The Trilogy of Desire: The Financier; The Titan; The Stoic. - Theodore Dreiser 1912 - Harper & Brothers, New York - First Editions A complete first edition set of Dreiser’s ‘Trilogy of Desire’, also known as ‘The Cowperwood Trilogy’, telling the life story of Charles T. Yerkes, renamed Algernon Cowperwood by Dreiser, a Philadelphia securities manipulator and streetcar magnate. ‘The Financier’, the first of the trilogy, in scarce and unrestored dust jacket.

‘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.’ - The Wall Street Journal, 2012.

‘Dreiser laboriously researched the business practices and personal exploits of real-life robber baron Charles Yerkes to narrate Frank Algernon Cowperwood's early career in ‘
The Financier’, which explores the unscrupulous world of finance from the Civil War through the panic incited by the 1871 Chicago fire.’ (University of Illinois). Despite claiming complete ignorance about finance and an inability to make money, Dreiser presents a technical masterpiece.
  ‘In these two wonderful books [The Financier and The Titan], chockablock with crude but pungent reality, the tyrannical machinations of the Gilded Age come draped in ersatz Darwinian trappings, huge forces of wealth and media battling it out hammer and tong. Here we have America’s winner-take-all version of TV’s Downtown Abbey. Our aristocrats – guileful moneymakers extraordinare – exert their influence through hypocrisy and chicanery, betrayal and double-dealing, sexual promiscuity and lies. They manipulate the masses, buy inside information, order about their “henchmen and tenants,” and pocket politicians. Better than any of our writers, Dreiser knew that America’s desire for more never settles for less.’ - Bill Marx, The Arts Fuse.

‘After studying Morgan, Carnegie and Gould, Dreiser settled on Philadelphia tycoon Charles Tyson Yerkes as his model for Frank Algernon Cowperwood. Cowperwood is “
possessed of a mesmeric power, noticeable in the peculiar fire in his eyes and reinforced by a charming personality, which enables him to exert great influence over people” thus becoming “the apotheosis of the evil American financier... a titan, not among the fabled race of mythological giants, but modeled after that storied breed of capitalists who ruled America from Wall Street in the decades following the Civil War”.’

‘In its bigness, its insight into large phases of the evolution of American life, its portrayal of the fight for gold and power and the love of women, this novel [
The Financier] is certain to be ranked as one of the great examples of modern fiction.’

References: Lingeman, ‘
Dreiser: An American Journey’, 281. Dennistoun, ‘Bubbles, Booms and Busts’, 676. Westbrook, ‘Wall Street in the American Novel’, 158.

First edition first printing of ‘
The Financier’ with copyright page showing ‘Published October, 1912’ and the letters ‘K-M’.

Octavo, three volumes (book sizes 19.2x12.9; 19.2x12.9; 21.8x15.1 cm), pp. [8] 780; [8] 552; [8] 310 [2]. ‘
The Financier’ and ‘The Titan’ in publisher’s pale blue speckled cloth, spines lettered and stamped in gilt, front panels lettered in gilt and with dark blue motif, all edges trimmed. Dust jacket for ‘The Financier’ with ‘Price $1.40 Net’ printed on spine, corners with publisher’s decorative clip, ‘The Titan’ without dust jacket,; ‘The Stoic’ in publisher’spale blue cloth, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, top edge trimmed, others without untrimmed, dust jacket priced ‘$3.00’ to upper corner of front flap, all corners with publisher’s decorative clip.
  Condition: Near fine copies, minor toning to spines, ‘The Financier’ in very good dust jacket, without repair, edges rubbed, slightly darker patch to front right of panel, spine toned, small area of surface loss to spine not affecting text. ‘The Stoic’ in very good jacket, short closed tears to head of spine, wear to corners.   Ref: 103969   Price: HK$ 62,000