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

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