Title

"Vibrations in Spoon River": Reading Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology After a Century

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

This project argues for revitalization of critical engagement with Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology as Modern American text. I explore Masters’ impressive capacity as a satirist and as a proponent of the American psychologist William James’ theoretical models. My research expands an existing critical connection established between Masters and James and employs the critical vocabulary of Mikhail Bakhtin to illustrate the distinctly Modern qualities of the Anthology. I contend that Masters’ investment in generic revitalization, satiric subversion of prevalent American tropes surrounding practices of death and dying, and heavy investment in avant-garde psychology qualify his Spoon River Anthology for inclusion in the Modern American cannon and as text in need of ongoing critical research and discussion.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 9:20 AM

"Vibrations in Spoon River": Reading Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology After a Century

UC 332

This project argues for revitalization of critical engagement with Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology as Modern American text. I explore Masters’ impressive capacity as a satirist and as a proponent of the American psychologist William James’ theoretical models. My research expands an existing critical connection established between Masters and James and employs the critical vocabulary of Mikhail Bakhtin to illustrate the distinctly Modern qualities of the Anthology. I contend that Masters’ investment in generic revitalization, satiric subversion of prevalent American tropes surrounding practices of death and dying, and heavy investment in avant-garde psychology qualify his Spoon River Anthology for inclusion in the Modern American cannon and as text in need of ongoing critical research and discussion.