Books: Genius of the Ordinary

DREISER by W. A. Swanberg. 614 pages. Scribner. $10.

"No common man am I!" crowed Novelist Theodore Dreiser. Indeed he was not. He stood 6 ft. 1 and looked like a gangling Gargantua: lowering brows, a cast in one eye, rubbery sprawling lips, and a slide-away chin. Women fell all over him, and he returned the compliment. He attacked them in private, pawed them in public, on occasion bedded as many as three a day. He was a braggart, a plagiarist, a liar and a bully. He threw coffee in Publisher Horace Liveright's face and...

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