Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
"American writing, before and after Dreiser's time, differed almost as much as biology before and after Darwin," said H. L. Mencken. Sister Carrie, Dreiser's great first novel, transformed the conventional "fallen woman" story into a bold and truly innovative piece of fiction when it appeared in 1900. NaÏve young Caroline Meeber, a small-town girl seduced by the lure of the modern city, becomes the mistress of a traveling salesman and then of a saloon manager, who elopes with her to New York. Both its subject matter and Dreiser's unsparing, nonjudgmental approach made Sister Carrie a controversial book in its time, and the work retains the power to shock readers today.
"Sister Carrie came to housebound and airless America like a great free Western wind, and to our stuffy domesticity gave us the first fresh air since Mark Twain and Whitman," noted Sinclair Lewis. "Dreiser enlarged, willy-nilly, by a kind of historical accident if you will, the range of American literature," observed Robert Penn Warren. "[Sister Carrie] is a vivid and absorbing work of art."
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Philosophy eBook: Sister Carrie|
|Release Date: 10-30-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Sister Carrie|
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THE MAGNET ATTRACTING:
A WAIF AMID FORCES
When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, 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. It was in August, 1889. She was eighteen years of age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting characterised her thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages now being given up. A gush of tears at her mother's farewell kiss, a touch in her throat when the cars clacked by the flour mill where her father worked by the day, a pathetic sigh as the familiar green environs of the village passed in review, and the threads which bound her so lightly to girlhood and home were irretrievably broken.
To be sure there was always the next station, where one might descend and return. There was the great city, bound more closely by these very trains which came up daily. Columbia City was not so very far away, even once she was in Chicago. What, pray, is a few hours a few hundred miles? She looked at the little slip bearing her sister's address and wondered. She gazed at the green landscape, now passing in swift review, until her swifter thoughts replaced its impression with vague conjectures of what Chicago might be.
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...