The Best American Short Stories of the Century

Front Cover
John Updike, Katrina Kenison
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000 - Fiction - 835 pages
70 Reviews
Since the series' inception in 1915, the annual volumes of The Best American Short Stories have launched literary careers, showcased the most compelling stories of each year, and confirmed for all time the significance of the short story in our national literature. Now THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES OF THE CENTURY brings together the best of the best - fifty-five extraordinary stories that represent a century's worth of unsurpassed accomplishments in this quintessentially American literary genre. Here are the stories that have endured the test of time: masterworks by such writers as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Saroyan, Flannery O'Connor, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Raymond Carver, Cynthia Ozick, and scores of others. These are the writers who have shaped and defined the landscape of the American short story, who have unflinchingly explored all aspects of the human condition, and whose works will continue to speak to us as we enter the next century. Their artistry is represented splendidly in these pages. THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES series has also always been known for making literary discoveries, and discovery proved to be an essential part of selecting the stories for this volume too. Collections from years past yielded a rich harvest of surprises, stories that may have been forgotten but still retain their relevance and luster. The result is a volume that not only gathers some of the most significant stories of our century between two covers but resurrects a handful of lost literary gems as well. Of all the great writers whose work has appeared in the series, only John Updike's contributions have spanned five consecutive decades, from his first appearance, in 1959, to his most recent, in 1998. Updike worked with coeditor Katrina Kenison to choose stories from each decade that meet his own high standards of literary quality.
  

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Great selection of stories. - Goodreads
It's fun an easy to read. - Goodreads
A great selection and range of stories and authors. - Goodreads

Review: The Best American Short Stories of the Century (The Best American Short Stories)

User Review  - Georg - Goodreads

A great selection and range of stories and authors. The quintessential introduction to 20th century American literature. Authors include Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Welty, Parker, etc. Highly reccomended despite its unwieldiness. Read full review

Review: The Best American Short Stories of the Century (The Best American Short Stories)

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

Lesson learned: when choosing a compilation of stories, take into account the editor as much as the authors. I eagerly looked forward to this collection of American short stories, chronicled by year ... Read full review

Contents

III
2
IV
8
VI
19
VII
39
VIII
46
IX
61
X
69
XIII
78
XLI
412
XLII
439
XLIII
451
XLIV
467
XLV
478
XLVI
494
XLVII
504
XLVIII
508

XIV
101
XV
106
XVI
112
XVII
128
XVIII
137
XIX
154
XXII
160
XXIII
170
XXV
180
XXVI
212
XXVII
225
XXIX
242
XXX
251
XXXI
265
XXXII
282
XXXIV
287
XXXV
296
XXXVI
313
XXXVII
326
XXXVIII
349
XXXIX
370
XL
385
XLIX
521
L
534
LI
540
LII
566
LV
577
LVI
582
LVII
596
LVIII
601
LIX
617
LX
634
LXI
653
LXII
672
LXIII
689
LXIV
706
LXV
721
LXVI
736
LXVII
755
LXX
770
LXXI
790
LXXII
798
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About the author (2000)

American novelist, poet, and critic John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1932. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard University, which he attended on a scholarship, in 1954. After graduation, he accepted a one-year fellowship to study painting at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England. After returning from England in 1955, he worked for two years on the staff of The New Yorker. This marked the beginning of a long relationship with the magazine, during which he has contributed numerous short stories, poems, and book reviews. Although Updike's first published book was a collection of verse, The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures (1958), his renown as a writer is based on his fiction, beginning with The Poorhouse Fair (1959). During his lifetime, he wrote more than 50 books and primarily focused on middle-class America and their major concerns---marriage, divorce, religion, materialism, and sex. Among his best-known works are the Rabbit tetrology---Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981), and Rabbit at Rest (1988). Rabbit, Run introduces Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom as a 26-year-old salesman of dime-store gadgets trapped in an unhappy marriage in a dismal Pennsylvania town, looking back wistfully on his days as a high school basketball star. Rabbit Redux takes up the story 10 years later, and Rabbit's relationship with representative figures of the 1960s enables Updike to provide social commentary in a story marked by mellow wisdom and compassion in spite of some shocking jolts. In Rabbit Is Rich, Harry is comfortably middle-aged and complacent, and much of the book seems to satirize the country-club set and the swinging sexual/social life of Rabbit and his friends. Finally, in Rabbit at Rest, Harry arrives at the age where he must confront his mortality. Updike won the Pulitzer Prize for both Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest. Updike's other novels range widely in subject and locale, from The Poorhouse Fair, about a home for the aged that seems to be a microcosm for society as a whole, through The Court (1978), about a revolution in Africa, to The Witches of Eastwick (1984), in which Updike tries to write from inside the sensibilities of three witches in contemporary New England. The Centaur (1963) is a subtle, complicated allegorical novel that won Updike the National Book Award in 1964. In addition to his novels, Updike also has written short stories, poems, critical essays, and reviews. Self-Consciousness (1989) is a memoir of his early life, his thoughts on issues such as the Vietnam War, and his attitude toward religion. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. He died of lung cancer on January 27, 2009 at the age of 76.

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