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The Financier de Theodore Dreiser
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The Financier (1912 original; edició 1967)

de Theodore Dreiser

Sèrie: Trilogy of Desire (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
4651539,449 (3.88)23
A master of gritty naturalism, Theodore Dreiser explores the corruption of the American dream in The Financier. Frank Cowperwood, a fiercely ambitious businessman, emerges as the very embodiment of greed as he relentlessly seeks satisfaction in wealth, women, and power. As Cowperwood deals and double-deals, betrays and is in turn betrayed, his rise and fall come to represent the American success story stripped down to brutal realities-a struggle for spoils without conscience or pity. Dreiser's 1912 classic remains an unsparing social critique as well as a devastating character study of one of the most unforgettable American businessmen in twentieth-century literature.… (més)
Membre:msensiba
Títol:The Financier
Autors:Theodore Dreiser
Informació:Plume (1967), Reprint, Paperback
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:fiction, literature, novels, home

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The Financier de Theodore Dreiser (1912)

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“In short, he was one of those early, daring manipulators who later were to seize upon other and even larger phases of American natural development for their own aggrandizement.”
― Theodore Dreiser, The Financier

If there was ever a novel spotlighting American character, this is it. Theodore Dreiser goes right to the heart of the heart of American business and industry with this novel featuring Frank Cowperwood, a man who is a financial genius and leader by instinct and by nature. In this first of the Cowperwood trilogy, the author sets his tale in 19th century horse-and-buggy Philadelphia. Reading this novel is one memorable experience: it is as if you are right there in Philadelphia with Cowperwood and all the other men and women, walking the streets, sitting in on business meetings, living the cycle of work-a-day everyday life.

What does it take to grow up to be a captain of industry, to amass fortune and wealth beyond measure, to be a titan among men? Here is how Dreiser describes his main character, “Frank Cowperwood, even at ten, was a natural-born leader. . . . he was looked upon as one whose common sense could unquestionably be trusted in all cases. He was a sturdy youth, courageous and defiant. . . From the very start of life, he wanted to know about economics and politics. He cared nothing for books.” I mention ‘cared nothing for books’ since anybody reading this review presumably is, like myself, a reader of books. Well, that’s what separates bookworms like us from Mr. Frank – we enjoy curling up with a good book far from the maddening crowd; Frank enjoys being at the center of the maddening crowd, giving exacting orders a mile a minute and making money, lots of money.

Dreiser writes how as a boy Frank wondered how life was organized and found his answer watching the drama in a merchant’s fish tank, a drama taking place over the course of several days, that of a lobster hunting and finally killing and eating a squid. This incident made a profound impression on young Frank. He finally understood how life works: life feeds on life, one animal feeds on another animal, men feed on other men. The animals and men who are the best equipped and the strongest will win. This raw-boned naturalism and what would come to be known as Social Darwinism would remain Frank Cowperwood’s unswerving view of life.

Although Cowperwood is a financial wizard, a man who masters the world of money and the game of influencing people the way those top Castilians in Hermann Hesse’s ‘The Glass Bead Game’ master their game of mathematical-musical metaphysics, his life expands in other ways, particularly in his appreciation of visual beauty, the beauty of women and the beauty of art. Here are the author’s words on Cowperwood’s collecting art objects in his new home: “He foresaw a home which would be chaste, soothing, and delightful to look upon. If he hung pictures, gilt frames were to be the setting large and deep: and if he wished a picture-gallery, the library could be converted into that, and the general living-room, which lay between the library and the parlor on the second-floor, could be turned into a combination library and living-room.”

Back on Cowperwood’s appreciation of the beauty of women. Without going into the particulars of the women involved, it is worth highlighting how his relationship with women brings him into conflict with others, usually older men and women, who hold to traditional moral and religious values. Indeed, this contrast between the America of religious believers and the America of the naturalistic, materialistic non-believers like Cowperwood is part of Dreiser’s overarching social commentary. When men confront Cowperwood with religion and morals, he simply replies that they have one view of life and he has quite another.

