The Great Modern American Stories: An Anthology

The Great Modern American Stories: An Anthology

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The Great Modern American Stories: An Anthology

The Great Modern American Stories: An Anthology

Read FREE!

Excerpt

William Dean Howells

My reading has always been so much my living that I cannot separate them, and I should not like to part my remembrance of My Double; and How He Undid Me from my sense of convalescence on the sick bed where I first read it in Columbus, Ohio, and laughed myself back into health over it. I discovered in it the dear and delightful author of it, and felt as if I had invented Edward Everett Hale long before I knew him by name, for in those days The Atlantic Monthly, where I first read it, never gave the names of its contributors, such being its sacred Blackwood Magazine tradition. My first reading of the story was the first of many readings of it and laughings over it with all the friends who then inhabited Columbus to the sum of the little city’s population of 20,000. These were all people of my own age, say of twenty or twenty-one, and my partners, both sexes, in the awful joy of Miss Prescott’s (not yet Mrs. Spofford’s) tremendous story of Circumstance, still unsurpassed of its kind. We thrilled over it severally and collectively (the whole 20,000 of us), and are still ready to swear it unsurpassed, though we are now over seventy or eighty years old and 200,000 in number.

It wanted at least two generations to freeze our young blood with Mrs. Perkins Gilman’s story of The Yellow Wall Paper, which Horace Scudder (then of The Atlantic) said in refusing it that it was so terribly good that it ought never to be printed. But terrible and too wholly dire as it was, I could not rest until I had corrupted the editor of The New England Magazine into publishing it. Now that I have got it into my collection here, I shiver over it as much as I did when I first read it in manuscript, though I agree with the editor of The Atlantic of the time that it was too terribly good to be printed.

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