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© 2019 by Will Schuck and The Sherwood Anderson Literary Center

Where is Winesburg, Ohio?

Sherwood lived in many places around the United States, but he spent nearly half of his life in Ohio.

 

Though his boyhood home of Clyde, Ohio, served as the primary model of his fictional town of Winesburg, elements of his other Ohio "homes" helped complete the portrait.

 

Sherwood also lived in the Ohio cities of Camden, Cleveland, Elyria, and Springfield. The actual town of Winesburg, Ohio, however, has nothing to do with the book of the same name. In fact, Anderson said he did not know that Winesburg existed, even after checking a list of railroad towns.

FAQs about Sherwood Anderson and Winesburg, Ohio

Why are Hemingway and Faulkner better known than Anderson?

Sherwood Anderson got a late start as a writer, having his first novel published at the age of 40 (in 1916). While most writers are in their prime at that age, Anderson was just getting started. Hemingway and Faulker, by comparison, were much younger and had more time to establish themselves as writers before reaching the height of their careers.
 

In his introduction to the 1960 Penguin edition of Winesburg, Ohio, literary critic Malcolm Cowley wrote:  "The only storyteller of his generation who left his mark on the style and vision of the generation that followed... Hemingway, Faulkner, Wolfe, Steinbeck, Caldwell, Saroyan, Henry Miller... each of these owes an unmistakable debt to Anderson."

How did Anderson die from eating a toothpick?

From interviews with his family, it was discovered that Sherwood had a habit of chewing on toothpicks whenever he had the chance., usually at parties. He was on a cruise ship headed for South America when he suddenly became ill after chewing on -- and swallowing -- a toothpick in an hors-d'oeuvre. The sharp edges of the toothpick scraped the lining of Anderson's small intestine and an infection called peritinits set in. The ship stopped in the Panama Canal Zone to seek medical help for Anderson. While a Spanish-speaking doctor was available immediately, Anderson and his wife decided to wait for an English-speaking doctor. By the time the English-speaking doctor arrived on the scene, it was too late. He was 65 years old.

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