Aliterary historian has no right to assume that a period of writing will organise itself into neat mathematical units, or even that its formal opening will automatically be auspicious. The year 1900 produced little significant American fiction, if compared with 1899 (Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Henry James's The Awkward Age, Frank Norris's McTeague) or 1901 (Henry James's The Sacred Fount, Norris's The Octopus). 1900 brought some interesting but minor writings by Charles Chestnutt (The House Behind the Cedars), Stephen Crane (The Whilomville Stories), Mark Twain (The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories) and The Touchstone,an early novel by Edith Wharton. Fortunately for the writer of an essay on this topic, 1900 was also the year of the initial publication of Theodore Dreiser's first novel, Sister Carrie. This was, to be sure, an exceedingly modest début, since its acceptance by Frank Norris's publisher (Doubleday, Page & Co.), following Norris's enthusiasm, was largely negated by Doubleday himself, who had been away when his firm accepted the work. He found the book immoral and feared many adverse reactions. Dreiser refused to release the publishers from their contract and the book was published but in a very limited number of copies and with no promotion from the publishers. It sold poorly and was not published again until 1907, by a different firm. An inauspicious beginning to the great novels of the twentieth century!