For 500 pages we follow Cowperwood through his ups of amassing millions and downs of losing millions and then up again. Toward the end of the novel, he muses, “I am as rich as I was, and only a little older. They caught me once but thy will not catch me again.” He realizes his life destiny, his life meaning, is one of grandeur, one of tremendous wealth and influence and that his future lies well beyond the city limits of Philadelphia, in a city to the west, a city providing ample financial elbow room and entrepreneurial leg room to accord with his ambition and his magnificence. The 19th century thinker Friedrich Nietzsche said, “We should face our destiny with courage.” Frank Cowperwood was no reader of philosophy, but he would have wholeheartedly agreed with the German philosopher on this point.
( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |

“In short, he was one of those early, daring manipulators who later were to seize upon other and even larger phases of American natural development for their own aggrandizement.”
― Theodore Dreiser, The Financier

If there was ever a novel spotlighting American character, this is it. Theodore Dreiser goes right to the heart of the heart of American business and industry with this novel featuring Frank Cowperwood, a man who is a financial genius and leader by instinct and by nature. In this first of the Cowperwood trilogy, the author sets his tale in 19th century horse-and-buggy Philadelphia. Reading this novel is one memorable experience: it is as if you are right there in Philadelphia with Cowperwood and all the other men and women, walking the streets, sitting in on business meetings, living the cycle of work-a-day everyday life.

What does it take to grow up to be a captain of industry, to amass fortune and wealth beyond measure, to be a titan among men? Here is how Dreiser describes his main character, “Frank Cowperwood, even at ten, was a natural-born leader. . . . he was looked upon as one whose common sense could unquestionably be trusted in all cases. He was a sturdy youth, courageous and defiant. . . From the very start of life, he wanted to know about economics and politics. He cared nothing for books.” I mention ‘cared nothing for books’ since anybody reading this review presumably is, like myself, a reader of books. Well, that’s what separates bookworms like us from Mr. Frank – we enjoy curling up with a good book far from the maddening crowd; Frank enjoys being at the center of the maddening crowd, giving exacting orders a mile a minute and making money, lots of money.

Dreiser writes how as a boy Frank wondered how life was organized and found his answer watching the drama in a merchant’s fish tank, a drama taking place over the course of several days, that of a lobster hunting and finally killing and eating a squid. This incident made a profound impression on young Frank. He finally understood how life works: life feeds on life, one animal feeds on another animal, men feed on other men. The animals and men who are the best equipped and the strongest will win. This raw-boned naturalism and what would come to be known as Social Darwinism would remain Frank Cowperwood’s unswerving view of life.

Although Cowperwood is a financial wizard, a man who masters the world of money and the game of influencing people the way those top Castilians in Hermann Hesse’s ‘The Glass Bead Game’ master their game of mathematical-musical metaphysics, his life expands in other ways, particularly in his appreciation of visual beauty, the beauty of women and the beauty of art. Here are the author’s words on Cowperwood’s collecting art objects in his new home: “He foresaw a home which would be chaste, soothing, and delightful to look upon. If he hung pictures, gilt frames were to be the setting large and deep: and if he wished a picture-gallery, the library could be converted into that, and the general living-room, which lay between the library and the parlor on the second-floor, could be turned into a combination library and living-room.”

Back on Cowperwood’s appreciation of the beauty of women. Without going into the particulars of the women involved, it is worth highlighting how his relationship with women brings him into conflict with others, usually older men and women, who hold to traditional moral and religious values. Indeed, this contrast between the America of religious believers and the America of the naturalistic, materialistic non-believers like Cowperwood is part of Dreiser’s overarching social commentary. When men confront Cowperwood with religion and morals, he simply replies that they have one view of life and he has quite another.

For 500 pages we follow Cowperwood through his ups of amassing millions and downs of losing millions and then up again. Toward the end of the novel, he muses, “I am as rich as I was, and only a little older. They caught me once but thy will not catch me again.” He realizes his life destiny, his life meaning, is one of grandeur, one of tremendous wealth and influence and that his future lies well beyond the city limits of Philadelphia, in a city to the west, a city providing ample financial elbow room and entrepreneurial leg room to accord with his ambition and his magnificence. The 19th century thinker Friedrich Nietzsche said, “We should face our destiny with courage.” Frank Cowperwood was no reader of philosophy, but he would have wholeheartedly agreed with the German philosopher on this point.
( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Мотивирует!!!
Приоткрывает занавеси мира политических и экономических афер, политических игр, избирательных должностей и серых кардиналов. Для безискусного обывателя это своего рода откровение, вполне уместное и в наше время.
Книга является лучшей из трилогии, задающей ритм. Читается на одном дыхании и требует продолжения)) ( )
  Billy.Jhon | Apr 25, 2016 |
Dreiser's book looks at the fall of a financial speculator in the late 19th century. Although the story is over-long and becomes tedious towards the end, it is a great way to learn about US economic history. The book is strongly recommended for people interested in 19th century American history.

