Spoon River Anthology

Spoon River Anthology

by Edgar Lee Masters
     
 

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In 1915, Edgar Lee Masters published a book of dramatic monologues written in free verse about a fictional town called Spoon River, based on the Midwestern towns where he grew up. The shocking scandals and secret tragedies of Spoon River were immediately recognized by readers as authentic. Masters raises the dead “sleeping on the hill” in their village

Overview

In 1915, Edgar Lee Masters published a book of dramatic monologues written in free verse about a fictional town called Spoon River, based on the Midwestern towns where he grew up. The shocking scandals and secret tragedies of Spoon River were immediately recognized by readers as authentic. Masters raises the dead “sleeping on the hill” in their village cemetery to tell the truth about their lives, and their testimony topples the American myth of the moral superiority of small-town life. Spoon River, as undeniably corrupt and cruel as the big city, is home to murderers, drunkards, crooked bankers, lechers, bitter wives, abusive husbands, failed dreamers, and a few good souls. The freshness of this masterpiece undiminished, Spoon River Anthology remains a landmark of American literature.

With an Introduction by John Hollander and an Afterword by Ronald Primeau

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440635298
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/29/2008
Series:
Penguin Classics Series
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
233,781
File size:
562 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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.

Meet the Author

As a young man, Edgar Lee Masters (1869–1950) rebelled against what he believed to be the hypocrisy of small-town life and went to Chicago, where he practiced law for thirty years. He published eleven books of verses, plays, and essays before beginning his masterpiece, Spoon River Anthology (1915). Later, Masters, Carl Sandburg, and Vachel Lindsay initiated a poetic renaissance in the Midwest, with Chicago as its center.

John Hollander (1929–2013) was an acclaimed American poet and the Sterling Professor emeritus of English at Yale University. His books include Spectral Emanations: New and Selected Poems, Harp Lake, In Time and Place, and Blue Wine and Other Poems. Hollander was also the author of a number of critical works, including Rhyme’s Reason: A Guide to English Verse.

Ronald Primeau is Professor of English and Director of the MA in Humanities at Central Michigan University. He has published books on Edgar Lee Masters, Herbert W. Martin, the literature of the American highway, and the rhetoric of television. He has edited works on Masters, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the dynamics of literary influence.

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