Saturday, September 13, 2003

Ohio Moments

Sherwood Anderson wrote 'brooding' tales

On Sept. 13, 1876, writer Sherwood Anderson, best known for his short stories dubbed "brooding Midwest tales," was born in Camden, Ohio.

Anderson's reputation was made on his sympathetic insight into the thwarted lives of ordinary people. He captured the sound of everyday speech and experimented with new forms and styles. His collection of short stories, Winesburg, Ohio, is considered his finest work. He influenced a later generation of writers that included Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

Anderson was the third child of a harness maker and house painter. When his father's business failed, he moved the family to Clyde, Ohio, and took to drinking heavily.

Anderson's early education was sporadic. He worked as a laborer and served in the Spanish-American War. After the war he enrolled at Wittenberg Academy in Springfield, Ohio, where he earned his food and lodging by doing chores at the artists' boardinghouse.

He managed a mail-order business and two paint stores in Cleveland before suffering a breakdown in 1912. He then moved to Chicago where he became part of a group of young writers that included Carl Sandburg.

Rebecca Goodman

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