TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Edgar Lee Masters - Life Stories, Books, and Links
 
Biographical Information

Stories about Edgar Lee Masters

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

Recommended links
 
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
 
Picture of Edgar Lee Masters, author of Spoon River Anthology; novelist and short story writer; twentieth century American Literature
Edgar Lee Masters
(1869 - 1950)

 
Category:  American Literature
 
Born:  August 23, 1869
Garnett, Kansas, United States
 
Died:  March 5, 1950
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
 
Related authors:
Vachel Lindsay
 
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Edgar Lee Masters - LIFE STORIES
 
 
5/29/1914     Masters and Spoon River
On this day in 1914 the first installment of Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology appeared, with the full 244 "epitaphs," published in book form in 1916. Despite fears of a backlash due to his realistic and unflattering view of life in a Midwest village, the book was an instant hit, and the national praise so outdid the local anger that Masters was eventually able to give up legal practice and become a full time writer.
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SELECTED WORKS BY THIS AUTHOR
 
 
Across Spoon River: An Autobiography
autobiography
 
Spoon River Anthology
poetry
 
 
FIND BOOKS BY EDGAR LEE MASTERS AT Powell's Books
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SELECTED BOOKS ABOUT (or related to) THIS AUTHOR
 
 
Edgar Lee Masters: A Biography
by Herbert K. Russell
biography
 
FIND BOOKS BY EDGAR LEE MASTERS AT Powell's Books
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Academy of American Poets
Read a biography which explores Masters's development as a writer, as well as poetry, a bibliography, and links. Selected poems include "Alexander Throckmorton," "Anne Rutledge," "Fiddler Jones," "Fletcher McGee," "George Gray," "Lucinda Matlock," and "Minerva Jones."

"Masters had been submitting poems to Marion Reedy, the editor of Reedy's Mirror in St. Louis. While Reedy didn't publish these poems, he kept up the correspondence and gave Masters a copy of J. W. Mackail's Selected Epigrams from the Greek Anthology. After reading these, Masters felt the challenge to adopt the idea for his novel into this form, combining free verse, epitaph, realism, and cynicism to write Spoon River Anthology, a collection of monologues from the dead in an Illinois graveyard. ... Spoon River Anthology was wildly successful, going through several editions rapidly and becoming one of the most popular books of poetry in the history of American literature. His success and friendship with Monroe also brought him into the Chicago Group and contact with such poets as Carl Sandburg and Vachel Lindsay."
Modern American Poetry
Features a biography and commentary on the Spoon River Anthology:

"Of course what made Spoon River Anthology immediately popular was the shock of recognition. Here for the first time in America was the whole of a society which people recognized - not only that part of it reflected in writers of the genteel tradition. Like Chaucer's pilgrims, the 244 characters who speak their epitaphs represent almost every walk of life.... There are scoundrels, lechers, idealists, scientists, politicians, village doctors, atheists and believers, frustrated women and fulfilled women. The individual epitaphs take on added meaning because of often complex interrelationships among the characters. Spoon River is a community, a microcosm, not a collection of individuals."
-- Ernest Earnest, "Spoon River Revisited"
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June 23, 2017
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