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Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods

Upton Sinclair


American writer (and Pulitzer Prize winning author) Upton Sinclair rose to literary acclaim for his fearlessness in broaching sensitive and incendiary topics, and this collaboration with French playwright Eugene Brieux is no exception. A novelized rendition of Brieux’s scandal-stirring play Les Avaries, Damaged Goods tells the story of one man’s experience of contracting and living with syphilis in an era when such a diagnosis was often deadly and almost always marked one as a social pariah.

Sinclair says, “My endeavor has been to tell a simple story, preserving as closely as possible the spirit and feeling of the original. I have tried, as it were, to take the play to pieces, and build a novel out of the same material. I have not felt at liberty to embellish M. Brieux’s ideas, and I have used his dialogue word for word wherever possible. Unless I have mis-read the author, his sole purpose in writing LES AVARIES was to place a number of most important facts before the minds of the public, and to drive them home by means of intense emotion. If I have been able to assist him, this bit of literary carpentering will be worth while. I have to thank M. Brieux for his kind permission to make the attempt, and for the cordial spirit which he has manifested.”


Damaged Goods: the Great Play Les Avaries of Brieux

Samuel French

Upton Sinclair


Upton Sinclair (born September 20, 1878, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. — died November 25, 1968, Bound Brook, New Jersey), prolific American novelist and polemicist for socialism, health, temperance, free speech, and worker rights, among other causes. His classic muckraking novel The Jungle (1906) is a landmark among naturalistic proletarian work, one praised by fellow socialist Jack London as “the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of wage slavery.”

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