Sunday, October 12, 2014

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 247: Sherwood Anderson, Mother (#247)

Sherwood Anderson, "Mother" (1917) from Sherwood Anderson: Collected Stories:

By and large, I have loved the Sherwood Anderson stories presented by the Library of America:

"Mother" falls somewhere in that range. It's Sherwood Anderson, through and through: a mother with thwarted ambitions, who seems to live just for her son (shades of "The Egg"); not a lot of plot but a lot of feeling; a father marked by failure; small town romance, broken into tiny shards.

But I don't have a lot to say about it right now. It's not my favorite, but it's so Anderson-y that I have to assume some of my reaction has to do with me right now. (Right now, I'm immersed in an accelerated web development bootcamp--that I am also writing about.)

It doesn't help (me) that the headnote includes a paragraph about how Anderson felt about his mother, which really makes this story seem more autobiographical than anything else.

(Though the headnote also goes into how some people hate hate hated Anderson's work for being so squalid, which is a fascinating little time capsule. But it's not like they missed the point: his work does tend to be squalid and sad. It's just that squalid and sad is kind of our thing these days.)

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