Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Complete Works of O. Henry” as Want to Read:
The Complete Works of O. Henry
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Complete Works of O. Henry

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,504 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
O. Henry's short stories are known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings.
Hardcover, 1692 pages
Published 1953 by Doubleday (first published 1937)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Complete Works of O. Henry, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Complete Works of O. Henry

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,493)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 08, 2012 Rozzer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, own, fiction
What? Five stars to O. Henry? Outrageous! Ridiculous! Feeble-minded! Can I really have any pretentions to perspicacity? Is my judgment that whacked-out? Well, it's like this. It's a story.

Just like everyone else I was thoroughly inoculated against O. Henry in Junior High (now Middle School). I was spoon-fed "The Ransom of Red Chief" and "The Gift of the Magi" and "Alias Jimmy Valentine" until it was certain, as with polio vaccine, that I would be immune for life. Time passed. Lots of time. Time
Apr 15, 2010 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ward McAllister, a nineteenth-century attorney and social climber, once said that there were only four hundred people in New York City who really mattered. This is of course ridiculous, but to New York's social elite of the day, of whom McAllister was one, it was accepted as more or less true.

O. Henry's first published collection of stories was titled "The Four Million." After the title page, O. Henry has a note to the reader:

"Not very long ago some one invented the assertion that there were onl
Dec 12, 2012 Bob rated it liked it
I enjoyed this one, except that several (not most) of his stories describe members of minority groups in words we no longer use. Not excusing any offense that might be taken by a 21st century reader, but you should remember that such notions were commonplace when he was writing. If you can work your way through the gag reflex on that point, you'll be greatly entertained.

He's a terrific wordsmith and sent me to the dictionary frequently with words that are listed in the OAED as "archaic". Some a
Feb 15, 2012 Travis rated it liked it
Is it possible to be cynical and romantic at the same time?
Somehow O. Henry manages to pull it off in numerous stories.

While after the first dozen stories, you are pretty familiar with his formula and able to see many of the surprise endings coming, at the same time he is a master at flowery, yet humorous language and creating likable characters and idealized settings that you just go with the flow.

His amazing talent for phrasing, description and creating a setting catch hold of you and even tho
Bethany Richter
Mar 19, 2009 Bethany Richter rated it really liked it
Too many stories in a row reveal that O. Henry was a bit of a one trick pony. But what a trick and with that pony, the show's still irrestible.

The ever-present twist, great language, fun stories, characters and times well described and interesting.

I love O. Henry and I also clearly like sentence fragments.
Russell Bittner
Oct 26, 2013 Russell Bittner rated it it was amazing
“And most wonderful of all are words, and how they make friends one with another, being oft associated, until not even obituary notices them do part” (p. 1,046).

The above is vintage O. Henry — as is the following: “(l)ove and business and family and religion and art and patriotism are nothing but shadows of words when a man’s starving” (p. 382).

Both, I suspect, come from deep within the heart of an author whose collected works of fiction I’ve just finished. These works — all short stories, by th
Feb 14, 2014 Shweta rated it it was amazing
One of the finest unsung authors of the 20th century, O. Henry's brilliance lies in his ability to capture,with absolute precision, the idiosyncrasies of the average Joe (and Jane, of course) and portray them with such candor and humor that every character is endearing and sears into your memory. Humans are complex and who knows why they do whatever they do. O. Henry doesn't attempt to unravel or psychoanalyze his characters but serves them up quite deliciously with his charming wit and excellen ...more
Karl Lehtinen
Jan 10, 2008 Karl Lehtinen rated it really liked it
Clearly there are some real stinkers here (I'm smelling you, Gift of the Magi). But every once in a while these stories seem to collapse space and time and someone living 100 years ago has my exact same sense of humor and it's like looking at photographs of your ancestors and realizing they were just like you.

Sorry I'm sort of having a Dead Poet's Society moment. Feel free to beat me with a crowbar.

Bring a sense of patience and a dictionary from about 1910. Sometimes you'll feel like you're tran
Rich Taylor
Oct 17, 2011 Rich Taylor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
O. Henry is noted for his entertaining stories that always end with a twist. The Gift of the Maggi is his most famous, but he has written hundreds of them. I love how he draws you into each story. It is as if he gets you leaning forward more and more, sneaks around behind you, and then kicks out your chair with a big finish. Hugely entertaining. It is probably best to read these slowly as they do tend to get repetitive. Having said that, I find it very difficult to anticipate what his twist will ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 02, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Review title: Short story long

William Sidney Porter was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, grew up in Austin, Texas, worked in real estate and the General Land Office and then a bank, where he was accused of dipping into the funds, fled to Central America leaving behind his young and sickly wife, returning to the US only in time to watch her die and serve time for his bank crime in prison in Columbus, Ohio . . . . where he began to write under the name of O. Henry.

Best known for his short stori
Jul 29, 2008 Johanna rated it it was amazing
I haven't read this book cover to cover, but have to have an O. Henry fix every few months. I love his observations of human nature and his twists at the end, just when you think that you've figured out what is going to happen. Not all of his stories are happy, but all of them make you think or hope or try harder to make the world a better place.
May 07, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it
Short stories are entertaining but formulaic when read one right after the other. You find yourself trying to guess what the next coincidental twist at the end might possibly be. Great, outrageous epithets and flights of fancy-dancy language make up for the over-reliance on coincidental circumstances. Love the stories set in New York.
Scott Holmes
Sep 29, 2012 Scott Holmes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If ever one wishes to indulge in irony, O. Henry is a great place to start. I inherited this rather frail copy. I turn the pages with care and generally look for a gutenberg version if I want to actually work with the text.
Tarang Baxi
Oct 23, 2012 Tarang Baxi rated it it was amazing
The absolute master of the short story. This collection and an equally good collection of stories by Saki got me hooked to the short story genre for life.
Bret James Stewart
Jan 19, 2016 Bret James Stewart rated it really liked it
This edition is nice because it is complete. The introductory material about O. Henry and his works provides a good overview of the author and his work, and the historical/literary context is important in enhancing the reading of the stories and poems. O. Henry did, indeed, write poems, though he is known for his short stories.