I actually read this as part of another book called "The Essential Anthology of American Realism" but have not yet been able to finish the entire Anthology - it is too heavy a dose of realism. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 13, 2016 |
The Financier, the first book in a trilogy by Theodore Dreiser, chronicles the life the Frank Cowperwood. The story is set in late 19th century Philadelphia. Cowperwood is a smart, ruthless businessman who cares for nothing other than making money. When he finds a more desirable and younger woman, he has no problem disposing of his wife and children. He has no conscience and no moral compass. His ambition and greed lead him to make unethical deals which land him in prison. Aileen, Cowperwood's equally selfcentered girlfriend, waits for him to finish his prison term and the two start anew in Chicago. The character of Frank Cowperwood is based on the life of Charles Yerkes, a financier from Philadelphia who amassed his fortunes in railroads. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Mar 10, 2016 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 15 (següent | mostra-les totes)
We remember Theodore Dreiser mainly for his deeply felt tales of have-nots who
yearn for much more than the world gives them. In "An American Tragedy," his 1925
masterpiece, a young man's longing for money and social standing leads him to the
electric chair. But Mr. Dreiser also wrote admiringly of the wealthy, and this year marks
the 100th anniversary of "The Financier," his sweeping and minutely observed story of
an enormously successful capitalist.

"The Financier" centers on Frank Algernon Cowperwood, whom the author repeatedly
describes as possessing "force." Cowperwood proves himself both skilled and resilient
in the financial marketplace. He also keeps a cool head when he's discovered sleeping
with his business partner's daughter. Mr. Dreiser so insistently interleaves stockmarket
intrigue with sex, in fact, that one critic described Cowperwood's story as a
club sandwich of "slices of business alternating with erotic episodes."

But Cowperwood is no Gordon Gekko. He's suave, not rapacious. And unlike Gekko,
who celebrates greed, Cowperwood asserts simply, "I satisfy myself."

Mr. Dreiser drew Cowperwood from life—specifically, the life of Charles Tyson Yerkes,
one of the more freewheeling Gilded Age robber barons. Mr. Yerkes made his fortune
in municipal rapid transit, but before he started buying up cable-car companies he was
a stock and bond broker and speculator.

Mr. Dreiser fictionalizes Mr. Yerkes's personality, but follows his business life closely in
the novel. The result is an amazingly intricate description of high-rolling 19th-century
finance.

Cowperwood practices a situational morality that "varies with conditions, if not
climates." Invited into shady parley with the Philadelphia city treasurer, he cuts a
backroom deal that anoints him an investment banker for the city, allowing him to
speculate with the city's short-term loan issues. Although he does so prudently,
investing in local street railways (the rapid transit of the time), he gets caught short
when the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 triggers a run on his secret holdings before the
usual end-of-month settlement. Thus exposed, Cowperwood and the treasurer are
convicted of embezzlement and sent to prison.

Mr. Dreiser's detailed account of these machinations, and of the financier's
imprisonment, are drawn faithfully from the historical record. But the novelist imagines
a scene when the young lover of the adulterous Cowperwood comes to visit him in the
penitentiary and the chastened financier weeps in her arms.

From this low point, Mr. Dreiser's hero soon regains his financial and emotional
dominance. Pardoned after 13 months, he re-enters the financial fray on a smaller
scale. He quickly becomes rich again when he leverages a stake of $75,000 into more
than $1 million over a few days. Acting aggressively in a stricken market, he shorts the
stocks of companies related to the firm of Jay Cooke, whose spectacular failure to
complete a transcontinental railroad led to what became known as the Panic of 1873.
Here again, Mr. Dreiser barely fictionalizes the real-life maneuvers of Mr. Yerkes. Mr.
Dreiser follows Cowperwood's further adventures in the Windy City in "The
Titan" (1914), the second volume of what would eventually become his "Trilogy of
Desire."

