Friday, July 05, 2013

Theodore Dreiser

You can't get very far in reading Swanberg's "Dreiser" without concluding on the evidence fairly and fully  offered, that Dreiser was,  almost at his beginning,  in every way just so plain "awful" - a natural-born cheap bastard; actively dishonest whenever he had the chance, stupidly and grossly undiscerning when discernment was called for; and voluminous producer of perhaps the worst English prose ever yet found and printed and bound in books

It really all boiled down to the problem of censorship. Dreiser's "greatness" as a writer consisted of his "boldness" in writing about sexual matters.  He would write as he saw fit and if the self-appointed "vice societies" got his books banned, so be it. All Liberal writers found this stand excitingly admirable,  but in their excitement many of them plainly managed to make themselves blind to the fact that the un-excised lines were as execrable as all the other lines,  and that the unchanged words were no more "unjust" than all the other words - James Cozzens

No comments: