Monday, September 10, 2012

200 Short Stories I admire From Boccaccio up to the 21st Century


Bill, of the Boulder Great Books Discussion Group, asked me recently if I might post a list of my 100 favorite short stories of all time, since I had earlier posted a list of my favorite stories of the 21st century.  

Well, that, I discovered when I started the task, is not really so easy.  In the fifty years I have been reading, teaching, and writing about short stories, I have admired many, many, many stories.  When I started making a list of "favorites," I found I could not stop at 100, and only stopped at 200 because the list would have become too long to be of any interest or use to my readers. I could have listed practically all of Borges, Carver, Trevor, Munro, Dubus, Chekhov, etc. etc.  

And I know for sure that in the following list of 200 stories I admire (I hesitate to use the word "favorite") I have neglected many stories that have just slipped my mind.

Please see my earlier post of 100 favorite stories of the 21st century for a supplement to the following list. 

If you have a favorite story not on either list that you think I might enjoy reading, please send the author and title to me in a comment or an email.

1)      Abbott, Le K.  “The Talk Talked Between Worms”
2)      Aiken, Conrad, “Silent Snow, Secret Snow”
3)      Alexie, Sherman, “The Toughest Indian in the World”
4)      Anderson, Sherwood, “Death in the Woods”
5)      Anderson, Sherwood, “Hands”
6)      Babel, Isaac, “The Story of My Dovecote”
7)      Babel, Isaac, “Guy de Maupassant”
8)      Baldwin, James, “Sonny’s Blues”
9)      Barrett, Andrea, “Servants of the Map”
10)  Barthelme, Donald, “A Shower of Gold”
11)  Barthelme, Donald, “The Balloon”
12)  Bass, Rick, “The Hermit’s Story”
13)  Bausch, Richard, “The Fireman’s Wife”
14)  Beattie, Ann, “The Longest Day of the Year”
15)  Beattie, Ann, “Janus”
16)  Bellow, Saul, “A Father-to-Be”
17)  Bierce, Ambrose, “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
18)  Bloom, Amy, “Silver Water”
19)  Boccaccio, Giovanni, “The Falcon”
20)  Borges, Jorge Luis, “Funes the Memorious”
21)  Borges, Jorge Luis, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote”
22)  Borges, Jorge Luis, “The Lottery of Babylon”
23)  Bowen, Elizabeth, “The Demon Lover”
24)  Byatt, A.S. “The Thing in the Forest”
25)  Byers, Michael, “Settled on the Cranberry Coast”
26)  Camus, Albert, “The Guest”
27)  Canin, Ethan, “Emperor of the Air”
28)  Capote, Truman, “A Tree of Night”
29)  Carleton, William, “Wildegoose Lodge”
30)  Carlson, Ron, “At the Jim Bridger”
31)  Carver, Raymond, “Errand”
32)  Carver, Raymond, “Neighbors”
33)  Carver, Raymond, “Why Don’t You Dance?”
34)  Cather, Willa, “Paul’s Case”
35)  Cheever, John, “The Country Husband”
36)  Cheever, John, “The Swimmer”
37)  Chekhov, Anton, “The Lady with the Pet Dog”
38)  Chekhov, Anton, “Gooseberries”
39)  Chekhov, Anton, “Misery”
40)  Chopin, Kate, “Desiree’s Baby”
41)  Conrad, Joseph, “The Secret Sharer”
42)  Conrad, Joseph, “Amy Foster”
43)  Cortazar, Julio, “The Island at Noon”
44)  Crane, Stephen, “The Blue Hotel”
45)  Crane, Stephen, “The Open Boat”
46)  D’Ambrosio, Charles, “The High Divide”
47)  Dinesen, Isak, “The Deluge at Norderney”
48)  Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, “The Peasant Marey”
49)  Dubus, Andre,  “A Father’s Story”
50)  Dubus, Andre, “Dancing After Hours”
51)  Dybek, Stuart, “Pet Milk”
52)  Eisenbrg, Deborah, “Mermaids”
53)  Eisenberg, Deborah, “Some Other, Better Otto”
54)  Erdrich, Louise, “Fleur”
55)  Faulkner, William, “Barn Burning”
56)  Faulkner, William, “A Rose for Emily”
57)  Fitzgerald, F. Scott, “Absolution”
58)  Fitzgerald, F. Scott, “Winter Dreams”
59)  Flaubert, Gustave, “The Legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller”
60)  Gallant, Mavis, “Dede”
61)  Gass, William H. “In the Heart of the Heart of the Country”
62)  Gilchrist, Ellen, “The Stucco House”
63)  Gilman, Charlotte, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
64)  Glaspell, Susan, “A Jury of Her Peers”
