Theodore Dreiser

Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser was an American novelist and journalist of the naturalist school. His novels featured main characters who succeeded at their objectives despite a lack of a firm moral code, literary situations that more resemble studies of nature than tales of choice and agency. Dreiser's best known novels include An American Tragedy. Dreiser was born in Indiana to John Paul Dreiser and Sarah Maria. John Dreiser was a German immigrant from Mayen in the Eifel region, Sarah was from the Mennonite farming community near Dayton, Ohio, her family disowned her for converting to Roman Catholicism. Theodore was the twelfth of thirteen children. Paul Dresser was one of his older brothers, they were raised as Catholics. After graduating from high school in Warsaw, Dreiser attended Indiana University in the years 1889–1890 before dropping out. Dreiser was going to return from his first European vacation on the Titanic but was talked out of going by an English publisher who recommended he board a cheaper boat.

Within several years, Dreiser was writing as a journalist for the Chicago Globe newspaper and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, he wrote several articles on writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Dean Howells, Israel Zangwill, John Burroughs, interviewed public figures such as Andrew Carnegie, Marshall Field, Thomas Edison, Theodore Thomas. Other interviewees included Emilia E. Barr, Philip Armour and Alfred Stieglitz. Dreiser became an atheist. During 1899, the Dreisers stayed with Arthur Henry and his wife Maude Wood Henry at the House of Four Pillars, an 1830s Greek Revival house in Maumee, Ohio. There Dreiser began work on his first novel, Sister Carrie, published in 1900. Unknown to Maude, Henry sold a half-interest in the house to Dreiser to finance a move to New York without her. In Sister Carrie, Dreiser portrayed a changing society, writing about a young woman who flees rural life for the city, fails to find work, falls prey to several men, achieves fame as an actress, it sold poorly and was considered controversial because of moral objections to his featuring a country girl who pursues her dreams of fame and fortune through relationships with men.

The book has acquired a considerable reputation. It has been called the "greatest of all American urban novels." In response to witnessing a lynching in 1893, Dreiser wrote the short story "Nigger Jeff", published in Ainslee's Magazine.. His second novel Jennie Gerhardt was published in 1911, his featuring young women as protagonists dramatized the social changes of urbanization, as young people moved from rural villages to cities. Dreiser's first commercial success was An American Tragedy, published in 1925. From 1892, when Dreiser began work as a newspaperman, he had begun to observe a certain type of crime in the United States that proved common, it seemed to spring from the fact that every young person was possessed of an ingrown ambition to be somebody financially and socially." "Fortune hunting became a disease" with the frequent result of a peculiarly American kind of crime, a form of "murder for money", when "the young ambitious lover of some poorer girl" found "a more attractive girl with money or position" but could not get rid of the first girl because of pregnancy.

Dreiser claimed to have collected such stories every year between 1895 and 1935. He based his novel on details and setting of the 1906 murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette in upstate New York, which attracted widespread attention from newspapers. While the novel sold well, it was criticized for his portrayal of a man without morals who commits a sordid murder. Though known as a novelist, Dreiser wrote short stories, publishing his first collection Free and Other Stories in 1918, made up of 11 stories, his story "My Brother Paul" was a kind of biography of his older brother Paul Dresser, who became a famous songwriter in the 1890s. This story was the basis for the 1942 romantic movie My Gal Sal. Dreiser wrote poetry, his poem "The Aspirant" continues his theme of poverty and ambition: A young man in a shabby furnished room describes his own and the other tenants' dreams, asks "why? Why?" The poem appeared in The Poetry Quartos and printed by Paul Johnston, published by Random House in 1929.

