Two literary responses to American society in the early modern era : a comparison of selected novels by Theodore Dreiser and Upton Sinclair in relation to their portrayal of the immigrant, the city, the business tycoon, women, and the problem of labour, 1900-1929
Bendjeddou, Mohamed Yazid (1985) Two literary responses to American society in the early modern era : a comparison of selected novels by Theodore Dreiser and Upton Sinclair in relation to their portrayal of the immigrant, the city, the business tycoon, women, and the problem of labour, 1900-1929. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1445820~S15
This thesis analyses the responses of Theodore Dreiser and Upton
Sinclair to American society in the early modern era through their
treatment of the immigrant, the city, the business tycoon, women, and the
labour problem. The role of Dreiser and Sinclair as critics of American
society has often been dealt with and highly praised. Although the
thesis also discusses this particular aspect, its main purpose lies with
the comparison of Dreiser's and Sinclair's ideological and literary
responses to these socio-economic issues.
The study starts with an account of the literary climate of the
time. It shows that American literature at the close of the nineteenth
century and in the early beginning of the twentieth century stems from
the socio-economic and political unrest of the Gilded Age. American
writers demonstrated an increasing concern with the evil consequences of
the new technological development and felt it was their duty to record
the prevailing conditions and express their reactions. They used the
realist technique to describe things as they were and adopted naturalism
to give a scientific study of their society. As a mirror of American
society at the outset of the twentieth century, American fiction
reflected the unrest and contradictions of this period and gave a clearer
insight into the inner responses of American writers to the new order.
It revealed that in spite of a general feeling of anxiety and disillusionment
among American writers, individual reactions against the
current events were diverse. They varied from an attitude of resignation
and pessimistic speculations about America's future to an active desire
to break rising capitalism and to reform American society. This analysis
of Dreiser's and Sinclair's responses to some of the problems of America
has been placed to a large extent in this divided socio-economic and
literary climate. Thus while the comparison shows the two writers'
strong indictment of American society, it also shows two distinct
ideological and literary responses to its upheavals.
Then the main body of the study divides into six chapters. Chapter
one compares the socio-political and literary views of Dreiser and
Sinclair and gives, thus, an idea about the spirit with which they
treated their subject matter and the course of their literary works.
This chapter also deals with the relationship between Dreiser and
Sinclair in an attempt to find traces of a debate between the two writers
on the socio-economic and literary situations in America. The following
chapters focus on Dreiser's and Sinclair's treatment of the immigrant,
the city, the business tycoon, women, and the labour problem. Each of
these chapters starts with a brief historical account of the subject of
study as a background to the fiction. Then it shows Dreiser's and
Sinclair's respective concern with, and experience of, the problem, and
moves onto the analysis of their literary treatment of it.
The aim of this thesis has been to show that no matter what their
artistic, ideological, and philosophical beliefs, American writers in the
years of unrest which followed the large-scale industrialisation in their
country, were called to assume their social responsibilities and
contribute to the cause of social improvement.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature > PS American literature|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945 -- Criticism and interpretation, Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968 -- Criticism and interpretation, United States -- Social conditions -- 20th century, American literature -- 20th century|
|Official Date:||October 1985|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies|
|Sponsors:||Algeria. Wizārat al-Ta'līm al-'Aĺī [Ministry of Higher Education]|
|Extent:||ii, 368 leaves|
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