65)  Gogol, Nikolai, “The Overcoat”
66)  Gordimer, Nadine, “The Train from Rhodesia”
67)  Greene, Graham, “The Basement Room”
68)  Gurganus, Allan, “He’s At the Office”
69)  Hannah, Barry, “Airships”
70)  Harte, Bret, “Tennessee’s Partner”
71)  Hawthorne, Nathaniel, “The Birthmark”
72)  Hawthorne, Nathaniel, “The Minister’s Black Veil”
73)  Hawthorne, Nathaniel, “Young Goodman Brown”
74)  Hemingway, Ernest, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”
75)   Hemingway, Ernest, “Indian Camp”
76)  Hemingway, Ernest, “Hills Like White Elephants”
77)  Hemingway, Ernest, “The Killers”
78)  Hempel, Amy, “The Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”
79)  Henry, O. “A Municipal Report”
80)  Henry, O. “The Cop and the Anthem”
81)  Irving, Washington, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
82)  Jackson, Shirley, “The Lottery”
83)  James, Henry, “The Beast in the Jungle”
84)  James, Henry, “The Jolly Corner”
85)  James, Henry, “The Real Thing”
86)  Johnson, Denis, “Car Crash While Hitchhiking”
87)  Jones, Edward P., “Marie”
88)  Joyce, James, “Araby”
89)  Joyce, James,  “Clay”
90)  Joyce, James, “The Dead”
91)  Joyce, James “The Sisters”
92)  Kafka, Franz, “A Country Doctor”
93)  Kafka, Franz, “The Hunger Artist”
94)  Kafka, Franz, “In the Penal Colony”
95)  Kafka, Franz, “The Metamorphosis”
96)  Keegan, Claire, “Foster”
97)  Kipling, Rudyard, “The Man Who Would be King”
98)  Kleist, Heinrich Von, “The Earthquake in Chili”
99)  Lahiri, Jhumpa, “Unaccustomed Earth”
100)                      Landolfi, Tomasso, “Gogol’s Wife”
101)                      Lardner, Ring, “Haircut”
102)                      Lasdun, John, “On Death”
103)                      Lavin, Mary, “The Great Wave”
104)                      Lawrence, D. H. “The Horse-Dealer’s Daughter”
105)                      Lawrence, D. H., “The Prussian Officer”
106)                      Lawrence, D. H. “The Rocking Horse Winner”
107)                      Leavitt, David, ”Territory”
108)                      Lordan, Beth, “The Man With the Lapdog”
109)                      Malouf, David, “Dream Stuff”
110)                      MacLeod, Alistair, “The Boat”
111)                      MacLeod, Alistair, “As Birds Bring Forth the Sun”
112)                      Malamud, Bernard, “The Magic Barrel”
113)                      Mann, Thomas, “Disorder and Early Sorrow”
114)                      Mansfield, Katherine, “Bliss”
115)                      Mansfield, Katherine, “The Fly”
116)                      Mansfield, Katherine, “The Garden Party”
117)                      Mansfield, Katherine, “Miss Brill”
118)                      Marquez, Gabriel Garcia, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”
119)                      Mason, Bobbie Ann, “Graveyard Day”
120)                      Maupassant, Guy de, “Madame Telliers Excursion”
121)                      McGahern, John, “The Beginning of an Idea”
122)                      McCullers, Carson, “A Tree, a Rock, A Cloud”
123)                      Means, David, “Assorted Fire Events”
124)                      Means, David, “Reading Chekhov”
125)                      Melville, Herman, “Bartleby the Scrivener”
126)                      Millhauser, Steven, “Eisenheim the Illusionist”
127)                      Moore, George, “So On the Fares”
128)                      Moore, Lorrie, “People Like That Are the Only People Here”
129)                      Mukherjee, Bharati, “The Management of Grief”
130)                      Munro, Alice, “The Love of a Good Woman”
131)                      Munro, Alice, “Runaway”
132)                      Munro, Alice, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”
133)                      Munro, Alice, “Meneseteung”
134)                      Nabokov, Vladimir, “That in Aleppo Once”
135)                      Oates, Joyce Carol, ”Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
136)                      O’Brien, Edna, “Sister Imelda”
137)                      O’Brien, Tim, “The Things They Carried”
