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Short Story Masterpieces

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  181 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
With works by Henry James, Stephen Crane, John Cheever, James Joyce and many others, this outstanding collection of 35 American and British short pieces of fiction from the first half of the 20th century is one of the bestselling collections of our time.
Mass Market Paperback, 528 pages
Published March 15th 1954 by Dell (first published 1954)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dean
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So, folks, I'm trough !!
Excellent collection of short stories.
One of my favourites was "The Flight" by Steinbeck.
You have here a variety of topics intertwined in the human experience.
I liked how the stories unfolded and the fact that it compels you to linger and think about.
I loved all the stories, and they for sure have changed me in different ways,
I won't give nobody some spoiler, who want to read this collection.
Maybe I should say that I had the impression during my reading experience, these
...more
Heather
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
As this was published in 1954, I knew going into it that it would pretty much be dominated by white men. In the end I counted 8 out of 36 stories by women, and I'm fairly certain every author included was white (some of the authors I was unfamiliar with, but I would highly doubt I'm wrong in this). Now. Most of the stories included here were written fairly early in the last century, and so none of this was a surprise. It doesn't lessen any of the stories, but I do feel that the subject matter an ...more
Kurt
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Best collection of short stories I've read to date. Authors include Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner with stories set in the early 1900s.
Charles
Some good stuff here, and a lot of other stuff that seemed to spend time contemplating navel lint. The best story by far is "The Open Window" by Saki. I found "An Outpost of Progress" by Joseph Conrad and "The Eighty Yard Run" by Irwin Shaw to be very strong. "Flight" by John Steinbeck was beautifully written and started out very strong but collapsed toward the end. Stephen Crane's "The Bride came to Yellow Sky" was good. A few tales I didn't care for, "A Spinster's Tale" by Peter Taylor, and "W ...more
David Ivester
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1975 I left home for the first time with a new mechanical engineering degree and moved to a small town in Alabama to work at a nuclear plant that was then under construction. Moving from the big city to a small southern town was a huge culture shock, and I was very lonely. There was a small bookstore on the town square where I went one day and bought this book. The first story I read was Carson McCullers' "The Sojourner." I was already depressed and lonely, and this story shattered me. I put ...more
Laurie
~ Open Winter by H.L. Davis 2*
~ The Tree of Knowledge by Henry James 2*
~ Innocence by Sean O'Faolain 3*
~ Flowering Judas by Katherine Anne Porter 2*
~ The Outstation by W. Somerset Maugham 3*
~ Torch Song by John Cheever 4*
~ Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald 4*
~ Witch's Money by John Collier 4*
~ A Country Love Story by Jean Stafford 3*
~ A Bottle of Milk for Mother by Nelson Algren 2*
~ You Could Look It Up by James Thurber 2*
~ The Horse Dealer's Daughter by D.H. Lawrence 4*
~ Liberty Hall by Ring
...more
Trina
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
Only a few of these short stories have stood the test of time - largely because of the quality of the writing rather than the subject. My favorites include "The Horse Dealer's Daughter" by D.H. Lawrence, a surprising love story, and "Flight" by John Steinbeck, a coming-of-age story. Nobody writes more vividly of repressed desire than Lawrence, and nobody does man against land better than Steinbeck. In this case it's a kid fleeing into the high California chaparral, his face set as relentlessly a ...more
Derek Davis
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent stuff from the first half of the 20th century. Since the stories are presented alphabetically by author, you get a wonderful run of Faulkner ("Barb Burning"), Fitzgerald ("Winter Dreams"), Hemingway ("Soldier's Home") and James Joyce ("The Boarding House"), though rudely interrupted by Henry James. Toward the end of the alphabet, it drags a bit. Except that J.D. Salinger's "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" reminded me with a gut punch how stunningly he changed the direction of short story ...more
Chris Gager
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started last night after work and have read the first four so far. All of them have at their center men with weak characters which, together with life circumstances, will cause them trouble. Not necessarily a "common theme". Just coincidence... I've never heard of a number of the represented writers: John Collier, A.E. Coppard, H.L. Davis, Elizabeth Parsons, J.F. Powers, Jean Stafford, Elizabeth Taylor(?), Peter Taylor... not ringing any bells. The majority of the writers here are pretty famous ...more
Chris Allen
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a pretty cool collection of stories from some really big name authors. I got it at the friends of the library sale and it was well worth it.
Riley
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I first read this collection of stories in an English class in college, and just reread it more than a decade later. Some of the selections are real classics: John Cheever's 'Torch Song,' Hemingway's 'Soldier's Home,' Frank O'Connor's, 'My Oedipus Complex,' and my favorite, 'Flowering Judas,' by Katherine Anne Porter.

It is interesting how certain passages will stay will you over the years.

One for me was this description of a Mexican revolutionary by Porter: "He is rich, not in money, he tells
...more
Marcy
May 30, 2016 is currently reading it
been cleaning out the bookshelves. make space for new words. they just put up a little free library box on my street. right on my street! i shall write a song about it and avoid the urge to carve 'joy!' in a tree. https://littlefreelibrary.org/

many books went to the work office. many went to people i know. some will be popped into that box in the hopes i can leave more than i take.

one of my books about fire was just in a leaky, floody storage unit. [chicago really needs to do something about the
...more
Jenifer
Dec 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Overall, pretty unimpressive. Thirty-six short stories arranged (how imaginative!) alphabetically by author's last name. The time span for these stories is from 1921 ("The Egg" by Sherwood Anderson) to 1953 ("Torch Song" by John Cheever; "Soldier's Home" by Ernest Hemingway; and "A Country Romance" by Jean Stafford). Eight were written by women, and with very few exceptions they seemed very interchangeable. Almost like they were TRYING to fit some writer's mold. I recently read Truman Capote's s ...more
Waven
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, fiction
This collection of short fiction contains stories written by some of the most famous authors of the 20th century. Dating between roughly 1920 and 1955, the stories span genres and topics, from humor and romance to social division and the fallout of war. Authors include William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, J. D. Salinger, and John Steinbeck, among many notable others. I found this quite a good collection though I wish more female au ...more
Cindy Lofgren
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Some interesting choices from 35 amazing authors. I read the ones that interested me most (or that I probably read in school, but forgot!). My favorite being "The Open Window". Gotta love Saki. "The Egg, as well as "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" made me laugh out loud. "The Third Prize" by A. E. Coppard I liked the least. Had no real meaning nor symbolism, in my opinion, and quite an odd choice to include in a book of "masterpieces". Overall, a good book to peruse.
Mars
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
A collection of thirty five classics, exactly two of which I really liked, a handful which weren't bad, a large bunch of stuff which left me utterly indifferent, and a few which I couldn't get the first page of.

The first of those I've liked is John Collier's "Witch's Money", which shows you the ways of thinking of people other than you.

The second is Saki's (alias of H. H. Munro) "The Open Window", which is a horror tale of untold proportions, and delightfully executed.
Adelaide
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I don't often delve into the short story genre, since I tend to enjoy very extensive characterization á la Tolstoy. This book came to me through my Great Aunt Peg and has been sitting on my shelf for some time. It turned out to be perfect reading when I was back in her former home in Illinois on a trip this summer. The Horse Dealer's Daughter by D.H. Lawrence was a highlight for me, but I was a bit sad when it ended. I kept thinking how nice a novel it would have made!
Robert
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Much fun to read. Many wonderful, interesting and amusing tales written mostly in the first half of the last century. Fascinating snippets of perspectives of society in general and at that time in particular.
J.C.
There were just to many authors that I didn't care about to really get into this collection. The Cheever story was pretty good.
Meg
Apr 22, 2009 added it
stories
Amber
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Good collection, maybe a little old fashioned for younger readers.
Becky
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Loved these stories. One of my favorites and most hilarious was The Open Window by "Saki" (H.H. Munro).
John Bohnert
Aug 13, 2016 rated it liked it
As a result of reading this book, I discovered three authors I really like reading --- W. Somerset Maugham, Saki (H.H. Munro), and Frank O'Connor.
Jo
Jun 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Nice variety of short stories, none too modern and disillusioning and a few rather charming.
Alexis DeSousa
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Robert Penn Warren was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic, and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry. He won the Pulitzer in 1947 for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and won his subsequent Pulitzer Prizes for poetry in 1957 and then ...more
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