Theodore Dreiser

Theodore Dreiser was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. He is known for pioneering novels that depict the harsh realities of life in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. His notable works include 'Sister Carrie' and 'An American Tragedy,' which explore themes of social inequality, materialism, and moral ambiguity. Dreiser's writing style is characterized by its detailed realism and exploration of the inner lives of his characters.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. An American Tragedy

    This classic novel explores the dark side of the American Dream through the story of a young man who, despite his humble beginnings, aspires to climb the social ladder. He becomes involved with two women, one wealthy and one from a working-class background. His ambition and desire for status lead him to commit a crime that ultimately results in his downfall. The novel is a stark examination of the destructive power of unchecked ambition and the moral compromises people are willing to make in pursuit of wealth and status.

    The 162nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Sister Carrie

    The novel follows a young country girl who moves to the big city where she starts realizing her own American Dream by first becoming a mistress to men she perceives as superior and later as a famous actress. It is a portrayal of the realities of the modern city and the complexities of the modern world, illustrating the influence of consumer culture on the individual. Despite her moral decline, the protagonist's rise to fame seems to defy the conventional social norms and moral values, making the novel a notable instance of naturalist literature.

    The 417th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Titan

    "The Titan" is a novel that continues the story of a ruthless and ambitious businessman as he expands his empire in the early 20th-century United States. Having conquered the streetcar industry, the protagonist now sets his sights on utilities and finance, using his wealth and power to manipulate stock markets, bribe officials, and crush any opposition. His personal life is equally tumultuous, filled with affairs and scandals that threaten his marriage and social standing. This narrative serves as a critique of the American Dream and the capitalist fervor of the time, exploring themes of greed, corruption, and the quest for power at the expense of ethics and human relationships.

    The 2276th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Jennie Gerhardt

    This novel tells the poignant story of Jennie Gerhardt, a young woman of humble origins who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances and societal pressures, becomes involved with two different men of higher social standing throughout her life. Set against the backdrop of late 19th-century America, the narrative explores themes of love, class disparity, and the struggle for personal dignity. Jennie's character embodies resilience and moral complexity as she navigates the challenges posed by her relationships and the harsh judgments of society, ultimately highlighting the human capacity for endurance and the quest for happiness amidst societal constraints.

    The 2845th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Stoic

    This novel serves as the concluding chapter in the life of its protagonist, a wealthy and influential businessman whose journey through success, love, and personal evolution has been chronicled in previous works. Set against the backdrop of early 20th-century America, the narrative delves into the protagonist's introspective quest for meaning beyond material wealth and societal status. As he faces the twilight of his life, he grapples with the philosophical and existential questions that have shadowed him, seeking solace in the principles of Stoicism. Through his reflections and relationships, the story explores themes of ambition, morality, and the search for a tranquil mind amidst the inevitable trials of life.

    The 3238th Greatest Book of All Time