138)                      Offutt, Chris, “Melungeons”
139)                      O’Connor, Flannery, “Good Country People”
140)                      O’Connor, Flannery, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
141)                      O’Connor, Flannery, “Revelation”
142)                      O’Connor, Frank, “First Confession”
143)                      O’Connor, Frank, “Guests of the Nation”
144)                      Olsen, Tillie, “Tell Me a Riddle”
145)                      Ozick, Cynthia, “The Shawl”
146)                      Packer, Z.Z., “Brownies”
147)                      Paley, Grace, “Friends”
148)                      Paley, Grace, The Used-Boy Raisers”
149)                      Parker, Dorothy, “Big Blonde”
150)                      Pearlman, Edith,  “Inbound”
151)                      Pearlman, Edith, “Self-Reliance”
152)                      Pirandello, Luigi, “The Soft Touch of Grass”
153)                      Poe, Edgar Allan, “The Cask of Amontillado”
154)                      Poe, Edgar Allen, “The Fall of the House of Usher”
155)                      Poe, Edgar Allan, “The Tell-Tale Heart”
156)                      Porter, Katherine Anne, “Flowering Judas”
157)                      Porter, Katherine Anne, “The Grave”
158)                      Porter, Katherine Anne, “Noon Wine”
159)                      Powers, J. F. “Lions, Harts, and Leaping Does”
160)                      Powers, J.F. “The Valiant Woman”
161)                      Pritchett, V. S. “Sense of Humor”
162)                      Proulx, Annie, “Brokeback Mountain”
163)                      Pushkin, Alexander, “The Queen of Spades”
164)                      Rash, Ron, “The Ascent”
165)                      Robison, Mary, “An Amateur’s Guide to the Night”
166)                      Rosa, Joao Guimaraes, “The Third Bank of the River”
167)                      Roth, Philip, “The Conversion of the Jews”
168)                      Saki, “The Open Window”
169)                      Salinger, J. D. “ “For Esme—With Love and Squalor”
170)                      Salinger, J. D. “”A Perfect Day for Bananafish”
171)                      Saunders, George, “Pastoralia”
172)                      Schwartz, Delmore, “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”
173)                      Singer, Isaac B.  “Gimpel the
174)                      Stockton, Frank, “The Lady or the Tiger”
175)                      Taylor, Peter, “Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time”
176)                      Thomas, Dylan, “A Story”
177)                      Tolstoy, Leo, “The Death of Ivan Ilych”
178)                      Trevor, William, “The Dressmaker’s Child”
179)                      Trilling, Lionel, “Of This Time, of That Place”
180)                      Turgenev, Ivan,  “Bzeyhin Meadow”
181)                      Turgenev, Ivan, “The District Doctor”
182)                      Twain, Mark, “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg”
183)                      Updike, John, “A&P”
184)                      Updike, John, “Pigeon Feathers”
185)                      Updike, “The Music Room”
186)                      Updike, John, “Pigeon Feathers”
187)                      Verga, Giovanni, “The She-Wolf”
188)                      Walker, Alice, “To Hell with Dying”
189)                      Warren, Robert Penn, “Blackberry Winter”
190)                      Welty, Eudora, “Death of a Travelling Salesman”
191)                      Welty, Eudora, “Petrified Man”
192)                      Welty, Eudora, “A Visit of Charity”
193)                      Welty, Eudora, “Why I Live at the P.O.
194)                      Wharton, Edith, “Roman Fever”
195)                      Williams, Joy, “The Skater”
196)                      Williams, Joy, “Train”
197)                      Williams, Tennessee, “Three Players of a Summer Game”
198)                      Williams, William Carlos, “The Use of Force”
199)                      Wolff, Tobias, “The Liar”
200)                      Wolff, Tobias, In the Garden of the North American Martyrs”

