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Spoon River Anthology (with an Introduction by May Swenson)

312 pages2 hours


Originally published in “Reedy’s Mirror” from May 29, 1914 until January 5, 1915 and then first in book form in 1915 with an expanded edition in 1916, “Spoon River Anthology” is a collection of poetry inspired by the tombstones of the dead in a small rural American town. There is no real Spoon River as the entire town and its inhabitants are fictional but much of the town and its deceased occupants are based in part on Masters’ own childhood growing up in small towns in Illinois. “Spoon River Anthology” is Edgar Lee Masters’ masterpiece, a collection of poetry that weaves a tapestry of the lives of a group of small-town Americans, which taken together reads like a novel critiquing the notion of the idyllic rural American life. A critical and financial success from its first publication, “Spoon River Anthology” is a truly original work of American literature, the likes of which there has not been before or since. This edition follows the expanded 1916 edition with its additional thirty-five poems, “The Spooniad”, and the epilogue; includes an introduction by May Swenson; and a biographical afterword.

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