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Ann Charters has an acute sense of which stories work most effectively in the classroom and knows that writers, not editors, have the most interesting and useful things to say about the making and the meaning of fiction. Instructors look forward to every new edition of her bestselling anthology to see what stories her constant search for new fiction and neglected classics will turn up. To complement the stories, Charters includes her signature innovation: an array of the writers’ own commentaries on the craft and traditions of fiction. For in-depth, illustrated studies of particular writers or genres, her Casebooks provide unparalleled opportunities for discussion and writing. The new ninth edition features many very recent stories and commentaries by up-and-coming writers, a new Casebook on the important genre of Magical Realism, and expanded coverage of close reading.
*indicates new selection
Introduction: The Story and Its Writer
Part One: Stories
Chinua Achebe, Civil Peace
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
*Isabelle Allende, An Act of Vengeance
Sherwood Anderson, Hands
Margaret Atwood, Happy Endings
*Isaac Babel, My First Goose
James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues
Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson
Russell Banks, Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat
Linda Barry, San Francisco [graphic story]
*Donald Barthelme, At the Tolstoy Museum
*Ann Beattie , Janus
Alison Bechdel , From Fun Home: "Old Father, Old Artificer" [graphic story]
Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
*Roberto Bolano, Jim
*Jorge Luis Borges, The South
Tadeusz Borowski , This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
*T. Coraghessan Boyle, Birnam Wood
Ray Bradbury, August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains
Albert Camus, The Guest
*Alejo Carpentier, Journey to The Seed
*Angela Carter, The Kiss
Raymond Carver, Cathedral
Raymond Carver, A Small, Good Thing
Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Willa Cather, Paul’s Case
John Cheever, The Swimmer
Anton Chekhov, The Darling
Anton Chekhov, The Lady with the Little Dog
Kate Chopin, Désirée’s Baby
Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour
Sandra Cisneros, Barbie-Q
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
*Julio Cortázar, Axolotl
Stephen Crane, The Open Boat
Edwidge Danticat, Night Women
*Lydia Davis, Blind Date
Junot Díaz, How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie
*Edith Maud Eaton (Sui Sin Far), The Story of One White Woman Who Married a Chinese
*Edith Maud Eaton (Sui Sin Far), Her Chinese Husband
*Larry Eigner, Act
Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal
*Nathan Englander, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible
William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily
William Faulkner, That Evening Sun
*F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winter Dreams
*Janet Frame, Two Sheep
*Carlos Fuentes, Pain
*Mary Gaitskill, The Other Place
Gabriel García Márquez, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
*William Gass, A Fugue
*Dagoberto Gilb, Love in L.A.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
Nikolai Gogol, The Overcoat
*Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Minister’s Black Veil
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants
Zora Neale Hurston, The Gilded Six-Bits
Zora Neale Hurston, Sweat
Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle
Shirley Jackson, The Lottery
Henry James, The Real Thing
Sarah Orne Jewett, A White Heron
Ha Jin, Saboteur
*Denis Johnson, Work
James Joyce, Araby
James Joyce, The Dead
Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
Etgar Keret, Not Human Beings
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl
*Nora Krug, Kamikaze [graphic story]
Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies
D.H. Lawrence, Odour of Chrysanthemums
D.H. Lawrence, The Rocking Horse Winner
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
*Doris Lessing, To Room 19
*Clarice Lispector, The Smallest Woman in the World,
Jack London, To Build a Fire
Katherine Mansfield, Miss Brill
Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh
Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace
Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
*Steven Millhauser, Flying Carpets
*Lorrie Moore, Referential
*Alice Munro, Age of Faith
*Haruki Murakami, UFO in Kushiro
*Vladimir Nabokov, Signs and Symbols
*Santiago Nazarian, Fish Spine
Joyce Carol Oates, The Lady with the Pet Dog
Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
Flannery O’Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge
Flannery O’Connor, Good Country People
Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Frank O’Connor, Guests of the Nation
Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing
*Daniel Orozco, Orientation
*Julie Otsuka, The Children
Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl
ZZ Packer, Brownies
Grace Paley, A Conversation with My Father
Grace Paley, Mother
Octavio Paz, My Life with the Wave
Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart
*Katherine Anne Porter, Maria Concepción
W.S. Porter (O. Henry), The Gift of the Magi
Annie Proulx, Job History
*Jamie Quatro, 1.7 To Tennessee
Philip Roth, The Conversion of the Jews
Joe Sacco, From Palestine: Refugeeland [graphic story]
Marjane Satrapi, From Persepolis: The Veil [graphic story]
*George Saunders, Sticks
*Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, A Brief Encounter with The Enemy
Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman
Art Spiegelman, Prisoner on the Hell Planet: A Case History [graphic story]
John Steinbeck, The Chrysanthemums
Amy Tan, Two Kinds
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych
Jean Toomer, Blood-Burning Moon
John Updike, A&P
*Luis Alberto Urrea, Father Returns From the Mountain
*Helen Maria Viramontes, Miss Clairol
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Harrison Bergeron
Alice Walker, Everyday Use
*David Foster Wallace, Everything Is Green
Eudora Welty, A Worn Path
Edith Wharton, The Other Two
John Edgar Wideman, newborn thrown in trash and dies
William Carlos Williams, The Use of Force
*Tobias Wolff, Bullet in the Brain
Tobias Wollf, Say Yes
Virginia Woolf, Kew Gardens
Richard Wright, The Man Who Was Almost a Man
Part Two: Commentaries
Chinua Achebe, An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s "Heart of Darkness"
Sherman Alexie, Superman and Me
Paula Gunn Allen, Whirlwind Man Steals Yellow Woman
Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story
Margaret Atwood, Reading Blind
Matthew C. Brennan, Plotting against Chekhov: Joyce Carol Oates and "The Lady with the Dog"
Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, A New Critical Reading of "The Fall of the House of Usher"
Ann Charters, Translating Kafka
John Cheever, Why I Write Short Stories
Anton Chekhov, Technique in Writing the Short Story
Kate Chopin, How I Stumbled upon Maupassant
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Private History of the "Jumping Frog" Story
Stephen Crane, The Sinking of the Commodore
Ralph Ellison, The Influence of Folklore on "Battle Royal"
Richard Ellmann, A Biographical Perspective on Joyce’s "The Dead"
William Faulkner, The Meaning of "A Rose for Emily"
Richard Ford, Why We Like Chekhov
Carlos Fuentes, Mexico, the United States, and the Multicultural Future
Janice H. Harris, Levels of Meaning in Lawrence’s "The Rocking Horse Winner"
Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me
Zora Neale Hurston, What White Publishers Won’t Print
Shirley Jackson, The Morning of June 28, 1948 and "The Lottery"
Henry James, The Genesis of "The Real Thing"
Gustav Janouch, Kafka’s View of "The Metamorphosis"
Sarah Orne Jewett, Looking Back on Girlhood
Jamaica Kincaid, On "Girl"
Anne Lamott, Finding Your Voice
D.H. Lawrence, On "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Cask of Amontillado"
Ursula K. LeGuin, The Scapegoat in Omelas
Simon Lewis, Lahiri’s "Interpreter of Maladies"
Jack London, Letter to the Editor on "To Build a Fire"
Katherine Mansfield, Review of Woolf’s "Kew Gardens"
Guy de Maupassant, The Writer’s Goal
Herman Melville, Blackness in Hawthorne’s "Young Goodman Brown"
J. Hillis Miller, A Deconstructive Reading of Melville’s "Bartleby, the Scrivener"
Alice Munro, How I Write Short Stories
Vladimir Nabokov, Gogol’s Genius in "The Overcoat"
Vladimir Nabokov, A Reading of Chekhov’s "The Lady with the Little Dog"
J.C.C. Nachtigal, Peter Klaus the Goatherd
Tim O’Brien, Alpha Company
Frank O’Connor, The Nearest Thing to Lyric Poetry Is the Short Story
Frank O’Connor, Style and Form in Joyce’s "The Dead"
*Daniel Orozco, On Millhauser’s "Flying Carpets"
*Cynthia Ozick, Isaac Babel: "Let Me Finish"
Grace Paley, A Conversation with Ann Charters
Jay Parini, Lawrence’s and Steinbeck’s "Chrysanthemums"
Edgar Allan Poe, The Importance of the Single Effect in a Prose Tale
Edward W. Said, The Past and the Present: Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography
Leslie Marmon Silko, Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective
*Matt Steinglass, Reading Tim O’Brien In Hanoi
Amy Tan, In the Canon, for All the Wrong Reasons
Leo Tolstoy, Chekhov’s Intent in "The Darling"
Lionell Trilling, The Greatness of Conrad’s "Heart of Darkness"
*Luis Alberto Urrea, On "Father Returns From The Mountain"
Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and a Partisan View
Eudora Welty, Is Phoenix Jackson’s Grandson Really Dead?
