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Winesburg, Ohio by American author Sherwood Anderson is based around the life of protagonist George Willard, from the time he was a child to his growing independence and ultimate abandonment of Winesburg as a young man. It is set in the fictional town of Winesburg, Ohio, which is based loosely on the author's childhood memories.
Mostly written from late 1915 to early 1916, with a few stories completed closer to publication, they were "...conceived as complementary parts of a whole, centered in the background of a single community." (Phillips) The book consists of twenty-two stories, with the first story, "The Book of the Grotesque", serving as an introduction. Each of the stories shares a specific character's past and present struggle to overcome the loneliness and isolation that seems to permeate the town. Stylistically, because of its emphasis on the psychological insights of characters over plot, and plain-spoken prose, Winesburg, Ohio is known as one of the earliest works of Modernist literature.
Winesburg, Ohio was received well by critics despite some reservations about its moral tone and unconventional storytelling. Though its reputation waned in the 1930s, it has since rebounded and is now considered one of the most influential portraits of pre-industrial small-town life in the United States and is considered one of the best English-language novels of the 20th century.