Oxford Book of American Short Stories

ISBN-10: 0195092627
ISBN-13: 9780195092622
Edition: 1994 (Reprint)
List price: $19.95 Buy it from $1.15
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Description: "How ironic," Joyce Carol Oates writes in her introduction to this marvelous collection, "that in our age of rapid mass-production and the easy proliferation of consumer products, the richness and diversity of the American literary imagination  More...

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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 9/1/1994
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 784
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 2.046
Language: English

"How ironic," Joyce Carol Oates writes in her introduction to this marvelous collection, "that in our age of rapid mass-production and the easy proliferation of consumer products, the richness and diversity of the American literary imagination should be so misrepresented in most anthologies." Why, she asks, when writers such as Samuel Clemens, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Saul Bellow, and John Updike have among them written hundreds of short stories, do anthologists settle on the same two or three titles by each author again and again? "Isn't the implicit promise of an anthology that it will, or aspires to, present something different, unexpected?" In The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, Joyce Carol Oates offers a sweeping survey of American short fiction, in a collection of fifty-six tales that combines classic works with many "different, unexpected" gems, and that invites readers to explore a wealth of important pieces by women and minority writers. Some selections simply can't be improved on, Oates admits, and she happily includes such time-honored works as Irving's "Rip Van Winkle," Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," and Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." But alongside these classics, Oates introduces such little-known stories as Mark Twain's "Cannibalism in the Cars," a story that reveals a darker side to his humor ("That morning we had Morgan of Alabama for breakfast. He was one of the finest men I ever sat down to...a perfect gentleman, and singularly juicy"). From Melville come the juxtaposed tales "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids," of which Oates says, "Only Melville could have fashioned out of 'real' events...such harrowing and dreamlike allegorical fiction." From Flannery O'Connor we find "A Late Encounter With the Enemy," and from John Cheever, "The Death of Justina," one of Cheever's own favorites, though rarely anthologized. The reader will also delight in the range of authors found here, from Charles W. Chesnutt, Jean Toomer, and Sarah Orne Jewett, to William Carlos Williams, Kate Chopin, and Zora Neale Hurston. Contemporary artists abound, including Bharati Mukherjee and Amy Tan, Alice Adams and David Leavitt, Bobbie Ann Mason and Tim O'Brien, Louise Erdrich and John Edgar Wideman. Oates provides fascinating introductions to each writer, blending biographical information with her own trenchant observations about their work, plus a long introductory essay, in which she offers the fruit of years of reflection on a genre in which she herself is a master. This then is a book of surprises, a fascinating portrait of American short fiction, as filtered through the sensibility of a major modern writer.

Joyce Carol Oates was born in 1938 in Upstate, New York. She attended Syracuse University and graduated as Valedictorian. She then attended University of Wisconsin where she earned an M. A. By the time she was 47 years old, she had published at least that many separate books, including 16 full-length novels and more than a dozen collections of short stories. Some of her works were done under the pseudonym Rosamund Smith. She has also written numerous poems collected in several volumes, at least three plays, many critical essays, and articles and reviews on various subjects while fulfilling her obligations as a professor of English at the University of Windsor, where with her husband Raymond Smith she edited the Ontario Review, which the couple has continued since moving to Princeton in 1978. She has earned a reputation as indubitably one of our most prolific writers and very likely one of our best. Her fiction alone demonstrates considerable variety, ranging from direct naturalism to complex experiments in form. However, what chiefly makes her work her own is a quality of psychological realism, an uncanny ability to bring to the surface an underlying sense of foreboding or a threat of violence that seems to lurk just around the corner from the everyday domestic lives she depicts so realistically. Her first six novels, including Them (1969), which won the National Book Award, express these qualities in varying ways. she is also the recipient of an NEA grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Lifetime Achievement Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature. Her title Give Me Your Heart made the New York Times Best seller list for 2011.

Introduction
Rip Van Winkle
Peter Rugg, the Missing Man
The Wives of the Dead
The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Ghost in the Mill
Cannibalism in the Cars
A White Heron
The Storm
The Sheriff's Children
The Yellow Wallpaper
The Middle Years
In a Far Country
Old Woman Magoun
The Little Regiment
A Journey
The Strength of God
A Death in the Desert
Blood-Burning Moon
A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
An Alcoholic Case
The Girl with a Pimply Face
He
That Evening Sun
Sweat
Red-Headed Baby
The Man Who Was Almost a Man
A Distant Episode
A Late Encounter with the Enemy
Sonny's Blues
Battle Royal
There Will Come Soft Rains
Rain in the Heart
Where Is the Voice Coming From?
The Lecture
My Son the Murderer
Something To Remember Me By
The Death of Justina
Texts
The School
The Persistence of Desire
Alaska
Are These Actual Miles?
Yellow Woman
The Shawl
Heat
Hunters in the Snow
The Things They Carried
Big Bertha Stories
Fever
The Management of Grief
Two Kinds
Fleur
Gravity
The House on Mango Street
What Sally Said
Linoleum Roses
A House of My Own
Town Smokes
Author Index

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