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Sherwood Anderson

Sherwood Anderson

Overview
Sherwood Anderson was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 novelist and short story writer. His most enduring work is the short story sequence Winesburg, Ohio
Winesburg, Ohio (novel)
Winesburg, Ohio is a 1919 short story cycle by the American author Sherwood Anderson. The work is structured around the life of protagonist George Willard, from the time he was a child to his growing independence and ultimate abandonment of Winesburg as a young man...

. Writers he has influenced include Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

, William Faulkner
William Faulkner
William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner worked in a variety of media; he wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays and screenplays during his career...

, John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

, J. D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger
Jerome David Salinger was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave his last interview in 1980....

, and Amos Oz
Amos Oz
Amos Oz is an Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist. He is also a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva....

.

Anderson was born in Clyde, Ohio
Clyde, Ohio
Clyde is a city in Sandusky County, Ohio, United States. The population was 6,064 at the 2000 census. The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Clyde as a Tree City USA....

, the third of seven children of Erwin M. and Emma S. Anderson. After Erwin's business failed, the family was forced to move frequently, finally settling down at Clyde, Ohio
Clyde, Ohio
Clyde is a city in Sandusky County, Ohio, United States. The population was 6,064 at the 2000 census. The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Clyde as a Tree City USA....

, in 1884.

Partly as a result of these misfortunes, young Sherwood found various odd jobs to help his family, which earned him the nickname "Jobby." He left school at age 14.

Anderson moved to Chicago near his brother Karl's home and worked as a manual laborer
Manual labour
Manual labour , manual or manual work is physical work done by people, most especially in contrast to that done by machines, and also to that done by working animals...

 until near the turn of the century, when he enlisted in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

.
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Encyclopedia
Sherwood Anderson was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 novelist and short story writer. His most enduring work is the short story sequence Winesburg, Ohio
Winesburg, Ohio (novel)
Winesburg, Ohio is a 1919 short story cycle by the American author Sherwood Anderson. The work is structured around the life of protagonist George Willard, from the time he was a child to his growing independence and ultimate abandonment of Winesburg as a young man...

. Writers he has influenced include Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

, William Faulkner
William Faulkner
William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner worked in a variety of media; he wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays and screenplays during his career...

, John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

, J. D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger
Jerome David Salinger was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave his last interview in 1980....

, and Amos Oz
Amos Oz
Amos Oz is an Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist. He is also a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva....

.

Early life


Anderson was born in Clyde, Ohio
Clyde, Ohio
Clyde is a city in Sandusky County, Ohio, United States. The population was 6,064 at the 2000 census. The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Clyde as a Tree City USA....

, the third of seven children of Erwin M. and Emma S. Anderson. After Erwin's business failed, the family was forced to move frequently, finally settling down at Clyde, Ohio
Clyde, Ohio
Clyde is a city in Sandusky County, Ohio, United States. The population was 6,064 at the 2000 census. The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Clyde as a Tree City USA....

, in 1884.

Partly as a result of these misfortunes, young Sherwood found various odd jobs to help his family, which earned him the nickname "Jobby." He left school at age 14.

Anderson moved to Chicago near his brother Karl's home and worked as a manual laborer
Manual labour
Manual labour , manual or manual work is physical work done by people, most especially in contrast to that done by machines, and also to that done by working animals...

 until near the turn of the century, when he enlisted in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

. He was called up but did not see action in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 during the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

. After the war, in 1900, he enrolled at Wittenberg University
Wittenberg University
Wittenberg University is a private four-year liberal arts college in Springfield, Ohio serving 2,000 full-time students representing 37 states and approximately 30 foreign countries...

 in Springfield, Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Springfield is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Clark County. The municipality is located in southwestern Ohio and is situated on the Mad River, Buck Creek and Beaver Creek, approximately west of Columbus and northeast of Dayton. Springfield is home to Wittenberg...

. Eventually he secured a job as a copywriter in Chicago and became more successful.

