895 his brother Paul Dresser, fortunately, was a partner in the newly established music firm of Howley, Haviland … Company in New York. They were thinking of starting a magazine to promote their music sales. Frederick B. Haviland—still a shareholder of another firm, the Ditson Company, which published a popular magazine called Musical Record—argued that another magazine in the field would sell. Although Dreiser knew practically nothing about music then, he agreed with Haviland and proposed that they let him edit the magazine. Dreiser got the job, which paid as poorly as did the newspaper, but it rescued him from stress and overwork. He named the magazine Ev'ry Month, and its first issue appeared on 1 October 1895 with a description on the cover, “Edited and Arranged by Theodore Dreiser.” Not only was he proud, he thrived on the work at the office in the midst of a vaudevillian trying out a new song with piano, as vividly described in “Whence the Song,” which appeared in the December 1900 issue of Harper's Weekly.

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