McTeague: a story of San Francisco

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Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, Mar 1, 1964 - Fiction - 348 pages
Inspired by an actual crime that was sensationalized in the San Francisco papers, this novel tells the story of charlatan dentist McTeague and his wife Trina, and their spiralling descent into moral corruption. Norris is often considered to be the "American Zola," and this passionate tale of greed, degeneration, and death is one of the most purely naturalistic American novels of the nineteenth century. It is also one of the first major works of literature set in California, and it provided the story for Erich von Stroheim's classic of the silent screen, Greed.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aratiel - www.librarything.com

Read this for my college Fiction class. Years later, I had a downstairs neighbor in my apartment that reminded me of McTeague, only I couldn't put my finger on it at the time. Scary. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - abycats - LibraryThing

Written at the end of the 19th century, the pacing and language is certainly not modern. But the people and events, and their inexorable road to disaster, still hold true in current times. Today's ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
16
Section 3
31
Copyright

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About the author (1964)

Considered one of the leading pioneers in American naturalism, Frank Norris is read and studied for his vivid and honest depiction of life at the beginning of a lusty and developing new century. Born in Chicago, he moved to San Francisco with his well-to-do family when he was 14 and went on to attend the University of California and Harvard University before becoming a war correspondent in South Africa and Cuba. His early apprentice work consisted mostly of rather unremarkable adventure stories, but, with the long-gestating McTeague: A Story of San Francisco (1899), he struck a new note. That powerful study of avarice in a seedy section of the Bay Area may well be Norris's masterpiece. The Octopus (1901), the first of Norris's projected Epic of the Wheat series, deals with the raising of wheat in California and the struggle of ranchers against the railroads, while The Pit (1903) is a novel about speculation on the Chicago wheat exchange. Unfortunately, Norris died suddenly after an operation for appendicitis and did not write The Wolf, in which the wheat as a symbol of life-force was to feed a famine-stricken village in Europe. Vandover and the Brute (1914), the manuscript of which was lost during the San Francisco earthquake and rediscovered for publication in 1914, is an early work admired as representative of American naturalism. Like Stephen Crane, a writer with whom Norris is frequently compared, Norris died too young to fulfill his considerable promise, but he has more than held his own ground among turn-of-the-century writers whose works have lived. One reason may be that he took his craft as a writer seriously, as is shown by his posthumously published Responsibilities of the Novelist and Other Literary Essays (1903) and The Literary Criticism of Frank Norris, edited by Donald Pizer.

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