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Encyclopedia > Best American Short Stories

The Best American Short Stories yearly anthology is a part of the Best American Series published by the Houghton Mifflin Company. Since 1915, the BASS anthology has strived to contain the best short stories by some of the best-known writers in contemporary American literature. Each year, a well-known guest editor organizes the book. Anthology may also mean a Alien Ant Farm album ANThology, see Anthology (AAF Album) An anthology is a collection of literary works, originally of poems, but in recent years its usage has broadened to be applied to collections of short stories and comic strips. ... Houghton Mifflin Company is a leading educational publisher in the United States. ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... This article is in need of attention. ...

Contents


Edward O'Brien

The series began in 1915, when Edward O'Brien edited his selection of the previous year's stories. This first edition was serialized in a magazine; however, it caught the attention of the publishing company Small, Maynard, and Company, which published subsequent editions until 1926, when the title was transferred to Dodd, Mead and Company. Edward Joseph Harrington OBrien (1890 - 1941) was a U.S. author, poet, editor and anthologist. ... 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Frank Howard Dodd, (1844-1916), was the leading publisher at Dodd, Mead and Company of New York City from 1870 until his death, January 16, 1916. ...


The time appeared to be a propitious one for such a collection. The most popular magazines of the day featured short fiction prominently and frequently; the best authors were well-known and well-paid. More importantly, there was a nascent movement toward higher standards and greater experimentation among certain American writers. O'Brien capitalized on this moment. He was deeply and vocally skeptical of the value of commercial short fiction, which tended to the formulaic and sentimental; he insisted, in introduction after introduction, on the need for a consciously literary development of the short story. He used his selections to reinforce this call. Over the years of his editorship, he drew attention to two generations of American authors, from Sherwood Anderson and Edna Ferber to Richard Wright and Irwin Shaw. Perhaps the most significant instance of O'Brien's instincts involves Ernest Hemingway; O'Brien published that author's "My Old Man" when it had not even been published yet, and was, moreover, instrumental in finding an American publisher for In Our Time. O'Brien was known to work indefatigably: he claimed to read read around 8,000 stories a year, and his editions contained lengthy tabulations of stories and magazines, ranked on a scale of three stars (representing O'Brien's notion of their "literary permanence.") [[Sherwood Anderson (September 13, 1876 March 8, 1941) was an American writer, mainly of short stories, most notably the collection Winesburg, Ohio. ... Edna Ferber (August 15, 1885 - April 16, 1968), Jewish-American novelist, author, and playwright. ... Richard Nathaniel Wright (September 4, 1908 – November 28, 1960) was an African-American author of novels, short stories and non-fiction. ... Irwin Shaw (né Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff, February 27, 1913 - May 16, 1984) was an American Jewish playwright, screen writer and author. ... Ernest Hemingway, 1950 Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist and short story writer. ...


Though the series attained a degree of fame and popularity, it was never universally accepted. Fans of the period's popular fiction often found his selections precious or willfully obscure. On the other hand, many critics who accepted "literary" fiction objected to O'Brien's occasionally strident and pedantic tone. After his death, for instance, the New Yorker compared him to the recently-deceased editor of the Social Register, suggesting that they shared a form of snobbery. New Yorker may refer to: the magazine, The New Yorker a resident of New York City the hotel New Yorker a named passenger train operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad between Detroit, MI and New York, NY This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might...


Martha Foley

O'Brien died of a heart attack in London in 1941. He was replaced as editor of the series by Martha Foley, founder and former editor of Story Magazine. O'Brien, who had once called Story one of the most important events in literary history since the publication of Lyrical Ballads, presumably would have approved the choice. Foley edited the publication, at first alone and then with the assistance of her son, David Burnett, until 1977. These years witnessed both the ascendancy and eclipse of the type of short story favored by O'Brien: writers as diverse as John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, and Joyce Carol Oates offered sharply observed, generally realistic stories that eschewed trite conventions. At the same time, Foley evinced some degree of awareness of the new currents in fiction. Donald Barthelme, for instance, was chosen for The School in 1976. Foley also attended to the rise of so-called minority literature, dedicating the 1975 volume to Leslie Marmon Silko, although it has been argued that the series was less perceptive in this area than it might have been. The Houses of Parliament and the clock tower containing Big Ben Part of the London skyline viewed from the South Bank London is the capital of the United Kingdom and England. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1941 calendar). ... Lyrical Ballads, 1798, was the flame that lit the English Romantic movement, its spark being that of the somewhat earlier William Blake. ... John Cheever (May 27, 1912–June 18, 1982) was an American novelist and short story writer, sometimes called the Chekhov of the suburbs. ... Bernard Malamud (April 26, 1914 – March 18, 1986) was an American writer born in Brooklyn, New York to a Jewish family. ... Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938 in Lockport, New York) is an American writer of novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and non-fiction. ... Donald Barthelme (April 7, 1931 - July 23, 1989) was an American author of short fiction and novels. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ... Leslie Marmon Silko (born March 5, 1948) in Albuquerque, New Mexico is a Native American writer of Pueblo Laguna, Mexican, and white descent. ...


