THE TOTAL STRANGER / Theodore Dreiser Theodore Dreiser's "The Total Stranger" survives in a single typescript housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The top right-hand corner of the first page contains a note written in a hand other than Dreiser's: "Last typescript, with corrections--copied--1945." The typescript came from the papers owned by Marguerite Tjader, who served as Dreiser's amanuensis and editor for The Buhoark in 1944-1945. In her memoir Theodore Dreiser: A New Dimension (1965), Tjader recalls Dreiser's presenting her with "several pages of pencilled manuscripts for me to type. Then he talked on about this man [in "The Total Stranger"], and I jotted down what he said" (p. 203). As was his habit at this time, he partly wrote, partly dictated to Tjader. "The Total Stranger" can be understood best as part of what may be called Dreiser's "marriage group," his writing about the difficulties and conflicts in modern marriage. While the autobiographical novel The "Genius" (1915) is the most elaborate rendition of this theme, the group includes short fiction such as "Free," "Marriage--For One," "The Old Neighborhood," and "Convention"; essays like "Marriage and Divorce" in Hey Rub-A-Dub-Dub;
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1987
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