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Short-Stories   By: (1873-)

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SHORT STORIES

EDITED BY L.A. PITTENGER, A.M., CRITIC IN ENGLISH, INDIANA UNIVERSITY

New York: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, 1914

Set up and electrotyped. Published November, 1913. Reprinted January, 1914.

Norwood Press, J.S. Cushing Co. Berwick & Smith Co., Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

A PREFATORY NOTE

This collection of short stories does not illustrate the history of short story writing, nor does it pretend that these are the ten best stories ever written, but it does attempt to present selections from a list of the greatest short stories that have proved, in actual use, most beneficial to high school students.

The introduction presents a concise statement of the essentials of the history, qualities, and composition of the short story. A brief biography of each author and a criticism covering the main characteristics of his writings serve as starting points for the recitation. The references following both the biography and criticism are given in order that the study of the short story may be amplified, and that high school teachers may build a systematic and serviceable library about their class work in the teaching of the story. The collateral readings, listed after each story, will aid in the creation of a suitable atmosphere for the story studied, and explain many questions developed in the recitation. Only such definitions as are not easily found in school dictionaries are included in the notes.

CONTENTS

PREFATORY NOTE

INTRODUCTION: History of the Short story Qualities of the Short story Composition of the Short story Books for Reference Collections of Short stories

THE FATHER. 1860. Björnstjerne Björnson.

THE GRIFFIN AND THE MINOR CANON. 1887. Frank R. Stockton.

THE PIECE OF STRING. 1884. Guy de Maupassant.

THE MAN WHO WAS. 1889. Rudyard Kipling.

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. 1839. Edgar Allan Poe.

THE GOLD BUG. 1843. Edgar Allan Poe.

THE BIRTHMARK. 1843. Nathaniel Hawthorne.

ETHAN BRAND. 1848. Nathaniel Hawthorne.

THE SIRE DE MALÉTROIT'S DOOR. 1878. Robert Louis Stevenson.

MARKHEIM. 1884. Robert Louis Stevenson.

INTRODUCTION

HISTORY OF THE SHORT STORY

Just when, where, and by whom story telling was begun no one can say. From the first use of speech, no doubt, our ancestors have told stories of war, love, mysteries, and the miraculous performances of lower animals and inanimate objects. The ultimate source of all stories lies in a thorough democracy, unhampered by the restrictions of a higher civilization. Many tales spring from a loathsome filth that is extremely obnoxious to our present day tastes. The remarkable and gratifying truth is, however, that the short story, beginning in the crude and brutal stages of man's development, has gradually unfolded to greater and more useful possibilities, until in our own time it is a most flexible and moral literary form.

The first historical evidence in the development of the story shows no conception of a short story other than that it is not so long as other narratives. This judgment of the short story obtained until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when a new version of its meaning was given, and an enlarged vision of its possibilities was experienced by a number of writers almost simultaneously. In the early centuries of story telling there was only one purpose in mind that of narrating for the joy of the telling and hearing. The story tellers sacrificed unity and totality of effect as well as originality for an entertaining method of reciting their incidents.

The story of Ruth and the Prodigal Son are excellent short tales, but they do not fulfill the requirements of our modern short story for the reason that they are not constructed for one single impression, but are in reality parts of possible longer stories. They are, as it were, parts of stories not unlike Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and A Lear of the Steppes , and lack those complete and concise artistic effects found in the short stories, Markheim and Mumu , by the same authors... Continue reading book >>




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