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.
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
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.