The Short Story: An Introduction

By Paul March-Russell | Go to book overview

4
Poe, O. Henry and the
Well-Made Story

In their respective essays, 'The Painter of Modern Life' (1859) and 'The Storyteller' (1936), Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin praised the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Yet, paradoxically, it was Poe who established the framework for the 'well-made' stories of commercial writers in the early twentieth century, such as O. Henry. The popular success of O. Henry's fiction, and the subsequent critical controversy, mark an important episode in both the development and the reception of the short story. O. Henry established a working model for the short story that has endured with magazines such as The New Yorker. Yet, the critical opposition to his success reveals underlying concerns, especially in the United States, surrounding the short story's cultural position, anxieties to do with taste, discernment and respectability.

Poe saw himself, primarily, as a poet in the Romantic tradition, especially in the fantasies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Frequently penniless, Poe wrote stories in order to support his family, his drinking and his ruling passion for poetry: a tactic that, to some extent, paid off with the publication of 'The Raven' in 1845. It was only after his death, in 1849, that Poe's stories gradually received acclaim; ten years earlier, his first collection, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, had sold poorly. By contrast, no contemporary work of short story criticism would omit Poe's name since he is almost universally regarded as supplying the basis for the modern short story. In his day, Poe was a marginal figure, but arguably his distance from commercial and critical respectability allowed him to divine the future development of the short story.

Poe's self-image as an artist was contradictory. On the one hand, he saw himself as an aesthete, a poet and intellectual, but on the other hand, he regarded himself as a jobbing writer, who wrote tales of

-32-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Short Story: An Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 294

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.