The gritty, controversial story of a life devoted to art and sensuality from the Nobel Prize–winning author of Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy.
Driven to experience life beyond the small Illinois town of his youth, Eugene Witla makes his way to Chicago, where he is immediately drawn to the buzz of the city and the sexual freedom of bohemian life. At the Chicago Art Institute, he studies painting, soon making a name for himself as a gifted urban realist. Throughout his life, Witla’s commitment to his art is rivaled only by his need for erotic adventure. In love and marriage, and from Chicago to New York to the cities of Europe, Witla finds himself at odds with convention and pays a profound cost for his struggle.
First published in 1915, The “Genius”, Theodore Dreiser’s most personal and provocative novel, was declared obscene by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, and under threat of legal action, it was recalled from bookstores. Rereleased in 1923, it went on to establish Dreiser’s reputation as a writer ahead of his time, giving unparalleled insight into the mind of a prodigy.
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Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945) was an American novelist best known for his naturalistic novels. He wrote commercial hits such as The “Genius”, The Financer, and Sister Carrie, the latter of which was adapted into the Academy Award–nominated film Carrie. Besides writing seminal hits, Dreiser was a socialist and political activist who fought for victims of social justice. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1930.