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Books: Slippery, Protean Everything

THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF THEODORE DREISER (349 pp.)—Edited with an introduction by Howard Fast—World ($2.75).

No U.S. writer has ever gone so far with so little talent as Indiana-born Theodore Dreiser. His famous novels (Sister Carrie, An American Tragedy) laid bare the seamy side of life with a bumbling crudity and literary formlessness that often alienated critics and readers alike. But he had the sincerity of a dedicated social worker and the naive, sentimental garrulousness of a kindly, troubled country neighbor. They brought him an audience and a place in U.S. literary history....

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