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The Financier

the financier theodore dreiser, the financier
Published in 1912, The Financier, a novel by Theodore Dreiser, is the first volume of the Trilogy of Desire, which includes The Titan 1914 and The Stoic 1947


  • 1 Plot summary
  • 2 Allusions to actual history
  • 3 Allusions to other works
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Plot summaryedit

In Philadelphia, Frank Cowperwood, whose father is a banker, makes his first money passing by an auction sale, he successfully bids for seven cases of Castile soap, which he sells to a grocer the same day with a profit of over 70 percent Later, he gets a job in Henry Waterman & Company, and leaves it for Tighe & Company He also marries an affluent widow, in spite of his young age Over the years, he starts misusing municipal funds with the aid of the City Treasurer In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire redounds to a stock market crash, prompting him to be bankrupt and exposed Although he attempts to browbeat his way out of being sentenced to jail by intimidating Mr Stener, politicians from the Republican Party use their influence to use him as a scapegoat for their own corrupt practices Meanwhile, he has an affair with Aileen Butler, a young girl, subsequent to losing faith in his wife She vows to wait for him after his jail sentence Her father, Mr Butler dies; she grows apart from her family

Allusions to actual historyedit

  • Henry Cowperwood is said to have no preference over abolitionism Morever, he is said to favour Nicholas Biddle and the United States Bank over Andrew Jackson Other historical elements include John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, the First Battle of Bull Run, the Siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of the Wilderness, and J Proctor Knott
  • Frank is said not to believe in Adam and Eve
  • Benjamin Franklin's theory of the electric eel is mentioned
  • Cyrus West Field, William H Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Daniel Drew, Charles Crocker, and Collis P Huntington are mentioned
  • Dreiser modeled the main character, Frank Cowperwood, on the tycoon Charles Yerkes1

Allusions to other worksedit

  • Frank is said to own sculptures by Harriet Hosmer, Hiram Powers, Edward Clark Potter, and later Bertel Thorvaldsen
  • Lillian is described as someone from a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti or Edward Burne-Jones in Chapter XII Later, Frank purchases paintings by William Morris Hunt, Thomas Sully, and William Hart Upon the sale of his house, he is said to own paintings by Gilbert, Eastman Johnson, Édouard Detaille, Mariano Fortuny, George Inness Gobelin tapestry, sculptures by Antoine-Louis Barye
  • Aileen likes to listen to Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Jacques Offenbach and Frédéric Chopin
  • In Chapter XXXVIII, Mrs Calligan's daughter is said to have read Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton's Kenelm Chillingly, Ouida's Tricotrin, Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr's A Bow of Orange Ribbon
  • In the last chapter, William Shakespeare's Macbeth is mentioned
  • The character has inspired the protagonist of the "House of Cards" drama series, Frank Underwood


  1. ^ Daniel A Zimmerman, Panic!: Markets, Crises, and Crowds in American Fiction Cultural Studies of the United States, The University of North Carolina Press, 2006, p 191 1

External linksedit

  • The Financier, a novel at Project Gutenberg
  • The Financier public domain audiobook at LibriVox

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The Financier

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