During his career Sherwood Anderson wrote three semi-autobiographical studies, of which A STORY TELLER’S STORY is the first and in some ways the most revealing of the man to whom the life of fancy was always as real as the world of fact. As in his fiction, he showed in his account of personal experience the same interest in troubled inward states and psychological depths that he presented in his short stories and novels, compassionate insights into the twisted, distorted lives of the world’s misfits. In this respect he was a pioneer in American literature, interested in uncovering the frustrations, anxieties, fears, and desires of people. He did not present characters; he gave us live, moving human beings. Anderson called his figures “grotesques.” This grotesqueness was a guard against a deformity, but it was also a projection of misshapen emotion. A STORY TELLER’S STORY is presented on at least two levels: on one a series of enjoyable loose-jointed stories—true in one sense, fiction in the manner in which they are expanded—and on another a study of grotesques.
The book is filled with Anderson’s memories, beginning with his recollections of his early boyhood in Ohio. The first and one of the most interesting sections tells of the Anderson family. Sherwood Anderson’s father, an American dreamer who could tell a marvelous story but could not be a practical man, dominates this section. Anderson often compares himself to...
(The entire section is 1552 words.)
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