Monday, September 24, 2012

Is the Short Story an Obsessive, Unnatural Form?



The short story's dependence on tightly unified form rather than mimetic methods has been its central aesthetic characteristic since Poe’s assertion: 'In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency . . . is not to the pre-established design.'"  One of the reasons the short story has always been less respected by critics than the novel is the often tacit, sometimes explicit, suspicion that there is something psychologically or aesthetically "unhealthy" about the form, that it is "obsessed" with an abnormally artificial and intense unity that has a tendency to dissolve the referential material of the form.

The short story's dependence on form, however, is not simply a product of Edgar Allan Poe's obsessive imagination; it is a conventional characteristic deriving from the short story's ancestry in myth and folklore.  As Frederic Jameson reminded us in The Prison House of Language, short stories have a kind of "atemporal and object-like unity in the way they convert existence into a sudden coincidence between two systems:  a resolution of multiplicity into unity, or a fulfillment of a single wish."  Jameson says that for Poe the short story was a way of "surmounting time, of translating a formless temporal succession into a simultaneity which we can grasp and possess."

Poe has always been accused of being indifferent to living, flesh and blood subjects.  W. H. Auden has said there is no place in any of his stories for "the human individual as he actually exists in space and time," that is, as a natural creature and an historical person.  Richard Wilbur in his famous Library of Congress Lecture in 1959 concluded that Poe's aesthetic that "art should repudiate everything human and earthly," was insane.  However, the repudiation of "reality" as defined only as everyday human experience is precisely what myth and folklore--the primal forerunners of the short story--are based on. 

As Mircea Eliade has shown, when primitive human beings divided the world into the two realms of the profane (the world of everyday reality) and the sacred (the world of desire for immanent or transcendent meaning), they had no doubt that true reality lay within the realm of the sacred.  Poe's aesthetic, and thus the dominant aesthetic of the short story, has always been based on this same assumption that the artistic objectification of desire, not the stuff of everyday, is true reality.

Although Poe's immediate background for this perspective lay in the gothic romance popular in Germany and England, the late 18th- and early 19th-century romance with which Poe was familiar differed from its medieval prototype by being a hybrid form that combined the symbolic projective characters of the old romance with the increasingly realistic detail and social reality of the novel. 

The ambiguity and complexity of such early prototypes of the short story as "Young Goodman Brown, "The Fall of the House of Usher," and "Bartleby, the Scrivener" result from the fact that in these stories allegorical characters in a code-bound plot uneasily interrelate with realistic characters in the verisimilitude of a real world.  The sense we have that something "unnatural" motivates Goodman Brown, Roderick Usher, and Bartleby results from the fact that they are allegorical figures who have stepped into an "as-if-real" world created by the techniques of verisimilitude.

Angus Fletcher provides a suggestion about the effect created by such juxtaposition in his discussion of allegory.  He argues that because the allegorical figure is bound to its single role in the story in which it plays a part, if placed in the real world, the character would act like an obsessed person.  For example, a character named "Faith" in an allegory would act as if she were obsessed with faith, since she would be an embodiment of that characteristic and thus could not "think" of anything else.  And indeed, the characters in short fiction often seem motivated by something that they cannot articulate and that those around them cannot easily understand.

The most obvious early examples are those stories by Poe that focus on "the perverse," that obsessive-like behavior that compels someone to act in a way that may go against reason, common sense, even the best interests of the survival of the physical self.  In many of Poe's most important stories, the obsession is presented as behavior that can only be manifested in elliptical or symbolic ways.

Two of Hawthorne's best-known stories--"Wakefield" and "Young Goodman Brown"--also manifest this same mysterious sense of obsessive acts that have no obvious, commonsense motivation.  Goodman Brown alternately acts as if he were an allegorical figure who must make his journey into the forest as an inevitable working out of the preordained mythic story of which he is a part, and as a psychologically complex, realistic character who, although obsessed with his journey, is able to question its wisdom and morality.  In "Wakefield" Hawthorne is not interested in a man who is realistically motivated to leave his wife because he no longer cares for her, but rather a character who gets so entangled in an obsessive act that he can neither explain it nor escape it.

Melville's Bartleby cannot explain why he is compelled to behave as he does either.  He responds to the wall outside his window as if it were not merely a metaphor for the absurdity that confronts him, but rather the absurdity itself and thus, like Kurtz in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, he responds to the map as if it were the territory, kicks himself loose from the earth, and becomes transformed into a character who no longer can be defined within social, historical, or cultural contexts.  As a result, the reader is caught in an ambivalent situation of not knowing whether to respond to Bartleby as if he is a character who is psychologically obsessed or an allegorical emblem of obsession.  It is typical of the short story that when an obsessed character makes the metaphoric mistake of perceiving a metaphor as real, he or she becomes transformed into a parabolic figure in a fable of his own her own creation.

