Edgar Lee Masters

From Illinois Authors
Jump to: navigation, search

General Information

Masters Edgar Lee.jpg
Name: Edgar Lee Masters

Pen Name: Webster Ford

Genre: Poetry

Born: August 23, 1868 in Garnette, Kansas

Died: March 5, 1950

Celebrated on the Illinois State Library, Gwendolyn Brooks Building

"Degenerate sons and daughters, Life is too strong for you- It takes life to love life." - Edgar Lee Masters, Lucinda Matlock

Illinois Connection

Masters was raised in Petersburg and Lewistown in Menard County. He also lived in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Edgar Lee Masters was a poet, novelist and biographer. He was one of the most important poets of the Chicago Renaissance. His Spoon River Anthology (1915) beccame the single most widely read book of American poetry. He was raised in Petersburg and Lewistown, Illinois, and studied law and literature.

Masters, along with Vachel Lindsay and Carl Sandburg, was one of the three important poets of the Chicago Renaissance. A Chicago lawyer, he wrote Spoon River Anthology (1915), a series of monologues in which residents of the small town of Spoon River speak from beyond the grave of the narrowness, constriction and disappointments of their lives. The book was immensely popular, becoming the single most widely read book of American poetry. It also had an important impact on the development of modern poetry, with its ironic, anti-romantic tone, freedom of form and plain, colloquial diction. Later works include a biography of Vachel Lindsay (1935), Across Spoon River (1936) and The Sangamon (1942).

Published Works

  • Spoon River Anthology, 1915
  • Domesday Book, 1920
  • The New Spoon River, 1924
  • The Fate of Jury, 1929
  • Vachel Lindsay, 1935
  • Invisible Landscapes, 1935
  • The Golden Fleece of California, 1936
  • Poems of People, 1936
  • Across Spoon River, 1937
  • The Tide of Time, 1937
  • Whitman, 1937
  • Mark Twain: A Portrait, 1938
  • More People, 1939
  • Along Illinois, 1942
  • The Sangamon, 1942

Titles at Your Library

Spoon River Anthology

ISBN: 1605895938
Release Date: 2008-10-21

Find on World Cat

Domesday Book

ISBN: 1408602768
Release Date: 2007-10-26

Find on World Cat

The Fate of the Jury an Epilogue to Domesday Book

ISBN: 1417900407
Release Date: 2005-05

Find on World Cat

Literary Awards

  • Mark Twain Silver Medal, 1936
  • Poetry Society of America medal, 1941
  • Academy of American Poets Fellowship, 1942
  • Shelley Memorial Award, 1944
  • Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 1974
  • Name engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures, 1990
  • Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2014

External Links

Edgar Lee Masters on WorldCat

Edgar Lee Masters on Modern American Poetry Website


This page can only be edited by Illinois Center for the Book staff, this author or this author's representatives. Please contact us for access.