Sherwood Anderson Additional Biography


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Sherwood Anderson was born September 13, 1876, in Camden, Ohio, to Irwin and Emma Anderson. When he was eight years old, his family moved to Clyde, Ohio, where Anderson spent his most impressionable years. In later life, Anderson remembered Clyde as an ideal place for a boy to grow up; it became a symbol of the lost innocence of an earlier America. Many of his best stories have a fictionalized Clyde as their setting, and his memory of it shaped his vision of the American past and became a measure of the inadequacies of the industrialized, increasingly mechanized America of city apartments and bloodless sophistication.

Anderson’s family was poor. Irwin Anderson, a harness maker, was thrown out of work by industrialization and periods of economic instability. Thus he was forced to work at various odd jobs, such as house painter and paper hanger. Anderson’s mother took in washing, while Sherwood and his brother did odd jobs to help support the family. In his autobiographical accounts of growing up, A Story Teller’s Story, Tar, and Memoirs, Anderson expresses his humiliation at his impoverished childhood and his resentment toward his father for the inability to support his family. Anderson was particularly bitter about the hardship inflicted on his mother, to whom he was deeply attached. He held his father accountable for his mother’s early death, and in Windy McPherson’s Son one may see in the portrait of the father Anderson’s view of his own father as a braggart and a fool whose drunkenness and irresponsibility caused the death of his wife. In time, Anderson’s attitude toward his father softened; he came to see that his own gifts as a storyteller were derived from his father, who was a gifted yarn spinner.

Even more important in Anderson’s development as a writer was the sympathy awakened in him by his father’s failures. A braggart and a liar, Irwin Anderson nevertheless had romantic aspirations to shine in the eyes of the world; his pathetic attempts to amount to something made him grotesque by the standards of the world. An underlying tenderness for his father grew stronger as Sherwood Anderson grew older, enabling him to sympathize with those people in life who become the victims of the wrong kinds of dreams and aspirations. The portrayal of the narrator’s father in “The Egg” is one example of Anderson’s eventual compassion for such individuals.

Anderson’s youth, however, was marked by a rejection of his father and a worship of progress and business success. He eagerly embraced the current version of the American Dream as exemplified in the Horatio Alger stories: the...

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(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

ph_0111201173-Anderson.jpg Sherwood Anderson. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Sherwood Anderson began writing during the period from 1907 to 1912, when he was manager of a paint business in Elyria, Ohio. He had settled there in 1907 with his wife and growing family, apparently eager for success. The child of an impoverished harness maker whose skills had been made obsolete by advancing technology, Anderson had lived a life of hardship, meager education, and tireless moving about in search of employment. After a few years of writing advertising in Chicago and then marriage to Cornelia Lane, who was from a solid, middle-class family in Toledo, Anderson decided to go into business for himself. Soon, however, his attitude toward business changed, and he began to spend increasing amounts of time at night in an...

(The entire section is 404 words.)


(Literary Masterpieces, Volume 11)

One usually reads the letters of a famous author for two basic reasons: to gain some insight into his thought and art and to get an impression of his personal life, especially in terms of friendships and personal acquaintances. The assumption is that letters, because they are not written for publication, communicate an intimacy and honesty perhaps lacking in the author’s other work. Although such indeed may not always be true, since established writers are often well aware that their letters will be collected and eventually published, this new collection of letters by Sherwood Anderson does indeed give at least the illusion of intimacy and straightforwardness.

Sherwood Anderson, however, may be a special case, since...

(The entire section is 1979 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Sherwood Anderson was born in Camden, Ohio, on September 13, 1876. His wanderings began in boyhood as his family moved from town to town in Ohio. In a succession of jobs, his father ran a harness shop, worked in harness shops, and painted signs, each occupation bringing in relatively less money for his large family. Sherwood, an active young boy, sold newspapers, picked up odd jobs, and wandered around the Ohio towns that were to become the settings for his later stories and novels. Although he read avidly, he had finished only one year of high school when he went to Chicago, in 1896, to work as a day laborer. After serving in the Spanish-American War and attending a prep school for a short time, he returned to Chicago and worked...

(The entire section is 1021 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Sherwood Anderson was born the third of seven children in Camden, Ohio, on September 13, 1876. His father was locally renowned as a...

(The entire section is 365 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Considered one of the most important literary voices to come out of the American Midwest, Sherwood Anderson was born in Camden, Ohio, on...

(The entire section is 475 words.)


(Novels for Students)

Sherwood Anderson was born in 1876 in Camden, Ohio. In 1884 his family moved to Clyde, the small Ohio town that Winesburg is patterned after....

(The entire section is 456 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

Sherwood Anderson Published by Gale Cengage

Anderson was born on September 13, 1876, in Camden, Ohio. In his early years, his large family moved frequently and struggled with poverty....

(The entire section is 355 words.)