In 1956, long after the death of Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941), William Faulkner called him “the father of my generation of American writers and the tradition of American writing which our successors will carry on.” This was a moving tribute to the older writer and to the exceptional prose style Anderson had shaped in Winesburg, Ohio (1919). This short-story sequence and a handful of tales like “I Want to Know Why,” “The Egg,” “Pm a Fool,” “The Man Who Became a Woman,” and “Death in the Woods” have assured Anderson a place in the history of modern American letters.

But despite Faulkner’s praise, the place of Sherwood Anderson in the development of American literary modernism is problematic. Although he was the author of a number of novels—Windy McPherson’s Son (1916), Marching Men...


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