Short Story

short story, brief prose fiction. The term covers a wide variety of narratives—from stories in which the main focus is on the course of events to studies of character, from the "short short" story to extended and complex narratives such as Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. Most often the short story is restricted in character and situation and is concerned with creating a single, dynamic effect. Its length usually falls between 2,000 and 10,000 words. Short stories date back to earliest times; they can be found in the Bible, Gesta Romanorum of the Middle Ages, Boccaccio's Decameron, and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The modern short story is said to have begun in the 19th cent. with the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Guy de Maupassant. Notable among the exponents of the form are Henry James, O. Henry, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Chekhov, Kafka, D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter, John O'Hara, Flannery O'Connor, J. D. Salinger, John Cheever, John Updike, Donald Barthelme, and Raymond Carver.

See W. Allen, The Short Story in English (1981); G. Weaver, The American Short Story (1983); C. A. Moser, ed., The Russian Short Story (1986); J. Updike and K. Kenison, ed., The Best American Short Stories of the Century (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Short Story: Selected full-text books and articles

The Short Story: An Introduction
Paul March-Russell.
Edinburgh University Press, 2009
A Reader's Companion to the Short Story in English
Erin Fallon; R. C. Feddersen; James Kurtzleben; Maurice A. Lee; Susan Rochette-Crawley.
Greenwood Press, 2001
The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story
Blanche H. Gelfant; Lawrence Graver.
Columbia University Press, 2000
The American Short Story since 1950
Kasia Boddy.
Edinburgh University Press, 2010
The British and Irish Short Story Handbook
David Malcolm.
Wiley, 2012
Writers on Writing: The Art of the Short Story
Maurice A. Lee.
Praeger, 2005
The Tales We Tell: Perspectives on the Short Story
Barbara Lounsberry; Susan Lohafer; Mary Rohrberger; Stephen Pett; R. C. Feddersen.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Toward the End: Closure and Structure in the American Short Story
John Gerlach.
University of Alabama Press, 1985
Postmodern Approaches to the Short Story
Farhat Iftekharrudin; Joseph Boyden; Joseph Longo; Mary Rohrberger.
Praeger, 2003
The Postmodern Short Story: Forms and Issues
Farhat Iftekharrudin; Joseph Boyden; Mary Rohrberger; Jaie Claudet.
Praeger, 2003
Studies in Change: A Book of the Short Story
Hugh Kenner.
Prentice-Hall, 1965
Thematic Guide to Popular Short Stories
Patrick A. Smith.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Tradition and Modernity in the African Short Story: An Introduction to a Literature in Search of Critics
F. Odun Balogun.
Greenwood Press, 1991
Everlasting Voices: Aspects of the Modern Irish Short Story
Richard J. Thompson.
Whitston, 1989
Reading the Modern Chinese Short Story
Marston Anderson; Cyril Birch; Yi-Tsi Mei Feuerwerker; Robert E. Hegel; Leo Ou-Fan Lee; Theodore Huters; Theodore Huters.
M. E. Sharpe Inc., 1990
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