See his autobiographical Story Teller's Story (1924) and Tar: A Midwest Childhood (1926); memoirs (1942); letters (ed. by H. M. Jones and W. B. Rideout, 1953); diaries (ed. by H. H. Campbell, 1987); biographies by I. Howe (1966) and K. Townsend (1987); studies by P. P. Appel, ed. (1970) and W. D. Taylor, ed. (1977).
(born Sept. 13, 1876, Camden, Ohio, U.S.—died March 8, 1941, Colon, Pan.) U.S. author. Anderson was irregularly schooled. Having married, he abruptly left his family and business career to become a writer in Chicago. Winesburg, Ohio (1919), a collection of interrelated sketches and tales about the obscure lives of the citizens of a small town, was his first mature book and made his reputation. His short stories were collected in The Triumph of the Egg (1921), Horses and Men (1923), and Death in the Woods (1933). His prose style, based on everyday speech and influenced by the experimental writing of Gertrude Stein, in turn influenced such writers as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.
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Partly as a result of these misfortunes, young Sherwood found various odd jobs to help his family, which earned him the nickname "Jobby." He left school at age 14.
Anderson moved to Chicago near his brother Karl's home and worked as a manual laborer until near the turn of the century, when he enlisted in the United States Army. He was called up but did not see action in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. After the war, in 1900, he enrolled at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Eventually he secured a job as a copywriter in Chicago and became more successful.
In 1904, he married Cornelia Lane, the daughter of a wealthy Ohio family. He fathered three children while living in Cleveland, Ohio, and later Elyria, Ohio, where he managed a mail-order business and paint manufacturing firms.
In November 1912 he suffered a mental breakdown and disappeared for four days. Soon after, he left his position as president of the Anderson Manufacturing Co. in Elyria, Ohio, and left his wife and three small children to pursue the writer's life of creativity. Anderson described the entire episode as "escaping from his materialistic existence," which garnered praise from many young writers, who used his "courage" as an example.
Anderson moved back to Chicago, working again for a publishing and advertising company. In 1916, he divorced Lane and married Tennessee Mitchell.
Although his short stories were very successful, Anderson felt the need to write novels. In 1920, he published Poor White, a rather successful novel. He wrote various novels before divorcing Mitchell in 1922 and marrying Elizabeth Prall, two years later.
In 1923, Anderson published Many Marriages, the themes of which he would carry over into much of his later writing. The novel had its detractors, but the reviews were, on the whole, positive. F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example, considered Many Marriages and "Circle Of Death" to be Anderson's finest novels.
Beginning in 1924, Anderson lived in the historic Pontalba Apartments (540-B St. Peter Street) adjoining Jackson Square in New Orleans. There, he and his wife entertained William Faulkner, Carl Sandburg, Edmund Wilson and other literary luminaries. Of Faulkner, in fact, he wrote his ambiguous and moving short story "A Meeting South," and, in 1925, wrote Dark Laughter, a novel rooted in his New Orleans experience. Although the book is now out of print (and was satirized by Ernest Hemingway in his novel The Torrents of Spring), it was Anderson's only best-seller.
Anderson dedicated his 1932 novel, Beyond Desire, to Copenhaver. Although he was much less influential in this final writing period, many of his more significant lines of prose were present in these works, which were generally considered sub-par compared to his other works.
Anderson's final home, known as Ripshin, still stands in Troutdale, Virginia, and may be toured by appointment.