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Winesburg, Ohio (Bantam Classic)by Sherwood Anderson
Synopses & Reviews
Published in 1919, Winesburg, Ohio is Sherwood Andersons masterpiece, a work in which he achieved the goal to which he believed all true writers should aspire: to see and feel “all of life within.” In a perfectly imagined world, an archetypal small American town, he reveals the hidden passions that turn ordinary lives into unforgettable ones. Unified by the recurring presence of young George Willard, and played out against the backdrop of Winesburg, Andersons loosely connected chapters, or stories, coalesce into a powerful novel.
In such tales as “Hands,” the portrayal of a rural berry picker still haunted by the accusations of homosexuality that ended his teaching career, Andersons vision is as acute today as it was over eighty-five years ago. His intuitive ability to home in on examples of timeless, human conflicts—a workingman deciding if he should marry the woman who is to bear his child, an unhappy housewife who seeks love from the towns doctor, an unmarried high school teacher sexually attracted to a pupil—makes this book not only immensely readable but also deeply meaningful. An important influence on Faulkner, Hemingway, and others who were drawn to Andersons innovative format and psychological insights, Winesburg, Ohio deserves a place among the front ranks of our nations finest literary achievements.
Before Raymond Carver, John Cheever, and Richard Ford, there was Sherwood Anderson, who, with Winesburg, Ohio, charted a new direction in American fiction--evoking with lyrical simplicity quiet moments of epiphany in the lives of ordinary men and women. In a bed, elevated so that he can peer out the window, an old writer contemplates the fluttering of his heart and considers, as if viewing a pageant, the inhabitants of a small midwestern town. Their stories are about loneliness and alienation, passion and virginity, wealth and poverty, thrift and profligacy, carelessness and abandon. "Nothing quite like it has ever been done in America," wrote H. L. Mencken. "It is so vivid, so full of insight, so shiningly life-like and glowing, that the book is lifted into a category all its own."
With Commentary by Sherwood Anderson, Rebecca West, and Hart Crane
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941) spent most of his boyhood in Clyde, Ohio, the model for Winesburg, Ohio. And like the central figure of that work, Anderson left small-town life behind after his mothers death, when he was nineteen. After serving in the Spanish-American War, the mostly self-taught Anderson became successful advertising copywriter in Chicago. Then in 1912, torn between his responsibilities and his drive to create, he had a breakdown that has become legendary. Having become the owner of a small factory, Anderson abruptly walked from his office and wandered about for four days in a trancelike state before ending up in an Ohio hospital. Realizing he must devote his life to writing, he finally broke with his wife and family and joined Carl Sandburg and Theodore Dreiser, who were at the core of Chicagos literary group. By 1925, Anderson had demonstrated such talent that H.L. Mencken called him “Americas most distinguished novelist.” A mentor of William Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe, Anderson was known for his colloquial style and his exploration of gender and sexuality in relationships. His works of fiction include Windy McPhersons Son (1916); Poor White (1920); The Triumph of the Egg (1921), a short-story collection; and Dark Laughter (1925). Also important are his autobiographical works: A Story Tellers Story (1924), Tar: A Midwest Childhood (1926), and Sherwood Andersons Memoirs (1942). He died of peritonitis on a trip abroad when a broken toothpick perforated his intestines.
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