American Short Story and Its Writer: An Anthology / Edition 1

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Overview

This groundbreaking anthology is the first to offer a truly inclusive survey of the American short story along with a unique array of major critical statements and commentaries by the writers themselves.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312191764
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 8/13/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1495
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Charters

ANN CHARTERS (Ph.D., Columbia University), professor of English at the University of Connecticut, has taught courses in the short story for many years. She has written extensively on contemporary American poetry and feminism, and she is an authority on the Beat writers, having written a critically acclaimed biography of Jack Kerouac, prepared the Portable Beat Reader, and compiled and edited Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1940-1956 (Volume II is forthcoming). She is the editor of The Story and Its Writer, Fifth Edition (1999), the most widely adopted anthology of short fiction on the market, Literature and Its Writers, and Major Writers of Short Fiction.

Biography

It's nearly impossible to come across a significant study of Jack Kerouac without encountering the name Ann Charters. A foremost Beat scholar, she wrote the first biography of the On the Road author and has studied his milieu for over 20 years. Charters also has a personal connection to back up her scholarly interest in the Beats: When she was a junior at University of California, Berkeley, her roommate set her up on a date with Peter Orlovsky. Charters was actually in love with her professor, Sam Charters, whom she later married; as for Orlovsky, he was Allen Ginsberg's boyfriend. Charters said in a magazine interview, "My roommate...said to me, 'I'll fix you up with a wonderful boy who's your own age.' This was Peter Orlovsky, before he was living with Allen, and who considered 'Howl' to be the greatest poem since Whitman's Leaves of Grass."

Though the romance didn't pan out, Charters' love of the Beats endured, and she became the genre's anthologist of note. After completing biographies of Kerouac and the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, Charters assembled the now-classic The Story and Its Writer, a collection of exemplary short stories and commentary by and about authors such as Raymond Carver and Anton Chekhov. In addition to her taste and eye for good literature, one of Charters' strengths is her ability to incorporate the author's voice. She got Kerouac's cooperation on her biography of him and included the authors' own analyses of their work in The Story and Its Writer.

This acumen probably reached its apotheosis when Charters edited a collection of Kerouac's letters. By that time, a second Kerouac biography, Memory Babe by Gerald Nicosia, had been released, and as Charters told the Alsop Review, "my book was, I thought, in comparison, woefully inadequate." She continued, "That's why I took on the editing, because I saw with the letters that it could be a way of giving a biography through my selection, which emphasizes Jack's life as a writer.... If I were to write a biography -- and I will not rewrite my first biography -- well, I've done that with this two-volume set."

Though she has focused on Kerouac in her work, Charters has also done a lot to improve the understanding of Beat literature in general, not only by editing well-known anthologies such as The Portable Beat Reader but also by writing introductions and essays in editions of major works. For a British anthology called The Penguin Book of the Beats (which follows the structure of The Portable Beat Reader), she explained her approach in a publisher's interview: "I decided I wouldn't just alphabetically arrange my favorite Beat writers or put them in big sections, like Poetry, Fiction, Essays. I would organize it historically, so that someone who didn't know much about Beat writing could come in and use the book as an introduction to the whole field and have some guidelines."

Charters is appealing as an editor and anthologist because she embraces, rather than trying to distance herself from, her personal connection to the era she covers. With The Portable Sixties Reader, her most expansive collection yet, she continues to illuminate a crucial literary era.

Good To Know

Charters has taught at Brown University, Columbia University, and the University of Connecticut, where she has been a professor of English since 1974.

