Anderson, Sherwood By Ritzenberg, Aaron
Sherwood Anderson was an American short-story writer, novelist, and memoirist. He was a businessman turned author whose writing often rendered the lives of ordinary people in the Midwest during the emergence of modern culture. His most enduring literary legacy is Winesburg, Ohio (1919), a work that explores the inner lives of an array of characters in a small, seemingly isolated town. His experimental prose style, along with his lyrical treatment of everyday lives, influenced a number of American modernists, including Ernest Hemingway, Hart Crane, Katherine Anne Porter, Henry Miller, William Faulkner, and Nathanael West.
Sherwood Anderson was born in 1876 in Camden, Ohio, the third of seven children. His experiences growing up in the small town of Clyde, Ohio — where he helped support the family by taking on a wide variety of jobs — served as the basis for much of his later writing. He served in the military, worked as an advertising man, and managed an Ohio paint factory. In 1912, he suffered what most historians think was a nervous breakdown in response to business and marital stresses. Anderson would later write about this time as a moment when he repudiated the life of materialism in order to fully invest himself in artistic pursuits.