Other works include Trilogy of Desire, based on the life of Charles Tyson Yerkes, who became a Chicago streetcar tycoon. It is composed of The Financier, The Titan, The Stoic; the last was published posthumously in 1947. Dreiser was forced to battle against censorship because his depiction of some aspects of life, such as sexual promiscuity, offended authorities and challenged popular standards of acceptable opinion. In 1930 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature by Swedish author Anders Österling, but was passed over in favor of Sinclair Lewis. Politically, Dreiser was involved in several campaigns defending radicals whom he believed had been the victims of social injustice; these included the lynching of Frank Little, one of the leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, the deportation of Emma Goldman, the conviction of the trade union leader Thomas Mooney. In November 1931, Dreiser led the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners to the coalfields of southeastern Kentucky, where they took testimony from coal miners in Pineville and Harlan on the pattern of violence against the miners and their unions by the coal operators kn


The Chevau-légers was a generic French name for several units of light and medium cavalry. Their history began in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, when the heavy cavalry forces of the French Compagnies d'Ordonnance were undergoing a massive structural reorganization; the companies combined the gendarmes along with lighter coutiliers and "archers" in the same mounted formation, with the better armoured men forming the foremost ranks. However, as time passed the lighter horsemen were separated into independent formations of "medium" cavalry, bearing lighter armour and much shorter lances than the gendarmes; these lighter formations gained the name of chevau légers. A similar development happened in the organization of the Austrian and Spanish cavalry with the growth of caballería ligera formations, their original similarities to lancer units meant that in the armies of the Napoleonic Wars the title came to be applied for both sword armed medium cavalry and lancer cavalry units interchangeably, depending on the regional custom.

Examples of this include the famous Polish 1st Light Cavalry Regiment of the French Guards and the 2e régiment de chevau-légers lanciers de la Garde Impériale, both subtitled Chevau-légers despite being light lancer cavalry, while the Austrian and many other German states retained Chevau-légers that were sword armed medium cavalry

The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet

The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet is a fantasy novella by American writer Stephen King, first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1984 and collected in King's 1985 collection Skeleton Crew. The title is in reference to the narrator's belief that insanity is a sort of "flexible bullet": it will kill, but how long this process takes, how much damage the bullet does before the victim dies, are impossible to predict. Since the publication of this story, King has used the term "flexible bullet" to describe insanity, in reference to this story; the main character is fiction editor for the struggling Logan's magazine. Henry receives an unsolicited short story from up-and-coming novelist Reg Thorpe, considers the story to be dark, but a masterpiece. Through his correspondence with Thorpe, Henry learns of—and, due to Henry's own alcoholism begins to believe in—Thorpe's various paranoid fantasies. Most notably and Thorpe believe that their typewriters serve as homes for Fornits—tiny elves who bring creativity and good luck.

The story, told from Henry's perspective as he relays it in anecdotal form at a barbecue, concerns Henry's descent into Thorpe's madness. Meanwhile, Henry struggles to get Thorpe's story published, despite the fact that Logan's is in the process of closing its fiction department. In the television mini-series Nightmares and Dreamscapes, a fornit's symbol can be seen on a letter in the story "Battlegrounds". Madness is the chief theme of the novella; the narrator is asked to tell a story about a young author, driven insane by early acclaim. After naming and debating the merits of Sylvia Plath and other novelists, the narrator reveals to the audience his own personal experiences with insanity. Henry's drinking makes him susceptible to Thorpe's fantasies about Fornits and "They,"- shadowy antagonists never described in detail persecuting Thorpe and his Fornit. Henry confesses that he experienced a drunken hallucination where he met and communicated with his own Fornit, making Henry an unreliable narrator.

The narrator, Henry, is a recovering alcoholic. Much of the novella describes how Reg Thorpe's delusions, although unrelated to alcoholism and amplify Henry's own irrational and self-destructive conduct; this could be considered a case of folie à deux. "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" shares a common theme of fear of nuclear power with Stephen King's novel The Tommyknockers. While at a literary party, the protagonist of The Tommyknockers delivers a drunken rant about the dangers of atomic power; this is of course similar to Henry's fears of radium crystals and radiation poisoning. The novella mentions the case of the Radium Girls as an example of society's ignorance of the dangers of nuclear power; as the novella is the story of a story told at a house party, "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" is a frame tale. Stephen King short fiction bibliography The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database