Charters on Kerouac's detractors: "Most people are, at heart, good people, but fairly conservative. They really like to think that there's a tried-and-true way of writing, and you sit and write 13 revisions. And when they hear that he's bragging that he's written it in one draft they kind of get their hackles up." (online zine interview)

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    1. Hometown:
      Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 10, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bridgeport, Connecticut
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1957; M.A., Columbia University, 1959; Ph.D., 1965

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction
Some Precursors of the American Short Story
John Smith, The Smith-Pocahontas Legend
Chekilli, The Origin of the Creek Confederacy
Shasta, The Theft of Fire
John Arthur Gibson, From Concerning the League
John Heckewelder, The Arrival of the Dutch
Caesar Grant, All God's Chillen Had Wings
Davy Crockett Almanacs, Sunrise in My Pocket
J. C. C. Nachtigal, Peter Klaus the Goatherd

STORIES

1. Early Nineteenth Century: 1819-1860
RELATED COMMENTARY: Mary Russell Mitford, Stories of American Life; Edgar Allan Poe, Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales
Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle
RELATED STORY: J. C. C. Nachtigal, Peter Klaus the Goatherd
RELATED COMMENTARY: Washington Irving, Letter to Henry Brevoort, December 11, 1824
William Austin, Peter Rugg, the Missing Man
James Hall, The Indian Hater
Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Cacoethes Scribendi
Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, The Dance
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Minister's Black Veil
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Preface to Twice-Told Tales; Henry James, From Hawthorne; Herman Melville, From "Hawthorne and His Mosses"; Edgar Allan Poe, Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales
Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher
RELATED COMMENTARIES: James Russell Lowell, Edgar Allan Poe and "The Fall of the House of Usher"; Charles E. May, Edgar Allan Poe--Critical Context; Edgar Allan Poe, Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales
Thomas Bangs Thorpe, The Big Bear of Arkansas
Lydia Maria Child, Slavery's Pleasant Homes
Caroline Kirkland, The Land-Fever
William Gilmore Simms, The Arm-Chair of Tustenuggee
Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Two Altars; or, Two Pictures in One
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, The Angel over the Right Shoulder
Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Herman Melville, From "Hawthorne and His Mosses"; J. Hillis Miller, A Deconstructive Reading of Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"
Frances E. W. Harper, The Two Offers
Harriet Prescott Spofford, Circumstance

2. Late Nineteenth Century: 1861-1899
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Hamlin Garland, Local Color in Art; Bret Harte, The Rise of the "Short Story"; Brander Matthews, From The Philosophy of the Short-Story
Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron-Mills, or The Korl Woman
Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
RELATED COMMENTARY: Mark Twain, How to Tell a Story
Bret Harte, The Luck of Roaring Camp
RELATED COMMENTARY: Bret Harte, The Rise of the "Short Story"
George Washington Cable, Belles Demoiselles Plantation
Constance Fenimore Woolson, Rodman the Keeper
Ambrose Bierce, One of the Missing
Hamlin Garland, The Return of a Private
RELATED COMMENTARY: Hamlin Garland, Local Color in Art
Mary Wilkins Freeman, The Revolt of "Mother"
Rose Terry Cooke, How Celia Changed Her Mind
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, A Feminist Reading of Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Undergoing the Cure for Nervous Prostration
Sarah Orne Jewett, The Queen's Twin
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Willa Cather, Miss Jewett; Sarah Orne Jewett, Looking Back on Girlhood
Madelene Yale Wynne, The Little Room
Kate Chopin, Athénaïse
RELATED COMMENTARY: Kate Chopin, On Certain Brisk, Bright Days
Charles W. Chesnutt, The Wife of His Youth
RELATED COMMENTARY: William Dean Howells, Mr. Charles W. Chesnutt's Stories
Stephen Crane, The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky
Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Tony's Wife

