The text of this edition presents, fully annotated, the 1899 First Edition text of McTeague, a significant example of American literary naturalism and a commentary on turn-of-the-century American cultural values.
Contexts focuses on the novel's sources and composition. Included are newspaper accounts of a San Francisco murder; a description of Norris' Polk Street neighborhood, which figures prominently in McTeague; an examination of the relationship between the novel and naturalism; and a discussion of the book's genesis, from its origin as a Harvard assignment to Norris's revision of it upon his return to San Francisco. Criticism has been revised to include major recent assessments of the novel. Two seminal pieces from the previous edition have been retained—Ernest Marchand's account of McTeague's 1899 reviews and Donald Pizer's essay on naturalism. Six essays and four stills from Erich von Stroheim's film version of McTeague are new. The new essays are by Don Graham, William E. Cain, Barbara Hochman, James L. Caron, Mary Lawlor, and Donna M. Campbell. A Chronology and an updated Selected Bibliography are included.