Class, morality an issue in books by Dreiser, Booth Tarkington, Farrell...Dos Passos.In general, many of the novels from the early 20th century develop around class issues, poor wanting to be rich, rich falling from grace. Lots of social foment, which is what I used to love. But so wordy. Every thought examined... in Dreiser, especially.
In The Genius, which my Dad's brother, Uncle Ray, bought in New Orleans in 1926, Drieser's main character Eugene ponders quite a bit, through the voice of the author. Eugene is an artist and he loves women, but...
"One of the particular weaknesses of Eugene's, which should be set forth here and which will help illuminate the basis of his conduct was that he was troubled with a dual point of view - a condition based upon a peculiar power of analysis - self-analysis in particular, which was constantly permitting him to tear himself up by the roots in order to see how he was getting along.He would daily and hourly and when not otherwise employed lift the veil from his inner mental processes as he might lift the covering from a well, and peer into its depths. What he saw was not very inviting and vastly disconcerting, a piece of machinery that was not going as a true man should, clock fashion, and corresponding in none of its moral characteristics to the recognized standard of a man. He had concluded now, by watching various specimens.."
This introspection continues for a few more pages before something significant happens to move the character along, and, action is often summarized in favour of long passages of exposition. When I talked about this with David Zieroth, he reminded me that Dreiser and his contemporaries came before Hemingway revolutionized prose.
Another revolution...e-publishing. Does it demand a different style of writing?