3. Early Twentieth Century: 1900-1940
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story; H. E. Bates, Hemingway's Short Stories; Zora Neale Hurston, What White Publishers Won't Print; Ruth Suckow, The Short Story; John Updike, Twisted Apples: On Winesburg, Ohio; Edith Wharton, Every Subject Must Contain within Itself Its Own Dimensions
Zitkala-Sä (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin), The Trial Path
O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), The Duplicity of Hargraves
Willa Cather, A Wagner Matinée
RELATED COMMENTARY: Willa Cather, Miss Jewett
Edith Wharton, The Other Two
RELATED COMMENTARY: Edith Wharton, Every Subject Must Contain within Itself Its Own Dimensions
Jack London, All Gold Canyon
Mary Austin, The Walking Woman
RELATED COMMENTARY: Mary Austin, Regionalism in American Fiction
Henry James, The Jolly Corner
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Henry James, From Hawthorne; Floyd Stovall, Henry James's "The Jolly Corner"
Sui Sin Far (Edith Maud Eaton), "Its Wavering Image"
Sherwood Anderson, Hands
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story; John Updike, Twisted Apples: On Winesburg, Ohio
Theodore Dreiser, The Lost Phoebe
Susan Glaspell, A Jury of Her Peers
Anzia Yezierska, My Own People
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winter Dreams
RELATED COMMENTARY: Charles Scribner III, On F. Scott Fitzgerald's Stories
Ring Lardner, The Golden Honeymoon
RELATED COMMENTARY: Ring Lardner, How to Write Short Stories
Gertrude Stein, Miss Furr and Miss Skeene
Jean Toomer, Blood-Burning Moon
RELATED COMMENTARY: Arna Bontemps, On Jean Toomer and Cane
Ernest Hemingway, Soldier's Home
RELATED COMMENTARY: H. E. Bates, Hemingway's Short Stories
Katherine Anne Porter, He
Dorothy Parker, You Were Perfectly Fine
RELATED COMMENTARY: Dorothy Parker, The Short Story, through a Couple of the Ages
William Faulkner, Spotted Horses
RELATED COMMENTARY: Eudora Welty, The Sense of Place in Faulkner's "Spotted Horses"
Arna Bontemps, A Summer Tragedy
RELATED COMMENTARY: Arna Bontemps, On Jean Toomer and Cane
Langston Hughes, Red-Headed Baby
William Saroyan, Seventy Thousand Assyrians
RELATED COMMENTARY: William Saroyan, Writing Stories
William Carlos Williams, The Use of Force
RELATED COMMENTARY: William Carlos Williams, Notes on "A Beginning on the Short Story"
John Steinbeck, The Snake
Delmore Schwartz, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
Jack Conroy, He Is Thousands
Richard Wright, The Man Who Was Almost a Man

4. Mid-Twentieth Century: 1941-1965
RELATED COMMENTARIES: Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 101; Flannery O'Connor, Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction; Frank O'Connor, From The Lonely Voice
Pearl S. Buck, His Own Country
Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Portable Phonograph
Mary McCarthy, The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt
Carson McCullers, A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud
James Thurber, The Catbird Seat
RELATED COMMENTARY: Earl Rovit, On James Thurber and The New Yorker
Ralph Ellison, Flying Home
Gwendolyn Brooks, We're the only colored people here
Kay Boyle, Winter Night
John Cheever, The Enormous Radio
Caroline Gordon, The Petrified Woman
Shirley Jackson, The Lottery
RELATED COMMENTARY: Shirley Jackson, The Morning of June 28, 1948, and "The Lottery"
Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing
RELATED COMMENTARY: Robert Coles, Tillie Olsen: The Iron and the Riddle
James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
RELATED COMMENTARY: James Baldwin, Autobiographical Notes
Philip Roth, The Conversion of the Jews
Peter Taylor, Promise of Rain
Flannery O'Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge
RELATED COMMENTARY: Flannery O'Connor, Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction
John O'Hara, The Sharks
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Harrison Bergeron
Eudora Welty, Where Is the Voice Coming From?
RELATED COMMENTARY: Eudora Welty, The Sense of Place in Faulkner's "Spotted Horses"

