Fiction by Sherwood Anderson
Completed one year after his classic Winesburg, Ohio and long regarded as his finest novel, Sherwood Anderson’s Poor White captures the spirit of small-town America during the Machine Age. Hugh McVey is a protagonist Robert Lovett once called “a symbol of the country itself in its industrial progress and spiritual impotence.” A lonely and passionate inventor of farm machinery, he struggles to gain love and intimacy in a community where “life had surrendered to the machine.” Through his story Anderson aims his criticism at the rise of technology and industry at the turn of the century. Simultaneously, he renders a tale of eloquent naturalism and disturbing beauty. Poor White was praised by such writers as H. L. Mencken and Hart Crane when it was first published. It remains a curiously contemporary novel, and a marvelous testament to Sherwood Anderson’s “sombre metaphysical preoccupation and his smouldering sensuousness” (The New Republic).