An American Tragedy
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Perhaps his best known and most controversial, Theodore Dreiser's epic novel An American Tragedy was published in 1925, near the middle of the author's career, and was the first to earn him wealth and recognition. His inspiration for the story came from real-life crime he'd spent time researching and, with this unique insight, he created a compelling and dark portrayal of the American Dream--one which showed man's capacity to be corrupted by his desire for wealth and status. The novel is often considered a landmark achievement in naturalism, a literary style which depicts its characters' fates as the products of hereditary and environmental factors rather than their own free-will. While establishing Theodore Dreiser's place as a quintessential American author, An American Tragedy has earned its rank amongst the decade's best literary works.