An American Tragedy | Critical Essay by William Lyon Phelps

This literature criticism consists of approximately 3 pages of analysis & critique of An American Tragedy.
This section contains 714 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by William Lyon Phelps

SOURCE: "As I Like It," in Scribner's Magazine, Vol. LXXIX, No. 4, April, 1926, pp. 431-38.

In the following review, Phelps dismisses An American Tragedy as a second-rate novel, concluding "I cannot believe that this work, hampered by such clumsy composition, will be read in the next century."

And now let me tackle that two-handed engine of naturalism, Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, where we follow the fortunes of a nincompoop from childhood to the chair. What A. E. Housman told in a page Mr. Dreiser tells in two volumes. Yet his steam-roller method gains, I suppose, by crushing out all this accumulated mass of detail. The style is clumsy and awkward; it has as much grace as an ichthyosaurus in a quagmire. But it is all true, unanswerably true. It is the naturalistic method of Zola. And if the novelist chooses to select from life...

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This section contains 714 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by William Lyon Phelps
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Critical Essay by William Lyon Phelps from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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