What is it about the short story that demands this focus on unified form, and what does "obsession" have to do with it?  A brief summary of some of the characteristics of psychological obsession may point to some answers.  Freud says, and most analysts confirm, that obsessive acts are usually performed to escape feelings of dread or anxiety--most often defined as a vague fear of loss of identity.  Rollo May in The Meaning of Anxiety says that Franklin D. Roosevelt's line about "fear of fear itself" is what he means by anxiety, since anxiety results from no discernible cause.  As Roderick Usher says about his struggle with the grim fantasy FEAR, he has no abhorrence of danger, "except in its absolute effect--in terror."  Analysts suggest that since anxiety cannot be dealt with directly because its sources are usually unknown, the individual develops defenses against it, of which the obsessive defense is the most common.

Ritual is one of the most characteristic obsessive means by which one defends against anxiety, for the ritual act is a symbolic enactment to simulate command of that for which the personality feels it has no control.  Freud's famous "fort-da, described" in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, in which a baby repetitively throws a toy out of its crib to simulate its sense of control over the mother's departure is perhaps the most famous example.  If, as Georg Luk√°cs has said, the short story is the most artistic form, it may be because, as Frederic Jameson has suggested, it is the most formal and ritualistic narrative form, for it recapitulates the most basic motivation of the artistic impulse--the "for-da"--the need to create a similitude of control. 

Randal Jarrell describes the same compulsion when he claims that our stories show that we take pleasure in "repeating over and over, until we can bear it, all that we found unbearable:  the child whose mother left her so often that she invented a game of throwing her doll out of her crib, exclaiming as it vanished 'Gone! gone!' was a true poet."  Bruno Bettleheim has suggested that fairy stories, one of the primary progenitors of the short story, are such ritualized defenses or outlets for childhood anxiety.  Bettleheim argues that the child is subject to fears of loneliness, isolation, and mortal anxiety--existential anxieties that fairy tales take seriously and deal with by objectifying in a highly formal structure, much the way that Sufi healing stories do.

As psychologist Leon Salzman reminds us, the obsessive impulse is not a defense against anxiety about everyday problems, but rather anxiety about the most basic problems that arise from our fundamental humanness.  Salzman says that realization of one's "humanness--with its inherent limitations--is often the basis for considerable anxiety and obsessive attempts at great control over one's living."  Freud noted that obsessed neurotics turn their thoughts "to those subjects upon which all mankind are uncertain and upon which our knowledge and judgments remain open to doubt.  The chief subjects of this kind are paternity, length of life, life after death, and memory....”

The entire line of development of the short story--from fairy tale to Poe, from Chekhov to Raymond Carver--has focused on such basic human anxieties and has dealt with them by the creation of a highly formalized, unified, and ritualized aesthetic object.  As a result the short story has often been accused of being cut off from everyday social reality and thus somehow unhealthy.

 However, this severance from social reality is simply part of the short story's generic heritage.  In the early 19th century, Friedrich Schlegel argued that the short narrative form is like a story "torn away from any cultural background"--a perception echoed by Frank O'Connor's famous claim that the short story focuses on characters that remain remote from the community--"romantic, individualistic, and intransigent." 

Richard Ford has said that short stories in particular do not have a clear relationship to the national character because they are often about things that are not clear but need clearing up:  "Making short stories into exponents for history certainly isn't the most interesting thing we can do with them....” Interesting or not, when critics are unable to find any semblance of social reality in fiction, they are apt to accuse the form of being "inhuman" and "unnatural."  When they encounter fiction that depends on poetic techniques of compression and highly unified form rather than mimetic techniques of expansion and verisimilitude, they are apt to call it "obsessive" and "mechanical."

Perhaps there is something about the essential nature of storytelling that naturally moves toward compression and form as opposed to expansion and explanation.  Walter Benjamin seems to think so in his well-known discussion of Nikolai Leskov, for he notes that one of the main reasons for the decline in storytelling is the increase in the dissemination of information: "Actually it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it . . ..  The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the event is not forced upon the reader.  It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks." 

If Benjamin is right, then the common critical accusation that the short story is somehow unnatural and obsessed is merely the result of a common bias toward novelistic information and away from the pure storytelling of the short story.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

C.S Lewis on the Hidden Element in Stories and the Significance of Rereading



I first read C. S. Lewis’s essay “On Stories” several years ago in a collection entitled Essays Presented to Charles Williams (1947), which also contains J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous piece on Fairy Tales and appreciations by four other admirers of William’s work, especially his fantasy novels. Lewis originally delivered his analysis of stories as a university lecture entitled “The Kappa Element in Romance” (Kappa from a Greek word meaning “hidden element”). It is available in a 1966/1984 Harcourt paperback collection entitled On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature.

