Story and It's Writer Compact: An Introduction to Short Fiction / Edition 7

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During her many years of teaching introduction to fiction courses, Ann Charters developed an acute sense of which stories work most effectively in the classroom. She also discovered that writers, not editors, have the most interesting and useful things to say about the making and the meaning of fiction. Accordingly, her choice of fiction in the first edition of her The Story and Its Writer was as notable for its student appeal as it was for its quality and range. And to complement these stories, she introduced a lasting innovation: an array of the writers' own commentaries on the craft and traditions of the short story. In subsequent editions her sense of what works was confirmed as the book evolved into the most comprehensive, diverse-- and bestselling -- introduction to fiction anthology. Instructors rely on Ann Charters' ability to assemble an authoritative and teachable anthology, and anticipate each edition's selection of new writers and stories.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312442712
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 5/24/2006
  • Edition description: Seventh Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 1152
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Charters

ANN CHARTERS (Ph.D., Columbia University) is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut and has taught courses in the short story for over thirty years. A preeminent authority on the Beat writers, Charters has written a critically acclaimed biography of Jack Kerouac; compiled Beats & Company, a collection of her own photographs of Beat writers; and edited the best-selling Portable Beat Reader. Her recent books include The Kerouac Reader, Selected Letters of Jack Kerouac, 1957-1969, Beat Down to Your Soul, and The Portable Sixties Reader. Her other textbooks with Bedford/St. Martin's include Literature and Its Writers, co-edited with Samuel Charters, and The American Short Story and Its Writer.


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:
    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



*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 James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson Russell Banks, Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
*Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins
*Raymond Carver, Cathedral
*Raymond Carver, Errand Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Willa Cather, Paul's Case John Cheever, The Swimmer Anton Chekhov, The Darling [Garnett translation]
Kate Chopin, Désirée's Baby Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness Stephen Crane, The Open Boat
*Junot Diaz, How to Date A Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie
*Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily William Faulkner, That Evening Sun Gabriel García Márquez, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
*Nadine Gordimer, Some Are Born to Sweet Delight Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants Zora Neale Hurston, Sweat Shirley Jackson, The Lottery
*Gish Jen, Whose Irish?
Sarah Orne Jewett, A White Heron
*Ha Jin, Saboteur James Joyce, Araby James Joyce, The Dead
*Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis Jamaica Kincaid, Girl
*Jhumpa Lahiri, When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine D. H. Lawrence, The Rocking-Horse Winner
*Katherine Mansfield, The Fly Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
*Nicholasa Mohr, Tell the Truth Bharati Mukherjee, The Management of Grief
*Alice Munro, Miles City, Montana 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
*ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Grace Paley, A Conversation with My Father Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart
*Katherine Anne Porter, He
*Alifa Rifaat, Distant View of a Minaret
*Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman Amy Tan, Two Kinds Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych John Updike, A & P Alice Walker, Everyday Use
*David Foster Wallace, Incarnations of Burned Children Eudora Welty, A Worn Path
*Tobias Wolff, Say Yes Richard Wright, The Man Who Was Almost a Man


Chinua Achebe, An Image of Africa: Conrad's Heart of Darkness
*Sherman Alexie, Superman and Me Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story Margaret Atwood, Reading Blind James Baldwin, Autobiographical Notes Russell Banks, Author's Note Willa Cather, The Stories of Katherine Mansfield
*Ann Charters, Translating Kafka Anton Chekov, Technique in Writing the Short Story John Cheever, Why I Write Short Stories Kate Chopin, How I Stumbled upon Maupassant
*Julio Cortazar, On the Short Story and Its Environs Stephen Crane, The Sinking of the Commodore Ralph Ellison, The Influence of Folklore on Battle Royal William Faulkner, The Meaning of "A Rose for Emily"
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, A Feminist Reading of Gilman's" The Yellow Wallpaper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Undergoing the Cure for Nervous Prostration Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Why I Wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me Shirley Jackson, The Morning of June 28, 1948, and "The Lottery"
Sarah Orne Jewett, Looking Back on Girlhood Jamaica Kincaid, On "Girl"
D. H. Lawrence, The Lust of Hate in Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"
Bobbie Ann Mason, On Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"
Guy de Maupassant, The Writer's Goal Herman Melville, Blackness in Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown Alice Munro, How I Write Short Stories
*Joyce Carol Oates, from "Stories that Define Me: The Making of a Writer"
Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk: Short Story into Film
*Frank O'Connor, The Nearest Thing to Lyric Poetry Is the Short Story Frank O'Connor, Style and Form in Joyce's The Dead Grace Paley, A Conversation with Ann Charters Edgar Allan Poe, The Importance of the Single Effect in a Prose Tale
*Leslie Marmon Silko, Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective
*Amy Tan, In the Canon, For All the Wrong Reasons Leo Tolstoy, Chekov's Intent in "The Darling"
*Cheryl B. Torsney, "Everyday Use": My Sojourn at Parchman Farm John Updike, Kafka and The Metamorphosis Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and a Partisan View Eudora Welty, Is Phoenix Jackson's Grandson Really Dead?
Richard Wright, Reading Fiction


CASEBOOK 1: RAYMOND CARVER Raymond Carver, On Writing Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 101
Raymond Carver, The Ashtray
*Raymond Carver, On Errand
*Olga Knipper, Remembering Chekhov
*Henry Troyat, Chekhov's Last Days
*Tom Jenks, The Origin 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 2: FLANNERY O'CONNOR Flannery O'Connor, From Letters 1954-1955
Flannery O'Connor, Writing Short Stories Flannery O'Connor, A Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable
*Robert H. Brinkmeyer, Jr., Flannery O'Connor and Her Readers
*Dorothy Tuck McFarland, On Good Country People
*Wayne C. Booth, A Rhetorical Reading of O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge
*Sally Fitzgerald, Southern Sources of "A Good Man Is Hard to Find"

*Scott McCloud, from Understanding Comics
*Will Eisner, from "Hamlet on a Rooftop"
*R. Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz, "A Hunger Artist"
*Art Spiegelman, from Maus
*Marjane Satrapi, from Persepolis
*Gilbert Hernandez, "The Mystery Wen"
*Jiro Taniguchi, "A Blanket of Cherry Blossoms"
*Lynda Barry, "Two Questions"


*1. READING SHORT STORIES [includes Grace Paley, "Samuel"]

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  • Posted August 20, 2009

    Will someone please correct the spelling of this book in the listings???

    Delete this once you have fixed the title please.

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