MASTERS, EDGAR LEE (1868-), American writer, was born at Garnett, Kan., Aug. 23 1868. At the age of 21 he entered Knox College, Ill., but left after one year to read law in his father's office. He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and practised thereafter in Chicago. For several years he was associated with Clarence S. Darrow, known as counsel for labour leaders. He was a member of the National Institute of Art and Letters. The book that first brought him public notice was Spoon River Anthology, published in 1915, an extraordinary collection of epitaphs on members, in all walks of life, of a mid-western town. Within three years 50,000 copies were sold. Like much of the modern “realistic” literature it over-emphasizes pathological accidents and ignores the sane and permanent essence of life.
His other works include: The New Star Chamber, and Other Essays (1904); Blood of the Prophets (1905); Songs and Satires (1916); The Great Valley (1916); Toward the Gulf (1918); Starved Rock (1919); Domesday Book (1920) and Mitch Miller (1920); The Open Sea (1921); besides several plays, Maximilian (1902); Althea (1907); The Trifler (1908); The Locket (1910); and The Bread of Idleness (1911).