The insistent theme of Mr. Dreiser's work is desire, perennial, unquenchable. No matter how badly Mr. Dreiser might do his work, he would be significant as the American novelist who has most felt this subterranean current of life. Many novelists have seen this current as a mere abyss of sin from which the soul is to be dragged to the high ground of moral purpose and redemption, but this will not quite do. The great interpreters see life as a struggle between this desire and the organized machinery of existence, but they are not eager, as we are, to cover up and belittle the desire.
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