The "Genius"

Theodore Dreiser

The 'Genius', by Theodore Dreiser - click to see full size image

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The 'Genius' is a novel by American writer Theodore Dreiser, first published in 1915. The story revolves around the life of Eugene Witla, a talented artist striving to achieve recognition and success in the early 20th century art world. Eugene is depicted as a passionate and ambitious individual with a gift for creating art, but he faces numerous challenges and setbacks in his pursuit of artistic greatness, the main one being his inability to control his lust. Eugene's personal and professional life becomes complicated as he navigates relationships with various women, including Angela, his wife, and Suzanne, a teenager he is deeply infatuated with. A semi-autobiographical novel, The 'Genius' was declared potentially obscene and Dreiser's publishers, getting nervous, recalled the book from bookstores - it didn't get broad distribution until 1923 after petitions signed by the likes of Willa Cather and Jack London, directly opposed the censorship of the book. A foreword in the 1923 edition stated - 'It has been urged that this book is detrimental to the morals of the young and might have had a bad effect upon people with weak moral sense, but are thousands of perfectly normal and responsible people to be denied this form of aesthetic stimulation simply because it is harmful to children and perverts?'

Part of Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

This book has 305,943 words, 512 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1915.

Production notes: This ebook of The "Genius" was published by Global Grey on the 24th October 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Reverie' by Charles-Amable Lenoir.

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