The Genius (Paperback)
The "Genius" (1915) is a novel by Theodore Dreiser. Based partly on his own experience as an artist from the Midwest, The "Genius" examines the nature of talent, the difficulty of desire, and the meaning of faith itself. Although he had high hopes for the novel, reviews were mixed, and sales suffered due to charges of obscenity. Some critics, however, praised Dreiser's openness on sex and desire, opposing the censorship targeting the author's work. Eugene Witla may have been born in a small Midwestern town, but his dreams look past the farmland and fields of his youth to the towers and streets of Chicago. He enrolls at the Chicago Art Institute to study painting, but ultimately spends more time with women than he does in class. Despite his desire to continue his faithless ways, Eugene agrees to marry his lover Angela. Together, they move to New York City, where Eugene's urban realist style is in high demand from critics and galleries alike. At every turn, however, he feels held back by his obligation to Angela, who has no creative inclination and seems happy to live a simple, anonymous life. On a trip to Europe, Eugene suffers a breakdown and ultimately decides to abandon his art, turning to advertising instead. Although he claims to be satisfied, his behavior soon proves otherwise. The "Genius" is a story of romance, heartache, and betrayal that says as much about a single man as it does about the values of an entire society. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Theodore Dreiser's The "Genius" is a classic of American literature reimagined for modern readers.