The Library of Virginia
Alice and the Lost Novel
Alice and the Lost Novel
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Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941). Alice and The Lost Novel. London: Elkin Mathews and Marrot, 1929.

A 1925 Vanity Fair article praised Sherwood Anderson as the country's most distinctive novelist and quoted H. L. Mencken as describing Anderson's most recent book, Dark Laughter, as "profound." A novelist, short story writer, essayist, and author of the celebrated Winesburg, Ohio (1919), Anderson occupied a prominent place among his contemporaries. He was particularly sympathetic to the rising generation of young American writers and helped launch the careers of such celebrated novelists as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway.

Despite the acclaim, by the mid-1920s Anderson's artistic powers had begun to fail and his reputation as a writer to decline. He began to withdraw from his old life. In 1926, Anderson spent the summer in southwestern Virginia. The following year he built a house near Marion, Virginia, dissolved his contract with his publisher, and purchased two weekly newspapers, the Smyth County News and the Marion Democrat. As editor of the two most influential newspapers in the area, he became absorbed in the culture of Virginia's mountain communities and wrote extensively on the social and economic conditions of the region.

In 1929 Anderson published two works, Hello Towns!, a compilation of his columns and editorials, and Alice and The Lost Novel, a short volume containing two autobiographical meditations. Alice and The Lost Novel appeared in a limited edition of 530 copies. On 15 November 1983 the Library of Virginia purchased one of these autographed copies for its Virginia authors collection.