Spoon River Anthology Excerpts

The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters is a collection of autobiographical epitaphs. Through Masters’ poetry you become intimately acquainted with the residents of Spoon River and see how their lives intertwined. These poems form a fascinating story, and I recommend reading the entire book. Enjoy these excerpts referenced in American Literature (EIL3):

Edgar Lee Masters, as photographed in 1915.

Edgar Lee Masters, from “The Spoon River Anthology—The Storm-Center of the Latest Literary Controversy.” Current Opinion 58 (1915): 356. Print.
This image is from the Clarence Darrow Digital Collection at Univ. of MN Law Library.

“Lucinda Matlock”

“The Circuit Judge”

“Mrs. Kessler”

“Seth Compton”

Also, you may find it helpful to read this biography and analysis of Masters, written by popular Yale literature professor William Lyon Phelps. For a humorous angle, don’t miss P. G. Wodehouse’s essay on poetry, as he compares the styles of Masters and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Spoon River Anthology: 100th Anniversary Edition by Edgar Lee Masters

If you would like to read the entire poem, the 100th anniversary edition from Signet Classics is a good, unabridged version.


Edgar Lee Masters Biography


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