Theodore Dreiser is usually hailed as a pioneer of American realism who freed American literature from Victorian restraints, from nineteenth century idealism and optimism, and from the ever-present moralizing of domestic sentimentalism. It is interesting to note, however, that this shockingly modern trailblazer not only stands at the dawn of a new era in literature, but also at the twilight of the old, for in Dreiser is a mixture of both the new realism and naturalism and the old sentimentalism that had dominated American literature from its inception.

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Copyright © 1970, College Language Association. This article first appeared in CLA Journal: 14 (1970), 127-142.

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