Sherwood Anderson's Major Books
- In the restaurant the young man began talking of himself. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. His father had died while he was yet in school and had left him a modest fortune, upon the income of which he lived with his mother. He did no work and was enormously proud of the fact.
It is evening and the people of Chicago go home from work. Clatter, clatter, clatter, go the heels on the hard pavements, jaws wag, the wind blows and dirt drifts and sifts through the masses of the people. Every one has dirty ears. The stench in the street cars is horrible. The antiquated bridges over the rivers are packed with people. The suburban trains going away south and west are cheaply constructed and dangerous. A people calling itself great and living in a city also called great go to their houses a mere disorderly mass of humans cheaply equipped. Everything is cheap. When the people get home to their houses they sit on cheap chairs before cheap tables and eat cheap food.
Originally published in 1918, Mid-American Chants is Sherwood Anderson's first book of poems. Undeniably influenced by Walt Whitman, Anderson seeks in this collection to sing of the "heart" (geographically) of the United States, and to sing of the rising age of industrialism. The lines are long, and the rhythms almost prosiac; in fact, some view these poems as prototypical American prose poems.
Winesburg, Ohio (1919) is Sherwood Anderson's masterpiece, a cycle of short stories concerning life in a small town at the end of the nineteenth century. At the center is George Willard, a young reporter who becomes the confidant of the town's solitary figures. Anderson's stories influenced countless American writers including Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, Oates and Carver. This new edition corrects errors made in earlier editions and takes into account major criticism and textual scholarship of the last several decades.
"Hugh arose and stood in the moonlight in the cabbage field, his arms still going stiffly up and down. The great length of his figure and his arms was accentuated by the wavering uncertain light. The laborers, aware of some strange presence, sprang to their feet and stood listening and looking. Hugh advanced toward them, still muttering words and waving his arms. Terror took hold of the workers. One of the woman plant droppers screamed and ran away across the field, and the others ran crying at her heels. 'Don't do it. Go away,' the older of the French boys shouted, and then he with his brothers also ran."
Anderson's, whose prose style, derived from everyday speech, influenced American short story writing between World Wars I and II. He directed the American short story away from the neatly plotted tales of O. Henry and his imitators. The stories in The Triumph of the Egg are characterized by a casual development, complexity of motivation, and an interest in psychological process. Anderson also made his name as a leading naturalistic writer with his masterwork, Winesburg, Ohio, a picture of life in a typical small Midwestern town, as seen through the eyes of its inhabitants.
A Story Teller's Story is Anderson's own tale of an American writer's journey through his own imaginative world and through the world of facts, with many of his experiences and impressions among other writers-told in many notes-in four books and an Epilogue.
A New Testament (1927)
The American County Fair (1930)
Still fresh and strikingly contemporary, the stark realism of these stories carefully explores the dreams and emotions of Sherwood Anderson's unforgettable characters. In Death in the Woods, we travel deep into the heart of America as Anderson saw it, to find an introspective man, in a desolate landscape, questioning the very meaning of his world. "Death in the Woods is a signal junction in Anderson's career and is to my mind one of the finest stories in our language," (writes Jim Harrison.)