In 1904, he married Cornelia Lane, the daughter of a wealthy Ohio family. He fathered three children while living in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

, and later Elyria, Ohio
Elyria, Ohio
-Community:Elyria has an extensive, although financially burdened, community food pantry and "Hot Meals" program administered through the Second Harvest Food Bank and several churches Elyria is served by Elyria Memorial Hospital.-Recreation and parks:...

, where he managed a mail-order business and paint manufacturing firms.

In November 1912 he suffered a mental breakdown and disappeared for four days. He was found in a drugstore in Cleveland, having walked almost thirty miles. Soon after, he left his position as president of the Anderson Manufacturing Co. in Elyria, Ohio, and left his wife and three small children to pursue the writer's life of creativity. Anderson described the entire episode as "escaping from his materialistic existence," which garnered praise from many young writers, who used his "courage" as an example.

Anderson moved back to Chicago, working again for a publishing and advertising company. In 1914, he divorced Lane and married Tennessee Mitchell.

Novelist


Anderson's first novel, Windy McPherson's Son, was published in 1916, followed, three years later, by his second major work, Marching Men. However, he is most famous for the collection of interrelated short stories, which were published in 1919, known as Winesburg, Ohio
Winesburg, Ohio (novel)
Winesburg, Ohio is a 1919 short story cycle by the American author Sherwood Anderson. The work is structured around the life of protagonist George Willard, from the time he was a child to his growing independence and ultimate abandonment of Winesburg as a young man...

. He claimed that "Hands", the opening story, was the first "real" story he ever wrote. Although his short stories were very successful, Anderson felt the need to write novels. In 1920, he published Poor White
Poor White
Poor White is an American novel by Sherwood Anderson, published in 1920.-Plot introduction:It is the story of an inventor, Hugh McVey, who rises from poverty on the bank of the Mississippi River. The novel shows the influence of industrialism on the rural heartland of America.-External links:* *...

, which was rather successful.

In 1923, Anderson published Many Marriages
Many Marriages
Many Marriages is a 1923 Sherwood Anderson novel, largely plotless and considered by many to be the beginning of his decline as a writer. The novel did have its champions, however, F. Scott Fitzgerald among them....

, the themes of which he would carry over into much of his later writing. The novel had its detractors, but the reviews were, on the whole, positive. F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigm writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost...

, for example, considered Many Marriages to be Anderson's finest novel.

Beginning in 1924, Anderson lived in the historic Pontalba Apartments (540-B St. Peter Street) adjoining Jackson Square
Jackson Square, New Orleans
Jackson Square, also known as Place d'Armes, is a historic park in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.-Design:...

 in New Orleans. There, he and his wife entertained William Faulkner
William Faulkner
William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer from Oxford, Mississippi. Faulkner worked in a variety of media; he wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays and screenplays during his career...

, Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and another for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg "indubitably an American in every pulse-beat."-Biography:Sandburg was born in Galesburg,...

, Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson
Edmund Wilson was an American writer and literary and social critic and noted man of letters.-Early life:Wilson was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father, Edmund Wilson, Sr., was a lawyer and served as New Jersey Attorney General. Wilson attended The Hill School, a college preparatory...

 and other literary luminaries. Of Faulkner, in fact, he wrote his ambiguous and moving short story "A Meeting South," and, in 1925, wrote Dark Laughter
Dark Laughter
Dark Laughter was Sherwood Anderson's 1925 novel which took up much the same theme as his 1923 novel Many Marriages, though he read James Joyce's Ulysses in between. The influence of Ulysses is clear in Dark Laughter. While Winesburg, Ohio is Anderson's best known work today, Dark Laughter was the...

, a novel rooted in his New Orleans experience. Although the book is now out of print (and was satirized by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

 in his novel The Torrents of Spring
The Torrents of Spring
The Torrents of Spring is a novella written by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1926. Hemingway's first long work, it was written as a parody of Sherwood Anderson...

