Pagan Dreiser: Songs from American Mythology

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Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 235 pages
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Pagan Dreiser: Songs from American Mythology recontextualizes the eight novels of Theodore Dreiser with regard to his pervasive allusions, both in passing and at deep structural levels, in classical Greek myth, epic, and drama. His so-called naturalism, his elusive social criticism, and his unique approaches to sexuality, gender, and religion are often dictated by Dreiser's self-characterized "pagan" outlook, which itself reflected a larger cultural movement of early-twentieth-century America. Dreiser is reconsidered in the company of his modernist contemporaries, such as Eliot and Joyce, who drew heavily on ordered myth systems in order to dramatize the instability of the World War I era.
 

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Contents

1 Naturalism
27
Proem
37
Modern Mimesis
50
The American Tragedian
60
Social Criticism
74
Hesoid and the Work Ethic
91
Logos
101
Gender and Sexuality
116
Whom the Gods Would Destroy
131
A Gallery of Women and the Paradoxes of Male Subjectivity
147
Religion Mythology and Intertextuality
164
American Mythos
181
Notes
201
Works Cited
221
Index
229
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