Part Three: Casebooks
CASEBOOK ONE: James Baldwin’s "Sonny’s Blues"
James Baldwin, Autobiographical Notes
Keith E. Byerman, Words and Music: Narrative Ambiguity in "Sonny’s Blues"
Kenneth A. McClane, "Sonny’s Blues" Saved My Life
CASEBOOK TWO: Raymond Carver
Raymond Carver, On Writing
Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 101
Raymond Carver, The Bath
Tom Jenks, The Origins of "Cathedral"
Arthur M. Saltzman, A Reading of "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"
A.O. Scott, Looking for Raymond Carver
CASEBOOK THREE: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Why I Wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Undergoing the Cure for Nervous Prostration
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, A Feminist Reading of Gilman’s "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Elaine Showalter, On "The Yellow Wallpaper"
CASEBOOK FOUR: Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor, From Letters, 1954-55
Flannery O’Connor, Writing Short Stories
Flannery O’Connor, A Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable
Joyce Carol Oates, The Parables of Flannery O’Connor
Wayne C. Booth, A Rhetorical Reading of O’Connor’s "Everything That Rises Must Converge"
Dorothy Tuck McFarland, On "Good Country People"
CASEBOOK FIVE: Joyce Carol Oates’s "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
Joyce Carol Oates, Stories That Define Me: The Making of a Writer
Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk: Short Story into Film
Don Moser, The Pied Piper of Tucson: He Cruised in a Golden Car, Looking for Action
*CASEBOOK SIX: Magical Realism
Jorge Luis Borges, Borges and I
*Alejo Carpentier, On the Marvelous Real in America
*Alejo Carpentier, The Baroque and the Marvelous Real
*Luis Leal, Magical Realism in Spanish American Literature
* William Gass, The First Seven Pages of the Boom
*Ursula K. Le Guin, The Kind of Fiction Most Characteristic of Our Times
*Mario Vargas Llosa, The Prose Style of Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel García Márquez
CASEBOOK SEVEN: Graphic Storytelling
Alison Bechdel, What the Little Old Ladies Feel
Charles Hatfield, From Alternative Comics: Toward the Habit of Questioning
Michael Kupperman, Are Comics Serious Literature? [graphic story]
Sydney Plum, Reading "The Veil" by Marjane Satrapi
Joe Sacco, Some Reflections on Palestine
Edward W. Said, Homage to Joe Sacco
Part Four: Appendices
Index of Authors and Titles
Posted September 26, 2004
This textbook(if you want to call it that) rocked! It had lots of great short stories i would recomend this book to people that love short fiction or for people that want to learn more about short fiction. It not only compiles shorts stories but towards the end it compiles commentaries from critics during the time the short stories were written.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 9, 2001
This book incredibly influenced my addiction to literature. The particularly chosen stories are the ones I love to read and reread. Also, this book manages to include all of my personal favorite stories. Not one was excluded. If you're looking for some random story your professor told you to read, check here to find it first. If you're just bored with novels, this is also a great place to check first. I'd recommend this book to my 15 year old daughter, as well as to my husband. Even as an 'old' college student, I loved it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 1999
I attend the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and used THE STORY AND ITS WRITER for a short story class, in which I was enrolled. Ann Charters has compiled, what I feel, to be the very best short (and some not so short) selections that I have ever read. I found the biographical information about each author who has a story in the book not only to be helpful, but also enlightening. I recommend this book to those individuals who are trying to choose a textbook for a class, or for those who just want a 'nice big book' with 'lots of little stories' to read! On a scale of 1 to 10...I give THE STORY AND ITS WRITER a definite 12!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2009
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