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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sherwood Anderson

Last year read Sherwood anderson's winesberg ohio in library of america edition (Charles Baxter Ed,) and have picked it up again to read additional stories on Charles may recommendation. Again struck by his easy and accessible tone and in particular by his credible use of first person narration. Of course many of the greatest 19th c American works used first person narration esp by working class rural or outsider characters notably huck Finn and Ishmael but can anyone actually believe that these characters were able to tell their stories w such literary expertise? No nor are we meant to. But in the early 20th c writers like Anderson and also ring Lardner used first person w verisimilitude - a new a "modern" style whose descendants include Holden caulfield et al. Anderson's race track stories seem quite genuine but also sadly today they will make any reader extremely uncomfortable w their casual racism - no doubt accurately depicted butt hard not to react against. One of the best later (1930s) Anderson stories is the egg - a sadly humorous account of a dour man (a's father?) failing at chicken farming and inexplicably trying his hand at being an innkeeper of sorts. Story ends w sorrowful lament about the never ending cycle of chicken-egg that is another anti-epiphany - the darkness of the world revealed. What is it about chicken farming and American humor (aside from assoc of chicken farming w the Depression) - s j Perlman also wrote about the tribulations and loss of faith that chicken farming entails.

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