Poor White by Sherwood Anderson
With a new introduction by John Lingan
Hugh McVey moves from Missouri to the agrarian town of Bidwell, Ohio. He invents a mechanical cabbage planter to ease the burden of famers, but an investor in town exploits his product, which fails to succeed. His next invention, a corn cutter, makes him a millionaire and transforms Bidwell into a center of manufacturing. McVey, perennially lonely and ruminative, meets Clara Butterworth, who attends college at nearby Ohio State and is perennially harassed by her potential matches. Published one year after Winesburg, Ohio, in 1920, Poor White has a modernist style, a realist attention to every day life, and an eerily contemporary resonance.
John Lingan is the author of Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk.