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A Companion to the American Short Story

Bendixen, Alfred / Nagel, James

Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture


1. Edition July 2020
536 Pages, Softcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-119-68564-7
John Wiley & Sons

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A Companion to the American Short Story traces the development of this versatile literary genre over the past two centuries. Written by leading critics in the field, and edited by two major scholars, it explores a wide range of writers, from Edgar Allen Poe and Edith Wharton, at the end of the nineteenth century to important modern writers such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Richard Wright. Contributions with a broader focus address groups of multiethnic, Asian, and Jewish writers. Each chapter places the short story into context, focusing on the interaction of cultural forces and aesthetic principles.

The Companion takes account of cutting edge approaches to literary studies and contributes to the ongoing redefinition of the American canon, embracing genres such as ghost and detective fiction, cycles of interrelated short fiction, and comic, social and political stories. The volume also reflects the diverse communities that have adopted this literary form and made it their own, featuring entries on a variety of feminist and multicultural traditions. This volume presents an important new consideration of the role of the short story in the literary history of American literature.

Notes on Contributors viii

Preface xiv

Acknowledgments xvi

Part I: The Nineteenth Century 1

1 The Emergence and Development of the American Short Story 3
Alfred Bendixen

2 Poe and the American Short Story 20
Benjamin F. Fisher

3 A Guide to Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener" 35
Steven T. Ryan

4 Towards History and Beyond: Hawthorne and the American Short Story 50
Alfred Bendixen

5 Charles W. Chesnutt and the Fictions of a "New" America 68
Charles Duncan

6 Mark Twain and the American Comic Short Story 78
David E. E. Sloane

7 New England Local-Color Literature: A Colonial Formation 91
Josephine Donovan

8 Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Feminist Tradition of the American Short Story 105
Martha J. Cutter

9 The Short Stories of Edith Wharton 118
Donna Campbell

Part II: The Transition into the New Century 133

10 The Short Stories of Stephen Crane 135
Paul Sorrentino

11 Kate Chopin 152
Charlotte Rich

12 Frank Norris and Jack London 171
Jeanne Campbell Reesman

13 From "Water Drops" to General Strikes: Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Short Fiction and Social Change 187
Andrew J. Furer

Part III: The Twentieth Century 215

14 The Twentieth Century: A Period of Innovation and Continuity 217
James Nagel

15 The Hemingway Story 224
George Monteiro

16 William Faulkner's Short Stories 244
Hugh Ruppersburg

17 Katherine Anne Porter 256
Ruth M. Alvarez

18 Eudora Welty and the Short Story: Theory and Practice 277
Ruth D. Weston

19 The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: Structure, Narrative Technique, Style 295
Kirk Curnutt

20 "The Look of the World": Richard Wright on Perspective 316
Mikko Tuhkanen

21 Small Planets: The Short Fiction of Saul Bellow 328
Gloria L. Cronin

22 John Updike 345
Robert M. Luscher

23 Raymond Carver in the Twenty-First Century 366
Sandra Lee Kleppe

24 Multi-Ethnic Female Identity and Denise Chávez's The Last of the Menu Girls 380
Karen Weekes

Part IV: Expansive Considerations 389

25 Landscape as Haven in American Women's Short Stories 391
Leah B. Glasser

26 The American Ghost Story 408
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

27 The Detective Story 425
Catherine Ross Nickerson

28 The Asian American Short Story 436
Wenying Xu

29 The Jewish American Story 450
Andrew Furman

30 The Multiethnic American Short Story 466
Molly Crumpton Winter

31 "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" American Restlessness and the Short-Story Cycle 482
Jeff Birkenstein

Index 502
Alfred Bendixen has taught at Princeton University, Texas A&M University, California State University - Los Angeles, and Barnard College. He is best known as the founder and Executive Director of the American Literature Association. His recent work focuses on the development of genre in a democratic society and includes The Cambridge Companion to American Travel Writing, co-edited with Judith Hamera (2009); A Companion to the American Novel (Blackwell 2012); The Cambridge History of American Poetry, co-edited with Stephen Burt (2015); and The Centrality of Crime Fiction in American Literary Culture, co-edited with Olivia Carr Edenfield (Routledge 2017).

James Nagel is the Eidson Distinguished Professor of American Literature Emeritus at the University of Georgia. From 2012 to 2018 he served as Resident Scholar at Dartmouth College. Early in his career he founded the scholarly journal Studies in American Fiction and the widely influential series Critical Essays on American Literature. Among his 24 books are Stephen Crane and Literary Impressionism, Hemingway in Love and War (which was made into a Hollywood film directed by Lord Richard Attenborough), The Contemporary American Short-Story Cycle, and Race and Culture in New Orleans Stories. He has published some 80 articles in the field, and he has lectured on American literature in 17 countries.

A. Bendixen, Princeton University; J. Nagel, University of Georgia, USA