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Winesburg, Ohio [Anglais] [Broché]

Sherwood Anderson , Malcolm Cowley
4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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Descriptions du produit


The writer, an old man with a white mustache, had some difficulty in getting into bed. The windows of the house in which he lived were high and he wanted to look at the trees when he awoke in the morning. A carpenter came to fix the bed so that it would be on a level with the window.

Quite a fuss was made about the matter. The carpenter, who had been a soldier in the Civil War, came into the writer's room and sat down to talk of building a platform for the purpose of raising the bed. The writer had cigars lying about and the carpenter smoked.

For a time the two men talked of the raising of the bed and then they talked of other things. The soldier got on the subject of the war. The writer, in fact, led him to that subject. The carpenter had once been a prisoner in Andersonville prison and had lost a brother. The brother had died of starvation, and whenever the carpenter got upon that subject he cried. He, like the old writer, had a white mustache, and when he cried he puckered up his lips and the mustache bobbed up and down. The weeping old man with the cigar in his mouth was ludicrous. The plan the writer had for the raising of his bed was forgotten and later the carpenter did it in his own way and the writer, who was past sixty, had to help himself with a chair when he went to bed at night.

In his bed the writer rolled over on his side and lay quite still. For years he had been beset with notions concerning his heart. He was a hard smoker and his heart fluttered. The idea had got into his mind that he would some time die unexpectedly and always when he got into bed he thought of that. It did not alarm him. The effect in fact was quite a special thing and not easily explained. It made him more alive, there in bed, than at any other time. Perfectly still he lay and his body was old and not of much use any more, but something inside him was altogether young. He was like a pregnant woman, only that the thing inside him was not a baby but a youth. No, it wasn't a youth, it was a woman, young, and wearing a coat of mail like a knight. It is absurd, you see, to try to tell what was inside the old writer as he lay on his high bed and listened to the fluttering of his heart. The thing to get at is what the writer, or the young thing within the writer, was thinking about.

The old writer, like all of the people in the world, had got, during his long life, a great many notions in his head. He had once been quite handsome and a number of women had been in love with him. And then, of course, he had known people, many people, known them in a peculiarly intimate way that was different from the way in which you and I know people. At least that is what the writer thought and the thought pleased him. Why quarrel with an old man concerning his thoughts?

In the bed the writer had a dream that was not a dream. As he grew somewhat sleepy but was still conscious, figures began to appear before his eyes. He imagined the young indescribable thing within himself was driving a long procession of figures before his eyes.

You see the interest in all this lies in the figures that went before the eyes of the writer. They were all grotesques. All of the men and women the writer had ever known had become grotesques.

The grotesques were not all horrible. Some were amusing, some almost beautiful, and one, a woman all drawn out of shape, hurt the old man by her grotesqueness. When she passed he made a noise like a small dog whimpering. Had you come into the room you might have supposed the old man had unpleasant dreams or perhaps indigestion.

For an hour the procession of grotesques passed before the eyes of the old man, and then, although it was a painful thing to do, he crept out of bed and began to write. Some one of the grotesques had made a deep impression on his mind and he wanted to describe it.

At his desk the writer worked for an hour. In the end he wrote a book which he called 'The Book of the Grotesque.' It was never published, but I saw it once and it made an indelible impression on my mind. The book had one central thought that is very strange and has always remained with me. By remembering it I have been able to understand many people and things that I was never able to understand before. The thought was involved but a simple statement of it would be something like this:

That in the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as a truth. Man made the truths himself and each truth was a composite of a great many vague thoughts. All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful.

The old man had listed hundreds of the truths in his book. I will not try to tell you of all of them. There was the truth of virginity and the truth of passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and of profligacy, of carelessness and abandon. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful.

And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them.

It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The old man had quite an elaborate theory concerning the matter. It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.