5. Late Twentieth Century: 1966-present
RELATED COMMENTARIES: John Barth, It's a Short Story; Richard Ford, Crazy for Stories; Susan Lohafer, From Short Story Theory at a Crossroads; Ruth Suckow, The Short Story
William Gass, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
RELATED COMMENTARY: William Gass, From Preface to In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
John Barth, Title
RELATED COMMENTARY: John Barth, It's a Short Story
Donald Barthelme, The Police Band
Joyce Carol Oates, How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again
Richard Brautigan, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3
Grace Paley, A Conversation with My Father
RELATED COMMENTARY: Grace Paley, A Conversation with Ann Charters
Raymond Carver, Are These Actual Miles?
RELATED COMMENTARY: Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 101
Alice Walker, Everyday Use
RELATED COMMENTARY: Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and a Partisan View
Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman
RELATED COMMENTARY: Paula Gunn Allen, Whirlwind Man Steals Yellow Woman
John Updike, Separating
RELATED COMMENTARY: John Updike, Twisted Apples: On Winesburg, Ohio
Bobbie Ann Mason, Big Bertha Stories
RELATED COMMENTARY: Bobbie Ann Mason, On Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"
Amy Hempel, In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried
Bharati Mukherjee, The Tenant
Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
RELATED COMMENTARY: Bobbie Ann Mason, On Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried
Helena María Viramontes, Miss Clairol
Ann Beattie, Second Question
RELATED COMMENTARY: Ann Beattie, Where Characters Come From
Ursula K. Le Guin, Texts
John Edgar Wideman, newborn thrown in trash and dies
Sherman Alexie, The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Red Anymore
Mary Gaitskill, Tiny, Smiling Daddy
Lorrie Moore, Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens
Gina Berriault, Who Is It Can Tell Me Who I Am?
Edwidge Danticat, New York Day Woman
Charles Baxter, Saul and Patsy Are in Labor
Lan Samantha Chang, Water Names
Annie Proulx, The Bunchgrass Edge of the World

COMMENTARIES

Paula Gunn Allen, Whirlwind Man Steals Yellow Woman
Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story
Mary Austin, Regionalism in American Fiction
James Baldwin, Autobiographical Notes
John Barth, It's a Short Story
H. E. Bates, Hemingway's Short Stories
Ann Beattie, Where Characters Come From
Arna Bontemps, On Jean Toomer and Cane
Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 101
Willa Cather, Miss Jewett
Kate Chopin, On Certain Brisk, Bright Days
Robert Coles, Tillie Olsen: The Iron and the Riddle
Richard Ford, Crazy for Stories
Hamlin Garland, Local Color in Art
William Gass, From Preface to In the Heart of the Heart of the Country
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, A Feminist Reading of Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Undergoing the Cure for Nervous Prostration
Bret Harte, The Rise of the "Short Story"
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Preface to Twice-Told Tales
William Dean Howells, Mr. Charles W. Chesnutt's Stories
Zora Neale Hurston, What White Publishers Won't Print
Washington Irving, Letter to Henry Brevoort, December 11, 1824
Shirley Jackson, The Morning of June 28, 1948, and "The Lottery"
Henry James, From Hawthorne
Sarah Orne Jewett, Looking Back on Girlhood
Ring Lardner, How to Write Short Stories
Susan Lohafer, From Short Story Theory at a Crossroads
James Russell Lowell, Edgar Allan Poe and "The Fall of the House of Usher"
Bobbie Ann Mason, On Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"
Brander Matthews, From The Philosophy of the Short-Story
Charles E. May, Edgar Allan Poe--Critical Context
Herman Melville, From Hawthorne and His Mosses
J. Hillis Miller, A Deconstructive Reading of Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"
Mary Russell Mitford, Stories of American Life
Flannery O'Connor, Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction
Frank O'Connor, From The Lonely Voice
Grace Paley, A Conversation with Ann Charters
Dorothy Parker, The Short Story, through a Couple of the Ages
Edgar Allan Poe, Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales
Earl Rovit, On James Thurber and The New Yorker
William Saroyan, Writing Stories
Charles Scribner III, On F. Scott Fitzgerald's Stories
Floyd Stovall, Henry James's "The Jolly Corner"
Ruth Suckow, The Short Story
Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), How to Tell a Story
John Updike, Twisted Apples: On Winesburg, Ohio
Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and a Partisan View
Eudora Welty, The Sense of Place in Faulkner's "Spotted Horses"
Edith Wharton, Every Subject Must Contain within Itself Its Own Dimensions
William Carlos Williams, Notes on "A Beginning on the Short Story"

Selected Annotated Bibliography: The American Short Story and Its Cultural Background
Appendix: Chronological List of Stories with Their Original Date and Place of Publication

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