By Sherwood Anderson
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Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson ranked # 24 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
Winesburg, Ohio is a critically acclaimed work of fiction by the American author Sherwood Anderson. The book, written in 1919, is a collection of related
short stories, which could be loosely defined as a novel. The stories are centered on the protagonist George Willard and the fictional inhabitants of the town of Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson grew up in Clyde, Ohio, and this town served as the model for his fictional town of Winesburg, Ohio. (There is some unwarranted confusion on which town served as the model for this fictional work, because there is a real town with the name Winesburg, Ohio.)
The work explores the theme of loneliness and frustration in small-town America. Anderson's writing often seems disjointed and tentative, a style that lends itself to the half-conscious thoughts and raw emotions of Winesburg's residents and their inability to express their deepest hopes and fears. The townspeople are grotesques, stunted morally, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, and they are inarticulate. They seem to gravitate toward George, telling him their strange, often sad, stories in the hope that, in writing the stories of their lives, he will be able to impart dignity and meaning to their personal struggles and experiences.
The critical reception to Winesburg, Ohio upon its publication was positive, but it did not receive a wide readership. Among the literati, it was very highly regarded, but its sales were modest. It is now regarded as one of the finest American novels of the 20th century.
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