McTeague (Signet Classics)
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McTeague is the story of a poor dentist scraping by in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century, and his wife Trina, whose $5,000 lottery winning sets in motion a shocking chain of events. Few works have captured the seamy side of American urban life with such graphic intensity.
harassed brute, “ah, show yourself, will you?” He brought the rifle to his shoulder and covered point after point along the range of hills to the west. “Come on, show yourself. Come on a little, all of you. I ain’t afraid of you; but don’t skulk this way. You ain’t going to drive me away from my mine. I’m going to stay.” An hour passed. Then two. The stars winked out, and the dawn whitened. The air became warmer. The whole east, clean of clouds, flamed opalescent from horizon to zenith, crimson
had confined himself to merely speaking, as did Marcus, to pleading with her, to wooing her at a distance, forestalling her wishes, showing her little attentions, sending her boxes of candy, she could have easily withstood him. But he had only to take her in his arms, to crush down her struggle with his enormous strength, to subdue her, conquer her by sheer brute force, and she gave up in an instant. But why–why had she done so? Why did she feel the desire, the necessity of being conquered by a
King Kong) and a closing view of McTeague in hell. So the text is full of possibilities and tensions, and it is open to a wide range of interpretive responses. McTeague is not the Great American Novel but a wonderfully interesting and stimulating one. –Eric Solomon MCTEAGUE Dedicated to L. E. GATES of Harvard University 1 It was Sunday, and according to his custom on that day, McTeague took his dinner at two in the afternoon at the car conductors’ coffee joint on Polk Street. He had a
unbuttoned their vests. McTeague’s cheeks were distended, his eyes wide; his huge, salient jaw moved with a machinelike regularity; at intervals he drew a series of short breaths through his nose. Mrs. Sieppe wiped her forehead with her napkin. “Hey, dere, poy, gif me some more oaf dat–what you call–‘bubble water.’” That was how the waiter had spoken of the champagne–“bubble water.” The guests had shouted applause, “Outa sight.” He was a heavy josher was that waiter. Bottle after bottle was
merely an incumbrance to him. They often quarreled about Trina’s money, her savings. The dentist was bent upon having at least a part of them. What he would do with the money once he had it, he did not precisely know. He would spend it in royal fashion, no doubt, feasting continually, buying himself wonderful clothes. The miner’s idea of money quickly gained and lavishly squandered, persisted in his mind. As for Trina, the more her husband stormed, the tighter she drew the strings of the little