Edgar Lee Masters
Spoon River Anthology

Facts about Edgar Lee Masters

Born Garnett, Kansas on Aug 23, 1868 while his parents were homesteading
Son of Hardin W. Masters and Emma Dexter
Early childhood near Petersburg, Illinois
Moved to Lewistown, Fulton Co., Illinois at age 12
Poet and author
Spent adult life primarily in Chicago, Illinois
Died in 1950, buried in Oakland Cemetery, Petersburg, Menard Co., Illinois

The Spoon River Anthology

The original work was published as a serialized version in 1914-15.

In the Anthology, the dead in an Illinois graveyard relay, in matter-of-fact but haunting tones, details from their lives. The Anthology was original, provocative and influentual. Its literary significance has been compared with Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass [published in 1855].

Masters wove a thread of partial reality throughout the Anthology. Many of the characters and their experiences can be identified with former residents of Lewistown and Petersburg, Illinois. Masters' used his childhood experiences in these two communities, as a basis for the poems.

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