The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story

The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story

The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story

The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story

Excerpt

A story can … open us up, by cut or caress, to a new truth.

—André Dubus—

Designated a companion to the twen“tieth-century American short story, this collection of essays is both an accessory to the stories and writers it presents and a guide. As accessory or aide, it accompanies the stories, providing information about their writers' lives and literary achievements. As a guide, it points out literary paths taken by American writers whose works are admired throughout the world. By necessity, it has left many roads untraveled. Readers may wish that the Columbia Companion could have pursued these paths, some of them paved recently by best-selling young storytellers such as Nathan Englander and Melissa Bank, whose work appeared after this book went to press, as did the prize-winning stories of Barbara Mujica and Judy Doenges. Their absence and that of certain older, established writers argues for a sequel to The Columbia Companion to the TwentiethCentury American Short Story, a project perhaps for the twenty-first century.

Each of the essays is self-contained and can be read singly or in any sequence. However, if read chronologically, according to the writers' dates, the collected essays trace a history of the short story's development from the beginning of the century to the present, from Jack London and O. Henry to André Dubus, Joy Williams, Tobias Wolff, Deborah Eisenberg, David Leavitt, Lydia Davis, Nicholasa Mohr, Américo Paredes, and a dazzling diversity of others. Two sets of essays suggest this diversity: thematic essays that . . .

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