Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
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.
About the Author
Sherwood Anderson was an American novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, essayist, and poet. A successful copywriter and business owner, Anderson's experience of a nervous breakdown precipitated his abandonment of his business and family in order to pursue a full-time writing career.
Anderson went on to produce more than twenty published works in his lifetime, including the enduring short-story collection, Winesburg, Ohio, and his semi-autobiographical style served as an influence for some of the brightest writers of the succeeding generation, including Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, and Thomas Wolfe. Anderson died in 1941.
John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the author of fifty-odd previous books, including twenty novels and numerous collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His fiction has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.
"When he calls himself a 'poor scribbler' don't believe him. He is not a poor scribbler . . . he is a very great writer."--Ernest Hemingway
"Winesburg, Ohio, when it first appeared, kept me up a whole night in a steady crescendo of emotion."--Hart Crane
"As a rule, first books show more bravado than anything else, unless it be tediousness. But there is neither of these qualities in Winesburg, Ohio. . . . These people live and breathe: they are beautiful."--E. M. Forster
"Winesburg, Ohio is an extraordinarily good book. But it is not fiction. It is poetry."--Rebecca West