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Winesburg, Ohio (1919)

by Sherwood Anderson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,5461201,588 (3.8)1 / 255
In a deeply moving collection of interrelated stories, this 1919 American classic illuminates the loneliness and frustrations -- spiritual, emotional and artistic -- of life in a small town.
  1. 120
    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (chrisharpe)
  2. 80
    My Ántonia by Willa Cather (chrisharpe)
  3. 40
    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (bertilak)
    bertilak: Bradbury has said that Winesburg, Ohio was one of the inspirations for The Martian Chronicles (grotesque characters in Ohio versus on Mars).
  4. 30
    Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (kxlly)
  5. 20
    Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters (kxlly, jannon)
    jannon: A similar multivocal version of a small midwestern town, but in verse.
  6. 10
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (FutureMrsJoshGroban)
    FutureMrsJoshGroban: The style of writing and realism in the portrayal of the characters is very similar.
  7. 10
    The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (kxlly)
  8. 10
    Fidelity: Five Stories by Wendell Berry (MissWoodhouse1816)
  9. 00
    Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro (Jozefus)
    Jozefus: Anderson en Munro zijn vaker met elkaar vergeleken. Beide boeken bestaan uit losse verhalen over een protagonist(e) die opgroeit in een fictief provinciestadje. En in beide gevallen vertoont dat stadje een opvallende gelijkenis met de plaats waar de auteur zelf is opgegroeid.… (more)
  10. 11
    Marriages Are Made In India by Lakshmi Raj Sharma (Publerati)
    Publerati: Like Winesburg Ohio, this story collection hangs together in mood and theme in an appealing way.
  11. 00
    A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (AnnaKatharina)
  12. 01
    The Man Without a Face by Isabelle Holland (TheLittlePhrase)
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» See also 255 mentions

English (107)  Catalan (5)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  German (1)  All languages (118)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
The author Sherwood Anderson led an interesting life. He was born in 1876, America’s Centennial Year, to a father who was a veteran of the Civil War, and a mother who later took in laundry to make ends meet while her husband drank. After growing up in small town Ohio, he followed his brother to Chicago and began working factory jobs while going to night school to further his education. He left to join the Army for the Spanish American War, and then returned to Chicago to begin a career in advertising and sales. In his spare time he began writing. It wasn’t until his 40s that his first book was published.

He found his first real success with the work that he is mainly remembered today - the short story collection in Winesburg, Ohio. The publisher of his first two books refused to publish Winesburg, calling it “too gloomy”. It was Ben Heubsch, owner of a small publishing house in New York, who gave the book its title and published it to effusive critical reception.

Anderson has been considered by some critics to be more significant for his influence on a younger generation of writers than for any of his own works. Those he influenced include Hemingway, Faulkner, and Sandburg, who he and his third wife entertained at their apartment in New Orleans in the 1920s. He was married four times, taking full advantage of the new sexual freedom of the Roaring Twenties. He died in 1941 of peritonitis while on a cruise in the Caribbean.

In 1998, Modern Library chose Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio as #24 on their list of 100 Best Novels. It’s in fact not a novel, but a series of interconnecting short stories. Each is a character study focused on a particular individual. Every one of Anderson’s characters has their secrets, every one has their disappointments. Taken together the stories provide a sense of the loneliness and frustration hiding beneath the surface of small town pre-industrial life. The stories are heartbreakingly real, and written in simple, matter-of-fact language that I found distinctly Midwestern.

In many of the stories young George Willard, an eager newspaper reporter, and stand-in for the author, plays a part. People come to him and unload their tales. George himself is a character in the tales of his mother and himself that finish out the book.

I really enjoyed these stories. I know some find them depressing, but remember when they were written, with World War I raging and America undergoing enormous change - from agriculture to industry and from rural to urban. Stories looking back to small town life between the Civil War and World War I, and seeing it with all its shortcomings, make perfect sense given the times.

But for me the realness of the stories Anderson captured makes them timeless. ( )
  stevesbookstuff | Nov 11, 2022 |
Some strange groupings if little fictions.

Goes from funny and fascinating to confusingly convoluted.

