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The New Star Chamber and Other Essays

The New Star Chamber and Other Essays

Annotated Edition

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Edgar Lee Masters; edited by Jason Stacy


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
234 pages, 6 x 9, 14 illustrations

Saluki Publishing


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About the Book

Tracing the troubled roots of American capitalism and imperialism
Coedited by noted Masters scholar, Jason Stacy, and his class, “Editing History,” this annotated edition of Edgar Lee Masters’s The New Star Chamber and Other Essays reappears at a perilous time in US history, when large corporations and overseas conflicts once again threaten the integrity of American rights and liberties, and the United States still finds itself beholden to corporate power and the legacy of imperial hubris. In speaking to his times, Masters also speaks to ours.
These thirteen essays lay bare the political ideology that informed Spoon River Anthology. Masters argues that the dangerous imperialism championed by then-President Theodore Roosevelt was rooted in the Constitution itself. By debating the ethics of the Philippine-American War, criticizing Hamiltonian centralization of government, and extolling the virtues of Jeffersonian individualism, Masters elucidates the ways in which America had strayed from its constitutional morals and from democracy itself. The result is a compelling critique of corporate capitalism and burgeoning American imperialism, as well as an exemplary source for understanding its complicated author in the midst of his transformation from urban lawyer to poet of rural America.
In print again for the first time since 1904, this edition includes an introduction and historical annotations throughout. Edited and annotated by students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and designed and illustrated by students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, this volume traces economic and political pathologies to the origins of the American republic. The New Star Chamber and Other Essays is as vital now as it was over 100 years ago.


Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950), best known for Spoon River Anthology, was born in Garnett, Kansas and grew up in Petersburg and Lewistown, Illinois. After practicing law in Chicago for over three decades, he left to pursue writing full time, publishing a total of twelve plays, twenty-one books of poetry, six novels and six biographies. 
Jason Stacy is the author of Spoon River America: Edgar Lee Masters and the Myth of the American Small Town.
Assistant editors: Brandon Adams, Scott Both, Joseph Davis, Shawn Emily, Jessica Guldner, Amy Kapp, Joseph King, Andrew Niederhauser, Abbigayle Schaefer, Elizabeth Schroader, Andrew Shepherd, Nicholas Swain, and Lucas Turnbull.


“This new edition is an essential resource for any study of the works of Edgar Lee Masters, as well as of the Progressive Era. It is especially valuable for the introduction, which provides a layered and illuminating context for such scholarship.”—Marcia Noe, author of Susan Glaspell: Voice from the Heartland 
“Masters was an idealistic Democratic Party activist and friend of presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan when this book was published in 1904. The annotations, new to this edition, identify people and terms important to understanding the essays.”—Herbert K. Russell, author of Edgar Lee Masters: A Biography