By Ronald Primeau
As the 1st full-length severe examine of Edgar Lee Masters, Beyond Spoon River is necessary not just for its reevaluation of this American poet and his paintings but additionally for its important insights into primary questions of aesthetics, regionalism, and the character and which means of literary influence.
The inordinate acclaim for Spoon River Anthology has for a few years unfairly constrained Masters' acceptance as a "one-book phenomenon," even though among 1911 and 1942 he wrote over fifty different books—most of which have been overlooked or misinterpreted accurately simply because they tried a large-scale rewriting of what he felt were obscured or distorted within the Anglo-American culture. Masters' broad interpreting within the complete of western literature formed his personal attitudes, subject matters, and elegance, and his specified money owed of that studying and its impression on his paintings shape the foundation for this reinterpretation of his position in American poetry during this century.
After reviewing Masters' personal statements on literary effect and his position as a critic, Primeau devotes the most physique of his examine to the most important affects on Masters' work—the Greeks, Goethe, Emerson, Whitman, Shelley, and Browning. For Masters, the composite of these types of affects supplied a corrective to the poetry and feedback of his time, which he little well-liked. Primeau concludes by means of exploring Masters' midwestern historical past within the gentle of contemporary reinterpretations of regionalism.
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