The New York Times

Sherwood Anderson's Revolutionary Small Town

HOW ‘WINESBURG, OHIO’ CHANGED AMERICAN LITERATURE.

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.

These “grotesques,” as Anderson called them, had allowed doubt and fear to overwhelm their better instincts. They were, the writer believed, casualties of a close-minded culture, condemned to live out a lonely, alienated existence. “Winesburg” quickly became a

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times2 min readFood & Wine
Way Back, When Bagels Were Tiny
(Science Times) ; (Trilobites) Researchers exploring an archaeological site in Austria have found three pieces of 3,000-year-old charred bread that look suspiciously like the remains of little bagels. They are not complete rings — only parts of what
The New York Times15 min readTech
The Making of a YouTube Radical
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Caleb Cain pulled a Glock pistol from his waistband, took out the magazine and casually tossed both onto the kitchen counter. “I bought it the day after I got death threats,” he said. The threats, Cain explained, came from right-
The New York Times5 min read
No Longer All Sweetness and Light
Zendaya jumps from Disney to drug binges in HBO’s graphic “Euphoria.” In an interview, the longtime Disney Channel star discusses her “scary” move into explicit, provocative television.