Winesburg, Ohio, gave birth to the American story cycle, for which William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and later writers were forever indebted. Defying the prudish sensibilities of his time, Anderson never omitted anything adult, harsh, or shocking; instead he embraced frankness, truth, and the hidden depths everyone possesses. Here we meet young George Willard, a newspaper reporter with dreams; Kate Swift, the schoolteacher who attempts to seduce him; Wing Biddlebaum, a berry picker whose hands are the source of both his renown and shame; Alice Hindman, who has one last adventure; and all the other complex human beings whose portraits brought American literature into the modern age. Their stories make up a classic and place its author alongside the best of American writers.
With an Introduction by Irving Howe and an Afterword by Dean Koontz
A daughter's gift...
By John P. Jones III - December 18, 2009
... Isn't one of the ultimate benchmarks of successful parenting when your child selects a book from her bookshelf, and says: "Here Dad, you may enjoy this"? Of course I had to overcome that instinctive shudder when I recognized the not very "zippy" title as belong to one of those "school assignment" books I had so successfully dodged. Yet considering it is far past the time to reconsider that initial aversion, and that the only teacher I have to please is myself; and then there is the matter of the pedigree of the recommender... so why not?
I did not get past the introduction before I uncovered a recommendation that reinforced the others. Sherwood Anderson was a mentor to both Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, no small matter in itself. The not very fictional town of Winesburg, Ohio is based on the very real town of Clyde, Ohio, wherever that is. It proves to be located not that far off the shores of Lake Erie, between Cleveland and Toledo. Clyde still has only... read more
Classic, with a thoughtful afterward
By Jake Barnes "docmoog" - October 19, 2009
I'm specifically reviewing the Signet Classic edition, which contains an afterward by none other than horror/suspense mega-star Dean Koontz. Koontz gives an intelligent, sober, and laudatory interpretation of both Anderson's life and career, and an interpretation of the text. The selection of Koontz, one of our most popular and commercial novelists, to talk about Winesburg, one of our most literary and un-commercial classics, peeked my interest to re-read Anderson's great book and read Koontz's comments.
I'm glad I did. Winesburg is full of wonderful loner characters that still resonate today. And Koontz's afterward shows that even the most popular and mainstream of American novelists still has one foot firmly rooted in the history of classic American literature. I think this is a wonderful lesson, especially for young people who wonder why they are "forced" to read books like Winesburg in school. For any of us who have felt misunderstood, felt odd, felt like an... read more
Characters in a small midwest town
By Reader "Eugenia" - March 23, 2008
Stories in this book are all set in a small midwest town in Ohio. We all have our preconceptions about midwestern people, their attitudes, sensibilities and way of life. Author digs deep into their lives and psyche. By the time you finish this book, you will pretty much know about every member of this small community. People we learn about are lonely, damaged, with no prospects. They are molded by their upbringing and their first experiences in love and marriage. They all have regrets, yet they are too weak to break away and start new. It is up to young generations to try their lives outside of confines of a small city and whether or not they succeed no one will know until much, much later. These are deep stories and they will get you thinking about them for a long time after you are finished reading. An absolute classic of short american story literature.
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