Desire was Mr. Dreiser's lifelong subject. His fascination with what people want—and
what keeps them wanting, and how their social situations shape what they
want—forms the through-line that connects all of his books. Cowperwood gets just
about everything he wants, but it is Mr. Dreiser's constant probing of the intertwined
needs for money, art, glory, sex and so much else that makes "The Financier" the
greatest of all American business novels.

But what makes Cowperwood want? Mr. Dreiser imagines a scene in which young
Cowperwood witnesses a lobster and a squid caged together in a fishmonger's tank.
Over several days, he observes the squid getting more and more ragged, with pieces
of it "snapped off" until it finally falls prey to the lobster's relentless pursuit. Critics have
made a lot of this spectacle, mostly reading it as a primal scene that answers for
Cowperwood a question that Mr. Dreiser never stopped asking: How is life organized?
But no one pays attention to what follows the underwater drama. The boy runs home
to tell his parents about what he's seen, but they show no concern. "What makes you
take interest in such things?" asks his mother, while his father reacts "indifferently."

Joining the lobster-squid drama together with its family aftermath allows us to view
Cowperwood as a man-child of desire. His insatiable acquisitiveness—which extends
to his love life—extends likewise from his understanding that "things lived on each
other," and also from a desire to gain approval from others by demonstrating his
prowess on an increasingly grander scale.

It also helps to account for his weeping in prison. Mr. Dreiser portrays Cowperwood,
for all of his bland and ruthless competence, as someone who needs sympathy. In this
respect he is perhaps not so different from Dreiser characters like the pitiful George
Hurstwood of "Sister Carrie" (1900) or the pathetically striving Clyde Griffiths of "An
American Tragedy."

Mr. Dreiser's novels describe in unparalleled detail the myriad industrial, technological
and social changes in the U.S. at the turn of the last century. "The Financier" has aged
gracefully not least because Cowperwood's world remains familiar. Readers will
recognize the contours of today's financial markets in Mr. Dreiser's story (and a new
edition of "The Financier," from the University of Illinois Press, restores descriptions of
Cowperwood's financial dealings that Mr. Dreiser cut for the novel's 1927 rerelease).
Today's readers will also spot some familiar tensions: It's not a far leap from the
causes of Cowperwood's Philadelphia downfall to a discussion of how much
transparency should be required in, say, the market for credit-default swaps.

Mr. Yerkes eventually wound down, dying short of his dearest triumph, a planned
consolidation of London's transit system. Perhaps because of this real-life anticlimax,
Mr. Dreiser spent many years trying to close Cowperwood's story. He worked on the
final volume of the trilogy, "The Stoic," until he died in 1945. (The novel was released
posthumously in 1947.) "The Financier" hints at no such hesitation. The novel instead
unveils one of Mr. Dreiser's most energetic and accomplished characters in the early
stages of his ascent, in a financial arena whose basic rules—and players—have
changed but little.
afegit per browner56 | editaThe Wall Street Journal, Leonard Cassuto (May 4, 2012)
 

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Theodore Dreiserautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
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THE PHILADELPHIA into which Frank Algernon Cowperwood was born was a city of two hundred and fifty thousand and more. It was set with handsome parks, notable buildings, and crowded with his- toric memories. Many of the things that we and he knew later were not then in existence—the telegraph, telephone, express company, ocean steamer, city delivery of mails. There were no postage-stamps or registered letters. The street car had not arrived. In its place were hosts of omnibuses, and for longer travel the slowly developing rail- road system still largely connected by canals.
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It (the law) was a miasma of misinterpretation where the ills of life festered, and also a place where the accidentally wounded were ground between the upper and the nether millstones of force or chance.
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A master of gritty naturalism, Theodore Dreiser explores the corruption of the American dream in The Financier. Frank Cowperwood, a fiercely ambitious businessman, emerges as the very embodiment of greed as he relentlessly seeks satisfaction in wealth, women, and power. As Cowperwood deals and double-deals, betrays and is in turn betrayed, his rise and fall come to represent the American success story stripped down to brutal realities-a struggle for spoils without conscience or pity. Dreiser's 1912 classic remains an unsparing social critique as well as a devastating character study of one of the most unforgettable American businessmen in twentieth-century literature.

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