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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Short Story: Selected full-text books and articles

The Short Story: An Introduction By Paul March-Russell Edinburgh University Press, 2009
A Reader's Companion to the Short Story in English By 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 By Blanche H. Gelfant; Lawrence Graver Columbia University Press, 2000
The American Short Story since 1950 By Kasia Boddy Edinburgh University Press, 2010
The Tales We Tell: Perspectives on the Short Story By Barbara Lounsberry; Susan Lohafer; Mary Rohrberger; Stephen Pett; R. C. Feddersen Greenwood Press, 1998
Postmodern Approaches to the Short Story By Farhat Iftekharrudin; Joseph Boyden; Joseph Longo; Mary Rohrberger Praeger, 2003
The Postmodern Short Story: Forms and Issues By Farhat Iftekharrudin; Joseph Boyden; Mary Rohrberger; Jaie Claudet Praeger, 2003
Thematic Guide to Popular Short Stories By Patrick A. Smith Greenwood Press, 2002
Reading the Modern Chinese Short Story By Marston Anderson; Yi-Tsi Mei Feuerwerker; Robert E. Hegel; Leo Ou-Fan Lee; Theodore Huters; Cyril Birch M. E. Sharpe Inc., 1990
The Short Story: The Short of It By Pasco, Allan H Style, Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall 1993
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