The Genius is a semi-autobiographical novel by Theodore Dreiser, first published in 1915. It concerns Eugene Witla, a talented painter of strong sexual desires who grapples with his commitment to his art and the force of his erotic needs. The book sold 8,000 copies in the months immediately following publication but encountered legal difficulties when it was declared potentially obscene. Dreiser's publisher was nervous about continuing publication and recalled the book from bookstores, and the novel did not receive broad distribution until 1923. When The "Genius" was reissued by a different publisher, the firm of Horace Liveright, it immediately sold more than 40,000 copies. The novel is divided intro three sections: "Youth, struggle," and "Revolt." In Book I, Eugene Witla (like Sister Carrie, in Dreiser's earlier novel) escapes the confines of the small town in Illinois where he has been raised to make his way in Chicago. There he studies painting at the Chicago Art Institute and enjoys the excitement of the city and his first sexual experiences. He becomes engaged to a young woman, Angela Blue, with whom he is intimate before their marriage but, at all times, he finds it difficult to remain faithful. A life based on monogamy seems beyond him. In Book II, Eugene and Angela move to New York City, where he makes a name for himself in the art world as an urban realist but finds his marriage with the increasingly conventional Angela painfully limiting. They travel to Europe, he suffers a breakdown, and they return to New York where Eugene attempts to make a better living in the advertising world. Book III chronicles the deterioration of Eugene and Angela's marriage as he begins an affair with Suzanne Dale, the teenage daughter of a woman who works in the same office (this affair is one of the most autobiographical details in the book); Suzanne's mother and Angela do everything they can to end the relationship, but to no avail.