Published in 1919, Winesburg, Ohio is Sherwood Anderson’s 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, Anderson’s 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, Anderson’s 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 town’s 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 Anderson’s innovative format and psychological insights, Winesburg, Ohio deserves a place among the front ranks of our nation’s finest literary achievements.
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.
Jeffrey Meyers, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has written fifty-two books, including Samuel Johnson: The Struggle, The Genius and the Goddess: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, Orwell: Life and Art, John Huston: Courage and Art, Remembering Iris Murdoch, and Thomas Mann's Artist-Heroes. His books have been translated into fourteen languages and seven alphabets, and published on six continents.
"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