You can see for yourself how the old man, who had spent all of his life writing and was filled with words, would write hundreds of pages concerning this matter. The subject would become so big in his mind that he himself would be in danger of becoming a grotesque. He didn't, I suppose, for the same reason that he never published the book. It was the young thing inside him that saved the old man.

Concerning the old carpenter who fixed the bed for the writer, I only mentioned him because he, like many of what are called very common people, became the nearest thing to what is understandable and lovable of all the grotesques in the writer's book. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Revue de presse

"Winesburg, Ohio, is no mere period piece but a book that helped redirect the course of American literature" (Washington Post)

"An often ironic but always clear-eyed and sharp look at the residents of his fictional town... If there were a required reading list for Americans, this one would be near the top" (Tampa Tribune)

"A landmark in American literature" (Calgary Herald (Canada)) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 256 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin Classics; Édition : Reissue (1 septembre 1992)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0140186557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140186550
  • Dimensions du produit: 19,6 x 12,8 x 1,2 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 4.015 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
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Rereading Sherwood Anderson after many years, one feels again that his work is desperately uneven, but one is gratified to find that the best of it is as new and springlike as ever. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Deserves its place as a classic 22 février 2003
Sherwood Anderson's story cycle about small-town life blurs the lines between novel and short story, while using a narrative style that sometimes blurs the lines between past and present. In fact, this book captures a time when the agrarian past was falling to the industrial present. The characters are often charming, but their lives are often tragic. This book has influenced countless writers and deserves its place as one of the classics of American literature. (I wrote New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio.)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Short stories about little town American in the 1920s 24 octobre 2009
Winesburg, Ohio is a small town in midwest America. An average town. In very short chapters that would be readable for people with English as a second language, he describes the people in town. This all is tied loosly together by George Willard, a young reporter, who talks to these people about their lives, hopes, dreams, etc.

This is very good literature, without being "great literature," I mean one of the classics that everyone knows. Taking place in the 20s, it is dated, and this of course might bother some people, but it is very well written, most of the phrases are short making it easily understandable. When we finish this book, we are strangly nostolgice about these old fashioned, innocent times, that seem to be missing in today's big city world.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Un classique de la littérature américaine 14 mai 2014
'Winesburg Ohio' se présente comme une série de nouvelles, se déroulant toutes dans la petite ville de Winesburg, et reliées les unes aux autres par des personnages plus ou moins récurrents et des événements qui se recoupent - pas assez cependant pour pouvoir parler de roman.

Chaque récit s'attache à un personnage en particulier et nous en raconte l'histoire ou un bout de vie. La voix narrative rappelle celle d'un vieux conteur qui se remémorerait sa ville autrefois et se laisserait aller à des digressions au fil de ses pensées. (Mais cette oralité du discours n'est qu'illusoire et n'est qu'un artifice de l'écrivain à l'oeuvre.)

Les personnages de Sherwood Anderson sont des hommes et des femmes ordinaires, mais sous l'apparente banalité de leur vie se cachent des drames, des rêves - souvent brisés, - des amours - malheureuses ou impossibles; si bien qu'ils en deviennent des figures tragiques. De même, sous la réalité terne de la vie à Winesburg se cache aussi la poésie, et le conteur devient par moments poète.

L'auteur trempe sa plume dans le sang de l'humanité et, au travers des habitants d'une petite ville, touche à la vérité ds êtres. Et c'est la solitude et l'incapacité à communiquer qui reviennent toujours.

