The "Genius" is generally thought to be a semi-autobiographical work, and as such, both a compelling read in its own right and a deep look into the life and thoughts of Dreiser himself. It follows the life of Eugene Witla, an artist from the Midwest, as he strives for success first in Chicago and then in New York. The book is renowned for both the smooth artistry of its prose and for the direct candor with which it treats its subjects.---Excerpt---Some of the incidents of this courtship that followed, ephemeral as it was, left a profound impression on Eugene's mind. They met to skate not long after, for the snow came and the ice and there was wonderful skating on Green Lake. The frost was so prolonged that men with horses and ice-saws were cutting blocks a foot thick over at Miller's Point, where the ice houses were. Almost every day after Thanksgiving there were crowds of boys and girls from the schools scooting about like water skippers. Eugene could not always go on week evenings and Saturdays because he had to assist his father at the store. But at regular intervals he could ask Myrtle to get Stella and let them all go together at night. And at other times he would ask her to go alone. Not infrequently she did.On one particular occasion they were below a group of houses which crept near the lake on high ground. The moon was up, its wooing rays reflected in the polished surfaces of the ice. Through the black masses of trees that lined the shore could be seen the glow of windows, yellow and homey. Eugene and Stella had slowed up to turn about, having left the crowd of skaters some distance back. Stella's golden curls were covered, except for a few ringlets, with a French cap; her body, to below the hips, encased in a white wool Jersey, close-fitting and shapely. The skirt below was a grey mixture of thick wool and the stockings were covered by white woolen leggings. She looked tempting and knew it.