Short stories by Sherwood Anderson.
Sherwood Anderson (September 13, 1876 – March 8, 1941) was an American novelist and short story writer, known for subjective and self-revealing works. Self-educated, he rose to become a successful copywriter and business owner in Cleveland and Elyria, Ohio. In 1912, Anderson had a nervous breakdown that led him to abandon his business and family to become a writer.
At the time, he moved to Chicago and was eventually married three additional times. His most enduring work is the short-story sequence Winesburg, Ohio, which launched his career. Throughout the 1920s, Anderson published several short story collections, novels, memoirs, books of essays, and a book of poetry. Though his books sold reasonably well, Dark Laughter (1925), a novel inspired by Anderson's time in New Orleans during the 1920s, was his only bestseller.
Sherwood Berton Anderson was born on September 13, 1876, at 142 S. Lafayette Street in Camden, Ohio, a farming town with a population of around 650 (according to the 1870 census). He was the third of seven children born to Emma Jane (née Smith) and former Union soldier and harness-maker Irwin McLain Anderson. Considered reasonably well-off financially, Anderson's father was seen as an up-and-comer by his Camden contemporaries, the family left town just before Sherwood's first birthday. Reasons for the departure are uncertain; most biographers note rumors of debts incurred by either Irwin or his brother Benjamin. The Andersons headed north to Caledonia by way of a brief stay in a village of a few hundred called Independence (now Butler). Four or five years were spent in Caledonia, years which formed Anderson's earliest memories. This period later inspired his semi-autobiographical novel Tar: A Midwest Childhood (1926). In Caledonia Anderson's father began drinking excessively, which led to financial difficulties, eventually causing the family to leave the town.
With each move, Irwin Anderson's prospects dimmed; while in Camden he was the proprietor of a successful shop and could employ an assistant, but by the time the Andersons finally settled down in Clyde, Ohio in 1884, Irwin could only get work as a hired man to harness manufacturers. That job was short-lived, and for the rest of Sherwood Anderson's childhood, his father barely supported the family as an occasional sign-painter and paperhanger, while his mother took in washing to make ends meet. Partly as a result of these misfortunes, young Sherwood became adept at finding various odd jobs to help his family, earning the nickname "Jobby."
Though he was a decent student, Anderson's attendance at school declined as he began picking up work, and he finally left school for good at age 14 after about nine months of high school. From the time he began to cut school to the time he left town, Anderson worked as a "...newsboy, errand boy, waterboy, cow-driver, stable groom, and perhaps printer's devil, not to mention assistant to Irwin Anderson, Sign Painter..." in addition to assembling bicycles for the Elmore Manufacturing Company. Even in his teens, Anderson's talent for selling was evident, a talent he would later draw on in a successful career in advertising. As a newsboy he was said to have convinced a tired farmer in a saloon to buy two copies of the same evening paper. With the exception of work, Anderson's childhood resembled that of other boys his age.
In addition to participating in local events and spending time with his friends, Anderson was a voracious reader. Though there were only a few books in the Anderson home (The Pilgrim's Progress and the Complete Poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson among them), the youth read widely by borrowing from the school library (there was not a public library in Clyde until 1903), and the personal libraries of a school superintendent and John Tichenor, a local artist, who responded to Anderson's interest.
By Anderson's 18th year in 1895, his family was on shaky ground. His father had started to disappear for weeks. Two years earlier, in 1893, Karl, Sherwood's elder brother, had left Clyde for Chicago. On May 10, 1895, his mother succumbed to tuberculosis. Sherwood, now essentially on his own, boarded at the Harvey & Yetter's livery stable where he worked as a groom—an experience that would translate into several of his best-known stories. (Irwin Anderson died in 1919 after having been estranged from his son for two decades.) Two months before his mother's death, in March 1895, Anderson had signed up with the Ohio National Guard for a five-year hitch while he was going steady with Bertha Baynes, an attractive girl and possibly the inspiration for Helen White in Winesburg, Ohio, and he was working a secure job at the bicycle factory. But his mother's death precipitated the young man's leaving Clyde. He settled in Chicago around late 1896 or spring/summer 1897, having worked a few small-town factory jobs along the way.
Chicago and war
Anderson moved to a boardinghouse in Chicago owned by a former mayor of Clyde. His brother Karl lived in the city and was studying at the Art Institute. Anderson moved in with him and quickly found a job at a cold-storage plant. In late 1897, Karl moved away, and Anderson relocated to a two-room flat with his sister and two younger brothers newly come from Clyde. Money was tight—Anderson earned "two dollars for a day of ten hours"— but with occasional support from Karl, they got by. Following the example of his Clyde confederate and lifelong friend Cliff Paden (later to become known as John Emerson) and Karl, Anderson took up the idea of furthering his education by enrolling in night school at the Lewis Institute. He attended several classes regularly including "New Business Arithmetic" earning marks that placed him second in the class. It was also there that Anderson heard lectures on Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, and was possibly first introduced to the poetry of Walt Whitman. Soon, however, Anderson's first stint in Chicago would come to an end as the United States prepared to enter the Spanish–American War.
Although he had limited resources while in Chicago, Anderson bought a new suit and returned to Clyde to join the military. Once home, the company he joined mustered into the army at Camp Bushnell, Ohio on May 12, 1898. Several months of training followed at various southern encampments until early in 1899, when his company was sent to Cuba. Fighting had ceased four months prior to their arrival. On April 21, 1899, they left Cuba having seen no combat. According to Irving Howe, "Sherwood was popular among his army comrades, who remembered him as a fellow given to prolonged reading, mostly in dime westerns and historical romances, and talented at finding a girl when he wanted one. For the first of these traits he was frequently teased, but the second brought him the respect it usually does in armies."
After the war, Anderson resided briefly in Clyde performing agricultural work before deciding to return to school. In September 1899 Anderson joined his siblings Karl and Stella in Springfield, Ohio where, at the age of twenty-three he enrolled for his senior year of preparatory school at the Wittenberg Academy, a preparatory school located on the campus of the Wittenberg University. In his time there he performed well, earning good marks and participating in several extracurricular activities. In the spring of 1900 Anderson graduated from the Academy, offering a discourse on Zionism as one of the eight students chosen to give a commencement speech.
Listing 5 stories.
After an odd revelation about life, a young man tries to prove himself to the woman he loves despite her love for another man.
A middle-aged widower dreams of asking a younger local woman to be his wife, but it has been years since his wife died and he has forgotten how to court a woman. As the woman continues to visit his cabin, he must work up the courage to tell her how he feels.
A young boy in 20th-century Illinois observes a woman from afar as she escapes an abusive relationship, gets married, and finds her calling.
A young man tries to impress a girl by lying about who he is and pretending to be wealthy.
A man walks with a writer around London who tells him about the novel he wrote that was lost which can never be matched in beauty by any other.