An ignorant and ineffectual man, McTeague has established for himself a small, uneventful career as an unlicensed dentist; but his life changes after he meets and marries the lovely Trina. A winning lottery number temporarily enriches their lives until Trina's ever-increasing lust for money arouses a latent brutish nature in her husband. Inspired by an actual crime sensationalized in the San Francisco press at the turn of the twentieth century, McTeague chronicles the demise of a charlatan and his wife as they descend into a web of moral corruption.
A literary sensation when first published in 1899, Frank Norris' cult classic was one of the earliest works in American literature to present a compelling, realistic view of human nature at its most basic level. It was also the the basis for Erich von Stroheim's groundbreaking 1924 silent film, Greed. A riveting tale of avarice, degeneration, and death, McTeague is "one of the great works of the modern American imagination" (Alfred Kazin).