Elizabeth Taylor

Thursday, January 12, 2006

An American Tragedy

Goaded by the new opera, I finally read Dreiser's novel An American Tragedy. It was the source for A Place in the Sun. It's hard to believe the book came out in the heyday of Hemingway and Fitgerald. It evokes 19th century America, and Dreiser's realism suggests Zola or Stendhal. Dreiser didn't get through college, and his style is pre-grammatical. In the film Elizabeth Taylor plays the upper class trophy whom the misbegotten hero dies seeking. Coming from the wrong decade myself, it's hard for me to imagine anyone seeking Elizabeth Taylor. But there are pictures of Liz in today's Times wearing a slip. It's the new sexiness cf. Scarlett J and that peer of Elizabeth Taylor, the late Marilyn Monroe. Dreiser's earlier Sister Carrie as well as the luckless lower class girl played by Shelley Winters in A Place in the Sun were based on Dreiser's sister.