On l'aura compris, j'ai beaucoup aimé le livre et le recommande sans hésiter!
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0 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Livre en anglais 18 novembre 2012
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Etant plus germaniste qu'angliciste, j'avais commandé ce livre en espérant qu'il serait en français, car j'avais pris connaissance de Sherwood Anderson et de son oeuvre dans un roman récent paru aux Etats-Unis. Comme j'ai reçu un bel exemplaire, mais en anglais, je l'ai offert à un ami angliciste qui va, j'en suis convaincu, s'en régaler.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  156 commentaires
89 internautes sur 95 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Unhappy people trapped in sad webs of their own making 22 juillet 2002
Par Linda Linguvic - Publié sur
Sherwood Anderson published this collection of short stories in 1919 all set in fictional town of Winesburg, Ohio. Even though it's written in the third person, it's told through the narrative voice of George Willard, the town reporter, who shows up in most of the stories, sometimes taking an active role and at other times just telling a story.
It is obvious that the writer loves these people, and is frustrated at the isolation and unhappiness of their lives, even though he makes it clear that they hold within themselves everything needed to make them happy. The character in the first story is a dying old writer who is attempting to write about all the people he has known as a "book of grotesques". What follows is the collection of stories, which each character fulfilling that expectation.
There are the young lovers who don't quite connect; there is a old man so obsessed with religious fervor that he attempts to sacrifice his grandson; there is a married man who regrets it all and tries to warn a younger man of future unhappiness; there's a doctor and a sick woman who try to connect. The book is full of people who toil all their lives and never achieve happiness. As I made my way through the book I kept hoping that even one of the characters would rise above the morass. It didn't happen.
The writer has a wonderful sense of place and the town of Winesburg in the early part of the 20th Century is very real. These people were not poor or disadvantaged in the usual sense of the word; they didn't suffer fire, floods or famine. Instead, they trapped themselves in their own psychological webs that made it impossible for them to lead anything but sad unfulfilled lives. This is a fine book and stands alone as a clear voice of its time.
30 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Surprisingly Modern 13 janvier 2011
Par SeaShell - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I'm ashamed to say that I avoided this book for decades - decades! - based soley on a cover. My mother had the book on her bookshelves, an older edition with a painting of a turn of the century couple courting on the front. It looked vaguely impressionist, and left me to conclude that the stories inside would probably be a bunch of sentimentalist claptrap. How wrong I was!

The book inside is more akin to a Hopper painting than a Degas. Anderson manages an amazing level of character development within the short stories. The stories themselves work independently, but also work together to tell the story of an American Midwestern town. And the feeling one is left with is that everything you have read is essentially and authentically American.

To comment on the Kindle version specifically, it seems well formatted to this reader. I've noticed a typo here and there, but nothing glaring, and nothing that distracts from the experience of reading the book.
44 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The secret heart of American experience is exposed here 13 juin 1999
Par Douglas A. Greenberg - Publié sur
In the context of today's tell-all society, the kinds of human revelations and insights that Sherwood Anderson wove into the Winesburg stories may seem tame and even pedestrian. But at the time, few good writers were even attempting to penetrate into the "real life" experience of ordinary Americans. His efforts so many years ago are all the more valuable today, however, since it provides us a glimpse of what life was *really* like for some people in much-romanticized "small town America."
This novel is really a collection of loosely interrelated short stories, or perhaps even a series of character sketches, but so what? The value here is in the individual images and insights that Anderson provides, not in any emergent "plot."
The glimpses into the inner lives of ordinary Americans and the fine descriptions of place, mood, and events that Anderson provides in this work still speak to some readers, at least, today. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Winesburgers 12 février 2001
Par A.J. - Publié sur
Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio" is a string of twenty-one connected stories (plus an introduction) that, like James Joyce's "Dubliners", links a community of people to a single place and time and explores common themes. Most of the stories are told from the vista of the recurring central character George Willard, the local newspaper reporter and a sort of alter ego of Anderson, who used his own rural hometown of Clyde, Ohio, as a model for Winesburg.
Rather than an idyllic portrayal of American small town life in the 1890's, these stories are about psychological isolation, loneliness, and sexual repression and frustration brought about by small town mores. These people are as sad and neurotic as any that might be found living in the big cities. Anderson calls them "grotesques," people who are warped by the sanctimoniousness of provincial piety and their own inhibitions. His nonchalant, ironic way of writing understates the peculiarity and the gloominess of the stories.
The stories are loaded with symbolism that is difficult to decipher. My favorite is probably the four-part "Godliness", which, in a satire of religious fervor, merges parodies of the biblical tales of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac and David's slaying of Goliath. But all the stories have interesting allusions of various degrees of subtlety. This work must have seemed quite groundbreaking in its depth, complexity, and boldness when it was first published in 1919.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Well, ain't that America.. 17 juillet 2007
Par JoeyD - Publié sur
There was one particular scene (Chapter entitled 'Drink') toward the end of the novel that for me truly exemplifies one of the main points of this American masterpiece. In this poignant scene, a poor old woman and her orphaned, young grandson Tom are riding along in a train headed toward Winesburg. They were leaving Cincinnati in hopes to build a new life. The old woman grew up in Winesburg and was so gung ho about going back to her old town that as the train pressed on, she began to tell Tom how 'he would enjoy his life working in the fields and shooting wild things in the woods there.' She was delighted and excited about living in a small, close-knit community again. However, when the train finally arrived in Winesburg her excitement and delight turned to confusion, disappointment, and fear. For now, the once tiny village had now grown (in the past fifty years) into a large, flourishing town. She was so shocked upon her arrival that she didn't even want to get off of the train. She then turned to her grandson and said, "It isn't what I thought. It may be hard for you here."

