Income, Initiative, and Personal Responsibility in American Realist Literature


Personal finance is the driving force for the plots of American Realism. Dreiser’s Sister Carrie is essentially an extended meditation on the personal impact of employment, salaries, debt, and rent. Frank Norris’s McTeague attends to all those subjects and adds in a chilling consideration of the effect of unearned wealth. American Realism is, in the end, a genre where questions of money and finance assume the level of importance in fiction that they do in our real lives. This conference explored those questions through reading these two classic novels.


Conference Readings

Cowen, Tyler. "Is a Novel a Model?." None, None, January 29, 2005. h (accessed December 9, 2009) .

Dreiser, Theodore. Sister Carrie. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2005.

Norris, Frank. McTeague: A Story of San Francisco. Middlesex: Echo Library, 2006.

Watts, Michael. “Economic Insights From and About Literature, Drama, and Literary Criticism.” Purdue University. http// (Aug. 7, 2012).