Sherwood Anderson: A Biography

Kim Townsend, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-395-36533-5
As a writer Anderson, who died in 1941, had as many failures as successes, and he was eclipsed by the generation that followed him. A major literary influence nonetheless, he is engrossing to read about. Townsend brings these points out clearly in this fine biography (the first on Anderson in some 25 years) in which he examines the writings with critical astuteness and the man with sympathetic understanding. Anderson wrote novels, plays, poetry and countless stories, but it's his story collection, Winesburg, Ohio, that shows him at his best, both as artist and as the portraitist par excellence of small-town America. Townsend takes us through his early business career, which ended in emotional breakdown; his ambivalence toward women and three failed marriages; his friendship with Hemingway and Faulkner (both turned against him after he had helped their careers); and, above all, his endless and heroic endeavor to discover himself through the act of writing. Illustrations. (September 30)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
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