I remember when I read this passage above, for my heart began to ache. I knew exactly what she was thinking and I could feel her pain!

This novel is essentially made up of a group of short stories about the townsfolk of Winesburg, Ohio in the early 1900's. However, it could be any town anywhere in America and it could take place at anytime, including today. All of the citizens, although completely unique and different from one another, each share one thing in common - they are all lost and searching for something that will bring meaning into their lonely lives. However, no matter what the "Saturday Evening Post" might tell you, life in small-town America isn't all that grand - especially if you are a man like our main protagonist George Willard. A man, like many of the other characters he comes in contact with in the novel, who secretly yearns to escape the narrow-mindedness of the mediocrity which reigns supreme in small-town, USA. However, the real conundrum is this - while George and the others are looking for a way out of the madness, they are also all searching and hankering for a sense of community and belonging. They wish to connect, they can't connect, they then become lonely and disillusioned and stir crazy. Eventually, like so many other people in their same situation, they feel trapped. Dean Koontz may sum it up best when he perceptively points out in his 'Afterword' of the novel, "these characters are repressed by their culture but equally by their inability to deal with their ambivalence, an indecisiveness that reduces them to bundles of potential energy without hope of expression."

I can't recommend this one enough. It's too bad Anderson's classic will pretty much go down in history as a one-hit wonder (although he has written many excellent short stories). I really, really loved his style of writing and apparently he influenced such American literary legends as Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and John Steinbeck to name a few. To me, I think it is Steinbeck who most resembles Anderson's style. They both are really able to capture the true essence of the common man: "The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say. p. 161" I used to believe that Steinbeck was the greatest writer when it came to really understanding the true embodiment of the common, American man. It's the reason I love him so. He was able to dig the deepest into our hearts, minds, and souls and see the parts of us that even we fail to see 97% of the time. That being said, Anderson, in "Winesburg, Ohio", is able to dig even deeper believe it or not. I think one of the secrets to this is because both of these men were more than just writers. They both held a variety of different jobs and surrounded themselves with the 'common man' much more so than that of other great writers who spent their life hanging out with like-kind fellows and never had all that real world experience. In many ways, they were the common man! However, that's just one simple man's simple opinion.

When all said and done, this classic novel will have you thinking about it for a long time after you've finished reading it. I had one hec of a time trying to put it down. It's a quick read, but it's a read that will stay with me for a long, long time. I will never forget it and wouldn't hesitate recommending it to all of you bibliophiles out there. Easily, easily, easily a five-star pearl!
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