Theodore Dreiser Author:F. O. Matthiessen When Theodore Dreiser began to write, American fiction was still largely in the stultifying grip of the "genteel tradition." "Art" was often confused with politeness and delicacy, and through Dreiser's passionate concern to see American life as it was truly lived he helped to bring the novel back to the realm of actual ex... more »perience. . . .
F.O. Matthiessen, was critic and scholar, and Professor of American Literature at Harvard. One felt in reading Matthiessen's criticism that it was the writing of a full man who brought to his study of a particular author far more than a knowledge of that author's literary ancestors. If he spoke with such authority of certain books and writers it was partly because his experience was not limited to what can be learnt from books.« less