), it was Anderson's only bestseller.

Another remarriage


Anderson's third marriage also failed, and he married Eleanor Copenhaver in the late 1920s. They traveled and often studied together. They were active in the trade union movement. In the 1930s, Anderson published Death in the Woods, Puzzled America (a book of essays), and Kit Brandon, which was published in 1936.

Anderson dedicated his 1932 novel, Beyond Desire, to Copenhaver. Although he was much less influential in this final writing period, many of his more significant lines of prose
Prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

 were present in these works, which were generally considered sub-par compared to his other works.

"Beyond Desire", set during the 1929 Loray Mill Strike
Loray Mill Strike
The Loray Mill Strike of 1929 in Gastonia, North Carolina was one of the most notable strikes in the labor history of the United States. Though largely unsuccessful in attaining its goals of better working conditions and wages, the strike was considered very successful in a lasting way; it caused...

 in Gastonia, NC, resulted in yet another satirical mention by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

. Hemingway included a minor character in his 1937 novel To Have and Have Not
To Have and Have Not
To Have and Have Not is a 1937 novel by Ernest Hemingway about Harry Morgan, a fishing boat captain who lives with a prostitute and runs contraband between Cuba and Florida. The novel depicts Harry as an essentially good man who is forced into blackmarket activity by economic forces beyond his...

 who is an author. This character is working on a novel of Gastonia.

Death


Anderson died in Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 at the age of 64 while on a cruise
Cruising (maritime)
Cruising by boat is a lifestyle that involves living for extended time on a boat while traveling from place to place for pleasure. Cruising generally refers to trips of a few days or more, and can extend to round-the-world voyages.- History :...

 to South America. An autopsy revealed that he had accidentally swallowed a toothpick (presumably in a martini
Martini (cocktail)
The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" and E. B...

 olive), which had perforated his colon
Colon (anatomy)
The colon is the last part of the digestive system in most vertebrates; it extracts water and salt from solid wastes before they are eliminated from the body, and is the site in which flora-aided fermentation of unabsorbed material occurs. Unlike the small intestine, the colon does not play a...

 and caused a fatal case of peritonitis
Peritonitis
Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, the serous membrane that lines part of the abdominal cavity and viscera. Peritonitis may be localised or generalised, and may result from infection or from a non-infectious process.-Abdominal pain and tenderness:The main manifestations of...

. He was buried at Round Hill Cemetery in Marion, Virginia
Marion, Virginia
Marion is a town in Smyth County, Virginia, United States. The population was 5,968 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Smyth County. The town is named for American Revolutionary War officer Francis Marion.-Tourism:...

. His epitaph reads, "Life, Not Death, is the Great Adventure."

Anderson's final home, known as Ripshin, still stands in Troutdale, Virginia
Troutdale, Virginia
Troutdale is a town in Grayson County, Virginia, United States. The population was 194 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Troutdale is located at ....

, and may be toured by appointment.

Works



Novels

  • Windy McPherson's Son (1916)
  • Marching Men
    Marching Men
    Marching Men is a 1917 novel by American author Sherwood Anderson. It was the second book of Anderson's three-book contract with the publisher John Lane...

    (1917)
  • Poor White
    Poor White
    Poor White is an American novel by Sherwood Anderson, published in 1920.-Plot introduction:It is the story of an inventor, Hugh McVey, who rises from poverty on the bank of the Mississippi River. The novel shows the influence of industrialism on the rural heartland of America.-External links:* *...

    (1920)
  • Many Marriages
    Many Marriages
    Many Marriages is a 1923 Sherwood Anderson novel, largely plotless and considered by many to be the beginning of his decline as a writer. The novel did have its champions, however, F. Scott Fitzgerald among them....

    (1923)
  • Dark Laughter
    Dark Laughter
    Dark Laughter was Sherwood Anderson's 1925 novel which took up much the same theme as his 1923 novel Many Marriages, though he read James Joyce's Ulysses in between. The influence of Ulysses is clear in Dark Laughter. While Winesburg, Ohio is Anderson's best known work today, Dark Laughter was the...

