Posted by Eric » Add Comment »
elsewhere, i’ve recently mentioned edgard lee masters. while poking around online, i learned something that was totally new to me and quite apposite for the campus:
In 1909 Masters was introduced to Epigrams from the Greek Anthology, given him by Marion Reedy, editor of Reedy’s Mirror of St. Louis. This inspired Masters’ most famous work, Spoon River Anthology, realistic and sometimes cynical epitaphs spoken by about 250 persons buried in the graveyard of a village in the Middle West. “You will die, no doubt, but die while living / In depths of azure, rapt and mated, / Kissing the queen-bee, Life!” Original idea for the book came from his mother, with whom he discussed people they used to know in the villages. The work appeared first anonymously in Reedy’s Mirror in 1914 and 1915. It was then published anonymously in book form. A sequel, The New Spoon River, appeared in 1924, but it was less successful. Spoon River was Masters’s revenge on narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy. It gained a huge popularity, but shattered his position as a respectable member of establishment.
so: you can find the greek anthology even in that most quintessential piece of americana, written in the early 20th century in the american middle west!