Since 1978

After Foley's death, the publisher--by that time, Houghton Mifflin-- elected to take the series in a new direction. Under the general editorial guidance of a professional editor (first Shannon Ravenel, and then Katrina Kenison), the volume would be edited by a different American writer each year. The guest writer would select his or her favorites from a larger group selected by the series editor. This format has been followed since.


In 2002, Houghton-Mifflin made the series part of its broader Best American series. For the Cusco album, see 2002 (album). ... The Best American series is an annually-published collection of books, published by Houghton Mifflin, each of which features a different theme. ...



Guest editors of the BASS anthology from 1978 to 1989: 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Guest editors of the BASS anthology from 1990 to 1999: 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... This page refers to the year 1979. ... Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938 in Lockport, New York) is an American writer of novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and non-fiction. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX in Roman) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... Stanley Elkin (May 11, 1930 - May 31, 1995) was the author of satirical novels which gently poked fun at American consumerism, popular culture and male-female relationships. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... John Champlin Gardner, Jr. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Anne Tyler (born on October 25, 1941 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... John Updike John Hoyer Updike (born March 18, 1932) is an American writer born in Reading, Pennsylvania. ... This article is about the year. ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Raymond Carver Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Ann Beattie (born September 8, 1947) is an American short story writer and novelist. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Mark Helprin is a contemporary award-winning Jewish-American novelist and journalist. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Margaret Atwood Margaret Eleanor Peggy Atwood, CC (born November 18, 1939) is one of Canada’s most important contemporary writers. ... This article is about the year. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ...


Guest editors of the BASS anthology since 2000: This article is about the year. ... Richard Ford (February 16, 1944- ) is an American novelist and short story writer. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Alice Adams is a 1935 comedy/drama film. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... Photo of Robert Stone by Robert Birnbaum Robert Stone (born August 21, 1937) is a critically well regarded American novelist, whose work is typically characterized by psychological complexity, political concerns, and dark humor. ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... Karen Louise Erdrich (born June 7, 1954) is a Native American (Chippewa) author of novels, poetry, and childrens books. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV in Roman) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... Tobias Jonathan Ansell Wolff (born June 19, 1945 in Birmingham, Alabama) is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. ... 1995 (MCMXCV in Roman) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Jane Smiley (born September 26, 1949) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... John Edgar Wideman (born June 14, 1941 in Washington, DC) is an American writer. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII in Roman) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Edna Annie Proulx (pronounced ) (born August 22, 1935) is an American journalist and author. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... Garrison Keillor Garrison Keillor (born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942) is an American author, humorist, columnist, musician, and radio personality. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... Amy Tan (Chinese: 譚恩美; pinyin: Tán Ēnměi) (born February 19, 1952) is a Chinese American writer. ... This article is about the year 2000. ...

Since 1991, the series editor of BASS has been Katrina Kenison. From 1978 to 1990, the series editor was Shannon Ravenel. This article is about the year 2000. ... E.L. Doctorow, photograph by Jill Krementz, from back cover of Doctorows 1975 novel Ragtime Edgar Lawrence Doctorow (born January 6, 1931, New York, New York) is the author of several critically acclaimed novels that blend history and social criticism. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... Barbara Kingsolver is an American fiction writer. ... For the Cusco album, see 2002 (album). ... Sue Miller (born November 29, 1943 in Chicago) is an American writer who has authored a number of best-selling novels. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Walter Mosley (born January 12, 1952) is a prominent African-American novelist, most widely recognized for his crime fiction. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Lorrie Moore is a novelist and writer of short stories. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Michael Chabon (born May 24, 1963) is a modern Jewish-American author. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... This article is about the year. ...


Sources

Carlos Baker (1969). Ernest Hemingway: A Life. New York: Scribner's. Carlos Baker (May 5, 1909-April 18, 1987) was an American professor and literary critic. ...


Jacquelyn Spangler (1997). Edward J. O'Brien: Best Short Stories and the Production of an American Genre. Unpublished dissertation, 1997.


William Wilson (1981). "Review of 'The Story of Story'". American Literature 53 (1981): 151-2.


External links

  • The Best American Series on the Houghton Mifflin Website

  Results from FactBites:
 
AllRefer.com - short story (Literature, General) - Encyclopedia (324 words)
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.
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.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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