Books: The Brother

THEODORE DREISER: APOSTLE OF NATURE (354 pp.)—Robert H. Ellas—Knopf ($4).

When a friend read Theodore Dreiser's first novel, Sister Carrie, he asked him where he could have picked up so much knowledge about life. Said 39-year-old Author Dreiser: "Genius, I suppose." As Robert Elias' biography shows, it was a lot more complicated, and more painful, than that.

Strictly as an account of Dreiser's bitter early years, this is one of the best biographies of an American literary figure since Israfel, Hervey Allen's life of Poe. Its report of Dreiser's last years is perfunctory...

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