Spoon River Anthology
Genesis: Sppon River Anthology was modelled on the Greek Epigrams, which Masters started reading in 1913.
Structure : The result was a collection of over two hundred poems, all in the form of epitaphs, which Masters jotted down wherever he found himself, at home or in his office. The epitaphs concerned 244 people buried in the graveyard of
a small imaginary village called Spoon River. The village was modelled on both Ptersburg (whose graveyard provided
memories for the description of the tombs) and Lewistown (which suggested the image of the hill).
According to the feature of the work is quite simple, Masters imagines the dead buried on the hill of Spoon River speak their own epitaphs from their graves. All the poems are therefore in the form of short first-person monologues.
According to the Themes - Master's original idea was to let each character confess his own true life and "tell the truth about himself", often in ironic contrast to the epitaph on his tombstone.Their "Confessions", however, presents some recurrent themes:
- the hypocrisy of social conventions;
recollections of the Civil War and an epic past far superior to the corrupt present; love with its heritage of expectation and disappointment;
- the role placed by time and memory . This theme in particular is common to all the characters : they share the same dimension of memory, for example they all describe a reality which is filtered through memory. In compliance with
this , the Anthology opens with a prologue , The Hill.