American Literature From 19041920


American Literature From 1904-1920 Essay, Research Paper

American Literature from 1904-1920

The theme from 1904-1920 in American Literature was realism and

criticism. One writer of this time was Theodore Dreiser. Theodore Dreiser was born on

August 27th, 1871 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Dreiser was a reporter for the Chicago Daily

Globe in 1892.

Theodore Dreiser

His first novel was Sister Carrie in 1899. It is about a small town girl who

moves to Chicago and becomes a Broadway star in New York City and became famous.

It sold less than 500 copies. This disappointment of his book, and marriage troubles

made Dreiser want to commit suicide. He was rescued in 1901 by his brother Paul. He

arranged a special treatment for Theodore. He recovered and in the next nine years

became editor in chief of several women s magazines. He was

forced to give up his job in 1910.

After his job at the magazine company he returned back to writing fiction.

His second book Jennie Gerhardt in 1911 was about a woman who falls for rich men

and takes their money.

The Financier (1912) and The Titan (1914). The first two books of a trilogy delt

with a late American financier named Charles T. Yerke. He was named

Frank Cowperwood in the book. Cowperwood plotted monopolies.


First in Philadelphia and then in Chicago. It also tells about his other business dealings

and his marital relations. The third book of the trilogy, The Stoic (1947) wasn t as

popular as his other two.

After the first two books of his trilogy he wrote down his experiences

on a trip to Europe. The book was called A Traveler at Forty (1913). In his next major

book, The Genius (1915), he wrote down his own life and love relationships into a


Theodore Dreiser also wrote a short-story collection, Free and

Others stories (1918); a book of sketches, Twelve men (1919); essays, Hey-Rub-a-

Dub-Dub (1920); a description of New York, The Color of a Great City (1923); works

of drama, Plays of the Natural and Supernatural (1916); and The Hand Potter

(1918); and a autobiography A Hoosier Holiday (1916).

Upton Sinclair was another writer of realism and criticism. Sinclair was born

on September 20th 1878 in Baltimore Maryland. Sinclair graduated from the college of

New York City in 1897. He wrote The Jungle in 1906, and it was his sixth book. It was

about the cruel working conditions in a Chicago meat-packing industry in which led to a

search by the federal government. He said that I aimed at the public s heart and by

accident I hit it in the stomach. (Upton Sinclair) It became a best seller but he had to pay

to publish it because 5 publishing companies rejected it.


He used his money he made and opened Helicon Hall in Englewood, N.J.

The building burnt down in 1907.

Eugene O Neill

The dead, why can t the dead die. (Eugene O Neill) That was a quote by

Eugene O Neill. O Neill was born in 1888 in New York City. He is to be the most

important writer in the American Theater. He went to Princeton University from 1906 to

1907, and worked as a clerk in New York City. From 1909 to 1912 O Neill looked for

gold in Honduras, went to South America and South Africa as a seaman, and worked as

a newspaper reporter in New London.

Through 1914 to 1915, O Neill attended Harvard University to learn

playwriting.He was Taught by George Pierce Baker.

In the next ten years O Neill lived in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and

in New York. He was a manager for the Provincetown Players. One of his plays was

Bound East for Cardiff (1916), and Hairy Ape (1922). Beyond the Horizon (1920)

was a Pulitzer Prize winner. It was very successful on Broadway and so was The

Emperor Jones (1920).

O Neill also wrote Moon of the Caribees (1918), Anna Christie

(1921; Pulitzer Prize winner), All God s Chillun Got wings (1914), Desire Under the

Elms (1924),


The Great God Brown (1926), Lazarus Laughed (1928), Marco Millions (1928),

Dynamo (1929), and Days without End (1934).

In 1953, O Neill died Parkinson s disease. In his life he won 4

Pulitzer prizes and a Nobel Prize for literature. I can see why he can be the most

important writer in American History.


I learned a lot about American Literature form this report. A lot of the

things mentioned from our social studies book was found in the encyclopedia.

This topic wasn t to interesting but I m glad I did it because I didn t know to much

about this. I also learned from this report that there were many good authors during that

time period and that these people loved literature.


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