A Hoosier Holiday

Front Cover
John Lane Company, 1916 - Indiana - 513 pages

By 1914, Theodore Dreiser was a successful writer living in New York. He had not been back to his home state in over 20 years. When his friend, the Indiana-born artist Franklin Booth, approached him with the idea of driving from New York to Indiana, Dreiser's response to Booth was immediate: "All my life I've been thinking of making a return trip to Indiana and writing a book about it". So was born the literary genre -- the American automobile road book. Along the route, Dreiser recorded his impressions of the people and land in words while his traveling companion sketched some of these scenes. In this reflective tale, Dreiser and Booth cross four states, covering 2,000 miles in two weeks, to arrive at Indiana and the sites and memories of Dreiser's early life in Terre Haute, Sullivan, Evansville, Warsaw, and his year at Indiana University.

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Contents

I
15
II
22
III
26
IV
31
V
37
VI
44
VII
52
VIII
67
XXXVIII
266
XXXIX
275
XL
285
XLI
292
XLII
300
XLIII
307
XLIV
311
XLV
319

IX
77
XI
83
XII
94
XIII
100
XIV
109
XV
118
XVI
125
XVII
132
XIX
143
XXI
152
XXII
161
XXIII
171
XXIV
178
XXV
184
XXVI
192
XXVII
199
XXVIII
206
XXIX
216
XXXII
222
XXXIII
231
XXXIV
237
XXXV
246
XXXVII
258
XLVI
329
XLVII
337
XLVIII
348
XLIX
359
L
372
LI
381
LII
387
LIII
398
LIV
403
LV
411
LVII
421
LVIII
430
LIX
436
LXI
442
LXIII
450
LXIV
456
LXV
467
LXVI
477
LXVII
488
LXVIII
498
LXX
507
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Page 264 - The adventurous sun took Heaven by storm; Clouds scattered largesses of rain ; The sounding cities, rich and warm, Smouldered and glittered in the plain. Sometimes it was a wandering wind, Sometimes the fragrance of the pine, Sometimes the thought how others sinned, That turned her sweet blood into wine. Sometimes she heard a serenade Complaining sweetly far away : She said, ' A young man woos a maid ' ; And dreamt of love till break of day.
Page 408 - Man that is born of a woman Is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down; He fleeth as a shadow and continueth not.
Page 286 - Saint Simon or Francis of Assisi, and yet a charming person if it had been possible to get his mind off the subject of religion for more than three seconds at a time. He worked, ate, prayed, slept and dreamed religion.
Page 394 - Dreiser long remembered one of his father's dramatizations of eternal torment: I recall his once telling me that, if a small bird were to come only once every million or trillion years and rub its bill on a rock as big as the earth, the rock would be worn out before a man would see the end of hell — eternal, fiery torture — once he was in it. And then he would not see the end of it, but merely the beginning.18 To such a hell, their father believed, all his American children were condemned.
Page 264 - For still night's starry scroll unfurled, And still the day came like a flood: It was the greatness of the world That made her long to use her blood.
Page 94 - ... which we are living — now. It is rather odd to stand in the presence of so great a thing in the making and realize that you are looking at one of the true wonders of the world.
Page 62 - Involved in this fight are questions weightier than any question of dollars and cents. The present miner has had his day. He has been oppressed and ground down; but there is another generation coming up, a generation of little children prematurely doomed to the whirl of the mill and the noise and the blackness of the breaker. It is for these children that we are fighting. We have not underestimated the strength of our opponents; we have not overestimated our own power of resistance.
Page 173 - The spirit of America at that time was so remarkable. It was just entering on that vast, splendid, most lawless and most savage period in which the great financiers, now nearly all dead, were plotting and conniving the enslavement of the people and belaboring each other for power. These crude and parvenu dynasties which now sit enthroned in our democracy, threatening its very life with their pretensions and assumptions, were just in the beginning.
Page 155 - Supposing, for instance, that one could reason through to the socalled solution, actually found it, and then had to live with that bit of exact knowledge and no more forever and ever and ever! Give me, instead, sound and fury, signifying nothing. Give me the song sung by an idiot, dancing down the wind. Give me this gay, sad, mad seeking and never finding about which we are all so feverishly employed. It is so perfect, this inexplicable mystery.

About the author (1916)

Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, the twelfth of 13 children. His childhood was spent in poverty, or near poverty, and his family moved often. In spite of the constant relocations, Dreiser managed to attend school, and, with the financial aid of a sympathetic high school teacher, he was able to attend Indiana University. However, the need for income forced him to leave college after one year and take a job as a reporter in Chicago. Over the next 10 years, Dreiser held a variety of newspaper jobs in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and finally New York. He published his first novel, Sister Carrie in 1900, but because the publisher's wife considered its language and subject matter too "strong", it was barely advertised and went almost unnoticed. Today it is regarded as one of Dreiser's best works. It is the story of Carrie, a young woman from the Midwest, who manages to rise to fame and fortune on the strength of her personality and ambition, through her acting talent, and via her relationships with various men. Much of the book's controversy came from the fact that it portrayed a young woman who engages in sexual relationships without suffering the poverty and social downfall that were supposed to be the "punishment" for such "sin." Dreiser's reputation has increased instrumentally over the years. His best book and first popular success, An American Tragedy (1925), is now considered a major American novel, and his other works are widely taught in college courses. Like Sister Carrie, An American Tragedy also tells the story of an ambitious young person from the Midwest. In this case, however, the novel's hero is a man who is brought to ruin because of a horrible action he commits - he murders a poor young woman whom he has gotten pregnant, but whom he wants to discard in favor of a wealthy young woman who represents luxury and social advancement. As Dreiser portrays him, the young man is a victim of an economic system that torments so many with their lack of privilege and power and temps them to unspeakable acts. Dreiser is also known for the Coperwood Trilogy - The Financier (1912), The Titan (1914), and the posthumously published The Store (1947). Collectively the three books paint the portrait of a brilliant and ruthless "financial buccaneer." Dreiser is associated with Naturalism, a writing style that also includes French novelist Emile Zola. Naturalism seeks to portray all the social forces that shape the lives of the characters, usually conveying a sense of the inevitable doom that these forces must eventually bring about. Despite this apparent pessimism, Dreiser had faith in socialism as a solution to what he saw as the economic injustices of American capitalism. His socialist views were reinforced by a trip to the newly socialist Soviet Union, and in fact, Dreiser is still widely read in that country. There, as here, he is seen as a powerful chronicler of the injustices and ambitions of his time. Dreiser officially joined the Communist Party shortly before his death in 1945.

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