I have to find a way to enhance my experience with An American Tragedy or this is going to be my first fail in completing a novel on the list. So I do a quick revision of the form -afterall, ‘tragedy’ is in the title- and who knew!, Aristotelian (The Poetics) and modern theories are my portals to appreciating Dreiser’s work.
Prior to this, I’ve been resolute that books, like wine, should have intrinsic value, should not rely on ‘context’, but I’m wavering: Context helps. While I hope to never get to the point where context becomes ‘everything’, this now obvious revelation is liberating, to say the least.
There is no way I can finish An American Tragedy today, so I’m reading 1984. It is dense, but it is short and I can finish it in a night or two and get back on track.