The Oxford Book of American Short Stories

Front Cover
Joyce Carol Oates
Oxford University Press, 1992 - Fiction - 768 pages
23 Reviews
"How ironic," Joyce Carol Oates writes in her introduction to this marvelous collection, "that in our age of rapid mass-production and the easy proliferation of consumer products, the richness and diversity of the American literary imagination should be so misrepresented in most anthologies." Why, she asks, when writers such as Samuel Clemens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Saul Bellow, and John Updike have among them written hundreds of short stories, do anthologists settle on the same two or three titles by each author again and again? "Isn't the implicit promise of an anthology that it will, or aspires to, present something different, unexpected?"
In The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, Joyce Carol Oates offers a sweeping survey of American short fiction, in a collection of fifty-six tales that combines classic works with many "different, unexpected" gems, and that invites readers to explore a wealth of important pieces by women and minority writers. Some selections simply can't be improved on, Oates admits, and she happily includes such time-honored works as Irving's "Rip Van Winkle," Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," and Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." But alongside these classics, Oates introduces such little-known stories as Mark Twain's "Cannibalism in the Cars," a story that reveals a darker side to his humor ("That morning we had Morgan of Alabama for breakfast. He was one of the finest men I ever sat down to...a perfect gentleman, and singularly juicy"). From Melville come the juxtaposed tales "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids," of which Oates says, "Only Melville could have fashioned out of 'real' events...such harrowing and dreamlike allegorical fiction." From Flannery O'Connor we find "A Late Encounter With the Enemy," and from John Cheever, "The Death of Justina," one of Cheever's own favorites, though rarely anthologized. The reader will also delight in the range of authors found here, from Charles W. Chesnutt, Jean Toomer, and Sarah Orne Jewett, to William Carlos Williams, Kate Chopin, and Zora Neale Hurston. Contemporary artists abound, including Bharati Mukherjee and Amy Tan, Alice Adams and David Leavitt, Bobbie Ann Mason and Tim O'Brien, Louise Erdrich and John Edgar Wideman. Oates provides fascinating introductions to each writer, blending biographical information with her own trenchant observations about their work, plus a long introductory essay, in which she offers the fruit of years of reflection on a genre in which she herself is a master.
This then is a book of surprises, a fascinating portrait of American short fiction, as filtered through the sensibility of a major modern writer.
  

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Review: The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (Oxford Paperbacks)

User Review  - Beth Wheeler - Goodreads

Great anthology. Read full review

Review: The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (Oxford Paperbacks)

User Review  - Betty - Goodreads

I've been reading this book for awhile, picking it up now and then. I like this collection both for the stories included and for the introductions provided by Joyce Carol Oates. Read full review

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Contents

I
1
II
15
III
16
IV
31
V
32
VI
60
VII
61
VIII
67
LIX
370
LX
382
LXII
383
LXIII
395
LXIV
396
LXV
406
LXVI
407
LXVII
438

IX
68
X
89
XI
90
XII
95
XIII
96
XIV
107
XV
108
XVI
116
XVIII
127
XIX
128
XX
134
XXII
135
XXIII
151
XXIV
152
XXV
168
XXVII
169
XXVIII
188
XXIX
189
XXX
204
XXXII
205
XXXIII
223
XXXIV
224
XXXV
242
XXXVII
243
XXXVIII
254
XXXIX
262
XL
283
XLI
284
XLII
293
XLIII
294
XLIV
299
XLV
300
XLVI
308
XLIX
321
LI
322
LII
332
LIII
350
LV
351
LVI
363
LVII
369
LXVIII
439
LXIX
454
LXX
461
LXXI
479
LXXII
486
LXXIII
487
LXXIV
502
LXXV
509
LXXVII
539
LXXVIII
550
LXXIX
551
LXXX
554
LXXXI
558
LXXXII
569
LXXXIII
580
LXXXIV
581
LXXXV
589
LXXXVI
599
LXXXVII
605
LXXXVIII
618
LXXXIX
619
XC
634
XCII
635
XCIII
653
XCIV
669
XCV
670
XCVI
695
XCVII
696
XCVIII
712
XCIX
713
C
725
CII
726
CIII
739
CIV
744
CV
746
CVI
747
CVII
748
CVIII
763
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About the author (1992)


Joyce Carol Oates is one of America's preeminent writers. Since 1978, she has been on the faculty of Princeton University and is a co-editor of The Ontario Review.

Bibliographic information