All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill is Edgar Lee Masters' paradigm for his unique portrayal of a small town, by imagining their voices from their graves. Some admit secrets they never divulged in life, others reveal resentments, accidents, fulfillment, all sorts of human emotion that is never adequately expressed in one's life. Masters had called it the Spoon River Anthology, which doesn't give a clue about what it's about. With more than two hundred "epitaphs," he evokes a place and a time, intermixed emotions, missed opportunities in an America of over a hundred years ago. This work is unique in its conception. Perversely, it's full of life out of all these various deaths.
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Edgar Lee Masters, born 1868, was a poet, a lawyer (briefly a partner of Clarence Darrow), a Midwesterner, who stumbled (with help) into the unique masterpiece known as the Spoon River Anthology, made of little pieces over time, and helped into its modern shape by Harriet Monroe, the influential editor of Poetry.
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