    (1925)
  • Tar: A Midwest Childhood (1926, semi-autobiographical novel)
  • Alice and the Lost Novel (1929)
  • Beyond Desire (1932)
  • Kit Brandon: A Portrait (1936)

Short Story Collections

  • Winesburg, Ohio
    Winesburg, Ohio (novel)
    Winesburg, Ohio is a 1919 short story cycle by the American author Sherwood Anderson. The work is structured around the life of protagonist George Willard, from the time he was a child to his growing independence and ultimate abandonment of Winesburg as a young man...

    (1919)
  • The Triumph of the Egg: A Book of Impressions From American Life in Tales and Poems (1921)
  • Horses and Men (1923)
  • Hands and Other Stories (1925)
  • Death in the Woods and Other Stories
    Death in the Woods
    Death in the Woods is a short story by Sherwood Anderson first published in 1924 and reprinted in 1933. "Death in the Woods" is a "retelling" of events from the narrator's childhood, as he attempts to explain a death and its relationship to other lives....

    (1933)
  • Unlighted Lights

Nonfiction

  • A Story Teller's Story (1924, memoir)
  • The Modern Writer (1925, essays)
  • Sherwood Anderson's Notebook (1926, memoir)
  • Hello Towns! (1929, collected newspaper articles)
  • Nearer the Grass Roots (1929, essays)
  • The American County Fair (1930, essays)
  • Perhaps Women (1931, essays)
  • Puzzled America (1935, essays)
  • A Writer's Conception of Realism (1939, essays)
  • Home Town (1940, photographs and commentary)

Published Posthumously

  • Sherwood Anderson's Memoirs (1942)
  • The Sherwood Anderson Reader, edited by Paul Rosenfeld (1947)
  • The Portable Sherwood Anderson, edited by Horace Gregory (1949)
  • Letters of Sherwood Anderson, edited by Howard Mumford Jones and Walter B. Rideout (1953)
  • Sherwood Anderson: Short Stories, edited by Maxwell Geismar (1962)
  • Return to Winesburg: Selections From Four Years of Writing for a Country Newspaper, edited by Ray Lewis White (1967)
  • The Buck Fever Papers, edited by Welford Dunaway Taylor (1971, collected newspaper articles).
  • Sherwood Anderson and Gertrude Stein: Correspondence and Personal Essays, edited by Ray Lewis White (1972)
  • The "Writer's Book," edited by Martha Mulroy Curry (1975, unpublished works)
  • France and Sherwood Anderson: Paris Notebook, 1921, edited by Michael Fanning (1976)
  • Sherwood Anderson: The Writer at His Craft, edited by Jack Salzman, David D. Anderson, and Kichinosuke Ohashi (1979)
  • A Teller's Tales, selected and introduced by Frank Gado (1983)
  • Sherwood Anderson: Selected Letters: 1916–1933, edited by Charles E. Modlin (1984)
  • Letters to Bab: Sherwood Anderson to Marietta D. Finely, 1916–1933, edited by William A. Sutton (1985)
  • The Sherwood Anderson Diaries, 1936–1941, edited by Hilbert H. Campbell (1987)
  • Sherwood Anderson: Early Writings, edited by Ray Lewis White (1989)
  • Sherwood Anderson's Love Letters to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, edited by Charles E. Modlin (1989)
  • Sherwood Anderson's Secret Love Letters, edited by Ray Lewis White (1991)
  • Certain Things Last: The Selected Stories of Sherwood Anderson, edited by Charles E. Modlin (1992)
  • Southern Odyssey: Selected Writings by Sherwood Anderson, edited by Welford Dunaway Taylor and Charles E. Modlin (1997)
  • The Egg and Other Stories, edited with an introduction by Charles E. Modlin (1998)

Sources


External links