This tale of an ordinary man depicts, on a larger scale, the fall of intellectual America from innocence to knowledge at the end of the nineteenth century. Through his involvement with three women, Theron Ware, a small-town Methodist minister, finds that his abstract, absolute notions about himself and his world lead to doubt and confusion. Uncertain in his faith, Ware is alone and unprepared to meet the moral, scientific, and aesthetic ambiguities of the new century. Employing the documentary detail, pragmatic attitude, and comic vision of conventional realism, The Damnation of Theron Ware also foreshadows the rise of naturalism - and the works of Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis. As Scott Donaldson says in his Introduction, "It would be hard to imagine a novel more sensitive to and reflective of the ideas and controversies coursing through the American eighteen-nineties." Book jacket.