In The Man Against The Sky, Edwin Arlington Robinson presents us with a gallery of characters drawn from the streets, homes and gathering places of Tilbury Town, his fictional Northeastern dwelling place. A mysterious compelling stranger, a woman living on charity, a welcoming home - this and other portraits give us a compelling and perceptive view of the range of human character and feeling.
As if to widen the horizons of Tilbury Town, he also imagines people from distant times and places. We hear Ben Jonson speculating about Shakespeare; we see Galahad at the moment of taking his seat at the Round Table, and Cassandra in her old age. At the end of the book, he sums them all up in the brilliant and troubling poem that gives the title to the book, a portrait of a man seen against a fiery sky, a lonely man, unknown, yet representative of all humanity and of the human struggle to achieve - or, at the very least, continue the struggle.