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Edgar Lee Masters: A Biography Hardcover – March 13, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 462 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; F First Edition edition (March 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252026160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252026164
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,811,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A writer and lawyer, Masters (1868-1950) achieved readership, fame, and controversy with the publication of Spoon River Anthology (SRA) in 1915. Having grown up in rural Illinois, his setting for the Spoon River epitaphs, Masters wanted to write truths that were purely American. Freeing himself from poetic rules, which earned him much criticism, Masters created the 214 poems that make up the SRA. Masters published 54 works poetry, plays, essays, novels, biographies but none received the international success or critical attention that SRA did. Initially, Masters had a successful law practice (Clarence Darrow was an associate), but he chose to write for a living, without much financial reward or emotional satisfaction. His adult nature was not admirable; he was frequently an absent father, a womanizer (to put it charitably), and acrimonious in his dealings with other writers. Once he was publishing, he began a slow downward spiral. But his poetry speaks of another Masters; the truths found there are unassailable, aloft with dreams and aspirations. Russell achieves a splendidly multidimensional view of Masters, the complex man as well as the prolific writer, through the use of the author's manuscripts, diaries, business documents, and materials that relate to his two marriages and many extramarital affairs. Recommended. Robert Lee Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., IN
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Russell achieves a splendidly multidimensional view of Masters, the complex man as well as the prolific writer. -- Library Journal

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Smith on May 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best and most complete biography of one of America's great poets. Not only has Russell delivered a meticulously researched story in full, he writes in a very forthright and engaging style. This is the ESSENTIAL Edgar Lee Masters source. For those not familiar with Masters there can be no better introduction. Once I started reading it, I found the book hard to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joel Bjorling on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a concise biography, using resources as interviews and letters with family, of Edgar Lee Masters. As a citizen of midwestern Illinois, it is interesting to learn about the origins and motivations behind his book of poetry SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY. It was a book that stirred heated local contoversy and was banned for a number of years from the public library at Lewistown, Illinois. Another good book on SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY is an annotated version. In it, you get an idea of the actual names of the characters in the ANTHOLOGY.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Edgar Lee Masters is the author of "Spoon River Anthology", one of the most widely read and discussed volumes of American poetry ever written. Biographer Herbert Russell reveals that Masters was also a successful Chicago lawyer who detested the practice of law, married twice and constantly pursuing other women, and at the same time, one of America's most prolific authors, publishing 53 books during his lifetime. Yet only one of works afforded him lasting recognition. Russell draws from Master's diaries, correspondences, unpublished chapters of a 1936 autobiography, and information from his two wives, children, lovers, and contemporaries (including Theodore Dreiser, Carl Sandburg, Harriet Monroe, William Jennings Bryan, and Clarence Darrow) to reveal the poet's many relationships, impulsive business decisions, and artistic struggles. Edgar Lee Masters is a superbly researched and written biographical portrait of a man who changed the course of American poetry, yet was unable to achieve personal fulfillment and artistic success within his own life.
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