“Winesburg, Ohio: Queer and The Untold Lie” by Sherwood Anderson

We are getting to know these characters well, wouldn’t you say? There are a total of over 100 characters named in the book, some appearing only once and some recurring several times. Let’s crunch some numbers:  According to literary scholar Forrest L. Ingram, “George Willard recurs in all but six stories; 33 characters each appear in more than one story (some of them five and six times). Ninety-one characters appear only once in the cycle (ten of these are central protagonists in their stories).” Ok, enough math. Within the stories, characters figure in anecdotes that cover a relatively large time period; much of the action takes place during George’s teenage years, but there are also episodes that go back several generations (like “Godliness”), approximately twenty years  like “Hands”, and anywhere in between. The climactic scenes of two stories, “The Strength of God” and “The Teacher”, are actually juxtaposed over the course of one stormy January evening. As Malcolm Cowley writes in his introduction to the 1960 Viking edition, Anderson’s “…instinct was to present everything together, as in a dream.” Enjoy!

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