Spoon River Anthology

Overview


The innovative free verse collection of small-town life that made Edgar Lee Masters a legend

A literary sensation when it appeared in 1915, Spoon River Anthology earned Edgar Lee Masters comparisons to T. S. Eliot and Walt Whitman. The characters who speak here tarnish the pure image of their Midwestern hamlet by holding forth from the grave with tales of illicit love affairs, betrayed confidences, political corruption, and miserable marriages. The first serious work of ...

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Overview


The innovative free verse collection of small-town life that made Edgar Lee Masters a legend

A literary sensation when it appeared in 1915, Spoon River Anthology earned Edgar Lee Masters comparisons to T. S. Eliot and Walt Whitman. The characters who speak here tarnish the pure image of their Midwestern hamlet by holding forth from the grave with tales of illicit love affairs, betrayed confidences, political corruption, and miserable marriages. The first serious work of psychological naturalism, this artful indictment of small-town hypocrisy influenced Theodore Dreiser, William Faulkner, and other luminaries.

A notorious success when it was first published in 1915, this collection of dramatic monologues by over 200 former inhabitants of the fictional town of Spoon River topples the myth of moral superiority in small-town America, as the dead give testimony to their shocking scandals and secret tragedies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143105152
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 297,169
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.74 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Edgar Lee Masters was born in 1868 in Garnett, Kansas. He achieved fame in 1915 with the publication of Spoon River Anthology. Though he never matched the success of Spoon River Anthology, Masters was a prolific writer of diverse works. He published several volumes of poems including The Great Valley (1916), Along the Illinois (1942), The Serpent in the Wilderness (1933), and Invisible Landscapes (1935). In the 1940s he was awarded the Poetry Society of America medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. Edgar Lee Masters died in Melrose, Pennsylvania, in 1950 and is buried in Petersburg, Illinois.

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Read an Excerpt

Spoon River Anthology


By Masters, Edgar Lee

Tor Classics

Copyright © 1997 Masters, Edgar Lee
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780812539042

The Hill
 
 
Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,
The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
 
One passed in a fever,
One was burned in a mine,
One was killed in a brawl,
One died in a jail,
One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
 
Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,
The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?-
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
 
One died in shameful child-birth,
One of a thwarted love,
One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,
One of a broken pride, in the search for heart's desire,
One after life in far-away London and Paris
Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,
And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,
And Major Walker who had talked
With venerable men of the revolution?-
All, all, are sleeping on the hill.
 
They brought them dead sons from the war,
And daughters whomlife had crushed,
And their children fatherless, crying--
All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.
 
Where is Old Fiddle: Jones
Who played with life all his ninety years,
Braving the sleet with bared breast,
Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?
Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,
Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary's Grove,
Of what Abe Lincoln said
One time at Springfield.
 
All new material in this edition copyright 1996 by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.


Continues...

Excerpted from Spoon River Anthology by Masters, Edgar Lee Copyright © 1997 by Masters, Edgar Lee. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents


Spoon River Anthology Introduction by Jerome Loving
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text

Spoon River Anthology

Explanatory Notes

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2006

    Disappointing edition of an important work

    This ¿edition¿ of Spoon River is a rip-off and a disappointment. I have had a copy of Spoon River on my bookshelf for over forty years, and recently wished to give a nicer copy of this important work to a friend. So I ordered this hardcover edition, at $27.95. At first glance I was disappointed. For a hardcover, it was of low quality, cheap paper, and a cheap and very plain font. Then I discovered that it is marked ¿Copyright 1986 by Buccaneer Book, Inc.¿. There is no reference to the original publication date of 1915, no introduction, and the Epilogue, contained in all paperback editions that I have seen, was missing entirely. Worst of all, THIRTY (30) of the original ¿voices¿ have simply been deleted. This edition by Buccaneer Books is an unacceptable insult to a great work of American literature, and I am surprised that Barnes & Noble have allowed such low quality merchandise to be in their inventory. I will be returning this ¿book¿ immediately. Brian Young

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book

    Im Reading and Doing Projects and activities on this book in english class and athough im not a big reAder this is a really great book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    Re-visit Spoon River

    Along with WINESBURG, OHIO, SPA needs to be re-visited in the sense that it is time to reevaluate the American dream by looking back into small town life as it was presented at the turn of the 20th century. It's not a pretty picture anymore. SPA takes you into familiar problems of today. Somewhere the American Dream seems to be more of a nightmare.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    An American Classic

    I had not read Spoon River Anthology since I was in high school but its poems have stayed with me all these years. When I found the hardcover I knew this was a book I had to own. After all these years it is as relevant and brilliant as I remembered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009

    Good for English class!

    This is a great book to discuss in my English Class. The kids love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2008

    A must have!

    This can be a difficult read but well worth it. I have owned it since I was in high school and repeatedly go back to it like an old friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Good for Monologues

    This clever book of poems is really handy for monologues. Some casting directors think that you're quite clever to use something that isn't the typical monologue. The poems are filled with emotion and character, and truly are good pieces.

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