|Born into a dirt-poor family of religious fanatics, Dreiser's response to his stunted upbringing was to seek a different kind of life for himself; he left home to become a newspaper reporter, living in St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and finally New York City. In 1900 he published his first novel, SISTER CARRIE, but the book was suppressed for what was considered amorality because it failed to punish its loose-living heroine. It was only with JENNIE GERHARDT, a more conventional story, that Dreiser was able to quit journalism and hack work, and concentrate on writing fiction. A convincing writer but no stylist, he wrote not only novels but travel articles, biography, and autobiography. He held a fatalistic view of human nature, and concluded that people are victims of their circumstances, life is essentially tragic, and an every-man-for-himself ethic must prevail, a view best illustrated in his powerful 1925 novel, AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY. Later in his life he became more hopeful, and an ardent socialist. Dreiser was a complex man--suspicious, jealous (especially of his longtime, much younger mistress, Yvette Szekely), and troubled, but also unfailingly kind and supportive of his friends.