Williams begins “On Stories” by noting that it is “astonishing how little attention critics have paid to Story considered in itself,” though style and character have been discussed abundantly. Arguing that whereas the forms of literature in which Story is merely a means to something else-- for example, the delineation of character or the criticism of social conditions--have been given serious attention, 
narrative forms in which everything is there for the sake of the Story have been relatively ignored.

Lewis says that the basic problem with appreciating Story for Story’s sake is that stories, to be stories at all, “must be a series of events—but it must be understood that this series—the plot, as we call it—is really only a net whereby to catch something else.” That “something else,” which we often call theme, is something that has no sequence in it, says Lewis; it is something “other than a process and much more like a state or quality.”  All of which might lead one to ask, continues Lewis, why anyone would write a form in which the means are apparently so at odds with the end.  Does this mean, Lewis asks, that to write great stories one should be a poet?  Well, if the writer is a writer of stories or romances, as opposed to novels, then, yes, he thinks that might be true.

Lewis concludes that this “internal tension” between a series of events and that “something else” without sequence that lies at the heart of every story actually constitutes the chief resemblance between story and life: “In real life, as in a story, something must happen.  This is just the trouble.  We grasp at a state and find only a succession of events in which the state is never quite embodied….. In life and art both, as it seems to me, we are always trying to catch in our net of successive moments something that is not successive.”

This “something that is not successive” cannot be grasped, suggests Lewis by reading the story only once.  We do not enjoy a story fully at first reading, says Lewis.  “Not till the curiosity, the sheer narrative lust, has been given its sop and laid asleep, are we are leisure to savour the real beauties.”  Children, Lewis notes, understand this when they ask for the same story over and over again in the same words.

In the essay “Different Tastes in Literature,” also in Stories, Lewis makes a related distinction between the literary and the unliterary, using what he calls the “rereading test.” The distinction is simply this: Works that are literary are reread; works that are unliterary are not.

I have often argued that great short stories must be reread, but it is an argument that some have taken to be elitist--even, God forbid, academic.  After all, how many people, other than professors, go back and reread stories in The New Yorker?  If a story requires rereading in order to discover what Lewis calls the “something not successive,” then does that not mean the story requires a different kind of reading than simply following the events as they seem to occur in time?  And does that not smack of the pedantic, the academic, the “literary”?  If so, one might well throw up one’s hands, curl one’s lip, and say “To hell with it. I think I‘ll watch a movie.”

As a side note: C. S. Lewis says, “Nothing can be more disastrous than the view that the cinema can and should replace popular written fiction.  The elements which it excludes are precisely those which give the untrained mind its only access to the imaginative world.  There is death in the camera.”  Of course, Lewis wrote that in 1940.  One can only imagine what he might say about the most popular movies nowadays, which are often promoted not as a story, but as a “ride.”

My students have sometimes been impatient, even angry, with my attempts to show distinctions between the stories of such popular writers as T.C. Boyle and Stephen King, and such literary writers as Alice Munro and William Trevor.  I would never try to convince them that they should not “like” Boyle and King, but I cite C. S. Lewis again, who says in his essay “Different Tastes in Literature,” that although some people “like” bad art, good art produces a response for which “liking” is the wrong word.  

Bad art may be “liked,” but it never “startles, prostrates, and takes captive,” says Lewis. “The patrons of sentimental poetry, bad novels, bad pictures, and merely catchy tunes are usually enjoying precisely what is there.  And their enjoyment, as I have argued, is not in any way comparable to the enjoyment that other people derive from good art.” If Lewis’s terms “good art” vs. “bad art” are off-putting, then we might simply use the terms “popular story” vs. “literary story,” or perhaps “simple story” vs. “complex story.”

As a teacher who has spent the past forty years trying to “teach” students how to read short stories, I have no objections, of course, to popular or simple stories.  Indeed, I am sorry that film and television have taken the place of written stories to satisfy the human need for “Story.”    Like C. S. Lewis, I think something about human understanding has been lost as a result. 

I also agree with Lewis that a distinction should be made between simple stories and complex stories.  I like Lewis’s “rereading test,” but I am never quite sure what the necessity for a rereading of a story really means.  Does it mean that one does not really understand a literary story unless he or she rereads it?  Or does it mean that one “appreciates” a literary story more when he or she rereads it?
I guess I think both. 

First of all, literary short stories are meaningful only when a reader “stands back” from the story as a temporal progression and sees it spatially as one would see a painting.   A story is meaningful when one completes the first reading and then, having the totality of the story in mind, rereads it in terms of the significance that develops as a result of perceiving the thematic relationship of the various parts.

This apprehension of the “hidden element” signifies, in my opinion, the most significant “appreciation” of the literary short story.


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”