Sunk deeply into the blues

Sherwood Anderson by Carl Van Vechten
Library of Congress

Sherwood Anderson was an important and influential writer, highly regarded for his seminal work Winesburg, Ohio, a collection of interrelated short stories that painted an intimate portrait of small-town America and had a lasting impact on American literature. By 1938, three years before his death, Anderson was at a crossroads both creatively and personally and found himself grappling with the existential weight of ageing and the anxiety of artistic inertia. He wrote the following diary entry on 22nd September of that year, a week after the death of friend and fellow novelist Thomas Wolfe, and as he grappled with A Last Spring, a novel he would ultimately fail to complete.

The Diary Entry

Thurs., Sept. 22, Ripshin

Sunk deeply into the blues—the black dog constantly on my back, hating the summer’s end, feeling my own inefficiency. It seems to me that I have done nothing.

Still cold but the skies clear. Why do I always feel I must be accomplishing?

Further Reading

Sherwood Anderson’s original diaries live in the archives of The Newberry Library in Chicago. In 1987, The Sherwood Anderson Diaries, 1936–1941, edited by Hilbert H. Campbell, was published by The University of Georgia Press. Entries are brief, with few stretching beyond a handful of sentences.


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