6 comments:

Mike Ramberg said...

I see Pigeon Feathers is on the list twice - who gets its spot?

Charles E. May said...

Oops! Thanks, Mike. Who gets its spot? Carver's "Fat," or anything else by Carver, Munro, Trevor, etc.

Theorbys said...

Do you have a personal favorite/best of all time ? For me, based on a vastly smaller reading experience, it is The Fall of the House of Usher, a perfect and powerful fusion of unity and complexity that is perhaps only possible, in prose fiction, in the short story form, and to me, is its greatest possibility.

That is not to say short stories can or should do nothing else. But I think a major problem in addressing the short story theoretically and thematically is that there is a vast body of short stories that are fine literature; superb writing with well drawn characters and good plots, etc, but that there are others that realize a potential unique to the form. Poe was among the first to formulate ideas about that potential, and put those ideas into writings that realized it, and are the fundamental raison d'etre for short stories, and thereby are fundamental to writing about How To Read Short Stories. At least they are if you believe there is such a unique potential power in short stories.

The basic generic distinction between prose fictions seems to be simply length: novels, short novels, short stories, and prose poems. But I do not believe a short story is a novel or short novel with a smaller word count, although many do read like that, and good ones. Any form can establish mood, style, character, etc within a paragraph and maintain it through 100, 1000, or 1,000,000 words but the length itself can be exploited to effect us very differently.

Such an approach might create a class of second class citizens out of countless well written short stories that may even be a delight to read, but it seems basic to me, even more important than asking what a short story is. The latter question can be answered, somewhat imprecisely, as a fiction of a certain indefinite but short length. But what can a short story, and only a short story, be ?

Well, I have New Theories of the Short Story on order so perhaps the question is addressed there.

Joe said...

Great to see Ethan Canin in your list, Charles, and ZZ Packer.

Jay said...

Wonderful list. I will use it as a resource as I try to discover more short stories.

I've lately been reading the stories of Richard Yates, and they're sensationally good. His collection, ELEVEN KINDS OF LONELINESS, is one of the great books of short stories I've read. His second collection, LIARS IN LOVE, is a bit less good, in my opinion, but still contains some gems, like the extraordinary "Oh Joseph, I'm So Tired" and the long story, "Saying Goodbye to Sally".

Anonymous said...

Hello Dear Charles,

I think you've left blatantly out some greater writer than those. Far Better than those forgettable American writers.

Such as: Jack London, Robert Walser (whom Kafka learned), Robert Louis Stevenson!!, Virginia Woolf, H. G. Wells!!, Leon Bloy, Pu Songling, Machado de Assis!!,Bioy Casares, Juan Carlos Onetti, Clarice Lispector, Leopoldo Lugones, Felisberto Hernandez, Lord Dunsany, Eça de Queirós, Julio Ramón Ribeyro, and Cortázar (not Cortezar as you wrote), Villiers de Lisle Adam, Ivan Bunin, L. Andreiev, Leskov, Ruben Dario, Juan Rulfo!, Alejo Carpentier, Bruno Schulz, Voltaire (Candide!), Anatole France, Horacio Quiroga (and not Quirgo as you wrote),Giovanni Papini, Leopardi, Daudet, Gustav Meyrink, and thes a bit older but inmortals Prosper Merimeé, Honoré de Balzac (wrote beautiful stories)E.T.A. Hoffmann!!( better a thousand time than Poe). Gottfried Keller,Zhuang Zhou, and many more...

So have you all a nice reading and take the adventure to discover the rest of the world.

Is needed to look wider, not only yours bellybell. ;) Yeah, the world it huge. There is far more great writers than an American college can teach (Shakespeare).
American always thinking they have invented all things. That they are the best in the world, but only they can pay to say that. There is good writers but most of the contemporary ones are paranoics and spreed like a virus.
Kind regards, Walter.