But I can't hate on the book written about my ancestor's small town in Ohio. ( )
  josh513 | Aug 13, 2022 |
The stories in Winesburg, Ohio, tell of a restless longing for something that the characters can’t quite define, but which may be community or connection. It has an aura of disappointment verging on despair. The town is filled with lonely souls who seem detached from everyone around them, except for young reporter George Willard, who seems to be the last remaining thread connecting the people of Winesburg. What will happen to the town when George Willard leaves?

Anderson seems to capture the beginning of the Midwest’s shift from agricultural economy to manufacturing economy and the waning of its small towns. Everyone with Midwestern roots ought to read this book. ( )
  cbl_tn | Mar 12, 2022 |
I know many of my friends did not enjoy this collection as much as I did. They called the interconnected stories "depressing." I chose to focus on the glimpses of small town life and the beautiful way the author painted the picture with adjectives and other words. George Willard appears in most of the stories, and we gain lots of insights into his character through the course of the book. I found a lot of truth in the small town life depiction even a century later. While I know many will disagree with my high rating, this one resonated with me. ( )
  thornton37814 | Mar 9, 2022 |
A collection of short stories about the citizens of the small town. What most of the stories have in common is that each character has something that makes them feel isolated and often desperately unhappy, whether this is a bad marriage or an unsuccessful career or unrequited love. While some readers have found this a depressing book, and it certainly isn't a happy one, there are little unexpected touches of humor, and a lot more sex than you'd expect in a book published in 1919. ( )
  mstrust | Mar 8, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
In the autumn of 1915, while living in a bohemian boardinghouse on Chicago’s Near North Side, Sherwood Anderson began work on a collection of tales describing the tortured lives of the inhabitants of Winesburg, a fictional Ohio town, in the 1890s. Drawing on his own experience growing up in the agricultural hamlet of Clyde, Ohio, he breathed life into a band of neurotic castaways adrift on the flatlands of the Midwest, each of them in their own way struggling — and failing — to locate meaning, personal connection and love amid the town’s elm-shaded streets.
 
Barely a day has passed in more than 20 years during which my thoughts haven’t turned, however fleetingly, to Anderson, “the minor author of a minor masterpiece,” as he once described himself. Winesburg has become my life’s great literary obsession, though for reasons that remain obscure even to me.
added by rybie2 | editNEH website, Bruce Falconer (Oct 8, 2017)
 
Het boek kent enkele zich nogal herhalende thema’s en lijdt wat onder de afwezigheid van de psychologische inzichten die de er opvolgende decennia gemeengoed zouden worden. Toch heeft deze terechte heruitgave meer dan louter literair historische waarde. Het toont een Amerika op de historische grens van een agrarische naar een industriële samenleving, en het toont de onmacht, de hopeloos lijkende ontsnappingsstrategieën, de dieptrieste psychologische problematiek van het voetvolk dat nooit erkenning zou krijgen in het Amerikaanse succesverhaal. Sherwood Anderson zal dit nooit als oogmerk hebben gehad, omdat hij het lot van zijn personages als universeel zag en dat met veel mededogen noteerde.
added by Jozefus | editNRC Handelsblad, Jan Donkers (pay site) (May 26, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (124 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anderson, Sherwoodprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cowley, MalcolmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, IrvingIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koontz, DeanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stahl, Ben F.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevisani, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the memory of my mother, Emma Smith Anderson, whose keen observations on the life about her first awoke in me the hunger to see beneath the surface of lives, this book is dedicated.
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(Introduction) Rereading Sherwood Anderson after many years, one feels again that his work is desperately uneven, but one is gratified to find that the best of it is as new and springlike as ever.
The writer, an old man with a white mustache, had some difficulty in getting into bed. The windows of the house in which he lived were high and he wanted to look at the trees when he awoke in the morning. A carpenter came to fix the bed so that it would be on a level with the window.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

In a deeply moving collection of interrelated stories, this 1919 American classic illuminates the loneliness and frustrations -- spiritual, emotional and artistic -- of life in a small town.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Short stories with common setting and several common characters, and a rough chronological order. Life in small town Ohio in the late nineteenth century.

Includes: "Hands"
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