The poems are okay, but I prefer the stories. The surprise ending is a well-known and oft-cited feature of O. Henry’s work, and many of the stories do have this. After a w
Simon Mcleish
Apr 19, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in March-September 1999.

The Four Million

A common location and subject - New York and the four million people who lived there at the turn of the century, unite O. Henry's earliest collection of short stories. Each story is fairly typical of his work - short, the longest in this edition being four pages; having a happy ending which may seem a little sentimental to modern tastes (though that doesn't stop people reading, say, Louisa M. Alcott). Each one is skilfu
Gleb Bazilevsky
Feb 04, 2016 Gleb Bazilevsky rated it really liked it
I love O. Henry's stories, for the vibrant pictures of character and personality and the vivid snapshots of New England, New York, and Out West life. And, this anthology is just what it promises: ALL of the stories. I would recommend slimmer collections of his best stories for someone who wants to read O. Henry for the first time, because the chronological ordering of stories in this anthology takes wading through as you follow O. Henry perfecting his narrative and literary styles to create the ...more
1) The Four Million
2) Heart of the West
3) The Gentle Grafter
4) Roads of Destiny
5) Cabbages and Kings
6) Options
7) Sixes and Sevens
8) Rolling Stones

9) The Pewee
10) Nothing to Say
11) The Murderer
12) Some Postscripts
13) Two Portraits
14) A Contribution
15) The Old Farm
16) Vanity
17) The Lullaby Boy
18) Chanson de Boheme
19) Hard to Forget
20) Drop a Tear in This Slot
21) Tamales
22) Some Letters
23) An Early Parable
24) The Story of "Holding Up a Train"

25) Whirligigs
26) The Voice of the City
27) The Trimmed La
Jul 01, 2014 Agent rated it it was ok
Dec 31, 2011 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title should read "With A Forward By Harry Hansen". Obviously, the author is O. Henry.

This is a two volume set published by Doubleday in 1953.

O. Henry is one of my favorite authors who is know for his surprise endings. I love reading short stories at nighttime just before bed and this collection is just the thing!
Tom Mach
Jun 20, 2013 Tom Mach rated it it was amazing
I love reading O. Henry stories to discover the unanticipated conclusions that O. Henry delivers to the reader. The only comment I have about the way this volume was produced was to make the type slightly larger so people with less than 20/20 vision could read it easier. Good Foreword to this book as written by Harry Hansen.
Mary Tuley
Aug 20, 2007 Mary Tuley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody with a mind or a heart.
I treasure this book, love "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Last Leaf" (thanks to a wonderful theatrical experience with my son, who's a director), but am completely partial to "The Ransom of Red Chief."
May 01, 2010 Richard rated it liked it
This was a hard one to rate because the stories are so uneven. His best stuff, the famous stories and some of the not well known, are great. Others are a lot more ordinary.
Jul 17, 2008 Marella rated it really liked it
oodles of shorts - problem is some are fantastic and some are eh, but i can never remember where my favorites are. i little overwhelming to read one after another.
Nov 12, 2011 Teiana rated it really liked it
My favorite story is "A Gift of A Magi". Prior to reading this I've never heard the story, but it is something that'll definitely stick with me
Boyd Coleman
Jan 14, 2010 Boyd Coleman rated it it was amazing
The Gift of the Magi and The Green Door and one about a vine dying at the same time as a sick young lady are three of my favorite short stories.
Oct 13, 2011 Beka rated it liked it
I actually wouldn't suggest reading all of this at once. After a while, they tend to feel similar. I'd rather enjoy them in small doses.
My Rating System:
* couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again.
Jan 22, 2009 Prott rated it it was amazing
One of the best and my favourite authors. Perfect about sarcasm, humour sense and comic situation modelling. Must be read
May 16, 2011 Ellen is currently reading it
Short stories are a great idea for book club too. Simple with some profound meaning in many of them for discussion.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 83 84 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The World of the Short Story: A Twentieth Century Collection
  • Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism
  • The Unabridged Jack London
  • Legends of Charlemagne
  • The Complete Short Stories: Volume 1
  • Stories for Christmas
  • The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Novels
  • The Wide Net and Other Stories
  • The Unabridged Mark Twain
  • Poetical Works
  • The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism
  • The Satyricon and The Apocolocyntosis
  • The Tomorrow-Tamer
  • Nightmare Abbey; Crotchet Castle
  • The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories
  • The Collected Short Stories of Saki
  • Wessex Tales
  • Gilligan's Wake: A Novel
William Sydney Porter lends the pen name "O. Henry" to surprise endings signed officially as Sydney Porter. His biography shows where he found inspiration for his characters. Their voices and his language were products of his era.

He was born 1862 Greensboro, North Carolina. When he was three years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. He left school at fifteen, worked five years in uncle's drugs
More about O. Henry...

Share This Book

“I wanted to paint a picture some day that people would stand before and forget that it was made of paint. I wanted it to creep into them like a bar of music and mushroom there like a soft bullet.” 45 likes
“Oh, come off your perch!" said the other man, who wore glasses. "Your premises won't come out in the wash. You wind-jammers who apply bandy-legged theories to concrete categorical syllogisms send logical conclusions skallybootin' into the infinitesimal ragbag. You can't pull my leg with an old sophism with whiskers on it.” 5 likes
More quotes…