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The Art of the Short Story

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  44 reviews
This affordably-priced collection presents masterpieces of short fiction from 52 of the greatest story writers of all time. From Sherwood Anderson to Virginia Woolf, this anthology encompasses a rich global and historical mix of the very best works of short fiction and presents them in a way students will find accessible, engaging, and relevant. The book's unique integrati ...more
Paperback, 944 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Pearson (first published 2005)
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Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Art of the Short Story

Authors: Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn

Pearson-Longman, 2006

I really liked the layout of the book. There were fifty-two (52) authors presented, with sixty-three (63) short-stories. The authors were arranged in alphabetical order. For each author there was biographical information, a short-story (some had more than one story), and an “author’s perspective.” There is a diverse group of accomplished authors from many countries.

The “author’s perspective” is an interesting way G
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm so proud of myself I finished my required reading *pat on the back* for 9th grade. I deserve a cookie.

I'll probably have to read the other short stories later, but for now I'm proud of myself. My favorite short stories in this book are The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.
Eli Mandel
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I bought this book it had a front and back cover.
Three years ago, a lifetime ago, I thought I would spend more than an hour a year writing. I looked into writing classes and saw this book on the syllabus for one online class. I didn't take the class, but I've been reading this book since then.
I discovered so many writers. Sherwood Anderson, Joseph Conrad, James Baldwin! Shirley Jackson, Jorge Luis Borges, Albert Camus, Alice Munro to name a few.
My readings inspired more readings. I subscri
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I think I read 55ish of the 61 stories in here. The editors tried as hard as white men can to provide an array of diversity in authors but I still felt stifled, perhaps because the overwhelming majority of the stories seemed to come from the 1920s - 60s. I would have ordered things differently, and not included a picture of goddamn Ernest Hemingway at the introduction.
Several selections were exactly what I'd desired: pieces that say something new and profound by authors who excel at their craft
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shorts, school
Very staid and safe selection primed for intro courses and extremely limited in anything not from the English. Still, it's a good introduction if you've been feeling guilty about not reading any short stories, especially if you know which authors to skip straight to. There are some five star stories in here despite their reputations. And lookie how lucky you are that I did all the leg work: (4 stars)

The best, without further commentary:
1. "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker
2. "Sonny's Blues" by James
Stephen Dorneman
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This massive (926 pages) collection of short stories by 52 different authors includes biographical notes plus short essays by each author on the writing process. Clearly intended as a textbook (with a literary terms glossary, examples of how student papers should be written, and examples from many different types of literary criticism following the stories), it is still a great way for a writer or reader to familiarize or reacquaint themselves with the classics of the form. I'm always happy to r ...more
David Clark
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have been reading short-story anthologies searching for a collection that might serve as a single text for an undergraduate course covering short fiction. This collection by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn is by far the best candidate. This lengthy text contained stories I have taught like Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" and Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" but also collects some unknown gems--at least, unknown to me--by authors better known for their long fiction. For instance I was unaware of William Faul ...more
Gabriela Freitas
Favorite short stories:
"Happy Endings" - Margaret Atwood
"Sonny's Blues" - James Baldwin
"The Guest" - Albert Camus
"Misery" - Anton Chekhov
"The Story of an Hour" - Kate Chopin
“The Secret Sharer” - Joseph Conrad
"A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" - Gabriel García Márquez
"The Yellow Wallpaper" - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
"The Lottery" - Shirley Jackson
"Before the Law" - Franz Kafka
"The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" - Ursula K. Le Guin
"The Death of Ivan Ilyich" - Leo Tolstoy
“A Haunted House” - Virg
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent short story collection, but what I like the most is that the selections are paired with reflections in the writers' own works about their writing and philosophy of writing. The back of the book has some excellent ancillary material that is helpful to students. Highly recommended.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s more than just a wonderful short story collection. It opens the front gate to a literary mansion and lights up a driveway paved with the “author’s perspectives.” These inspiring insights from writers distinguish it from other short story anthologies. Gioia and Gwynn deserve some credit for this approach, (if they stole it from elsewhere or if it’s a common editorial technique, then excuse my ignorance, but if it’s as original as it now seems to me, then well done Sirs) which is a masterful ...more
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy short fiction (my favorite genre), this is a must-read! This outstanding collection of classic short stories (Fall of the House of Usher, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Swimmer) features an informative biography of the author prefacing each story, and concludes each piece with some words on the art of writing by the author. Any reader is sure to meet some old favorites and discover new masterpieces (for example, Patriotism by Yukio Mishima). Don't miss ...more
Deborah Rose
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diy-mfa
In the spirit of Emerson who said "First we read, then we write", I picked up The Art of the Short Story. I'm learning so much from all who have gone before me. It can be intimidating, how can I hope to follow...? My favourite thing about this book is that each author is presented in three parts: a Biographical Sketch; an example of their work; and their perspective on why and how they write, the difficulties and pain involved... This section gives me hope. Everyone struggles, no-one finds it ea ...more
Another fantastic collection of short stories by short story masters--some that you expect to find in such a collection, others off the beaten path. The book also includes several essays by many of the authors on their writing processes. Which I like to see.
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
All the "classic" short stories writing teachers ever need to teach are compacted into one convenient anthology. What I find most convenient are the author's brief biographies and the ideas and inspirations behind the short stories.

Both authors and titles are listed on the blurb page.
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was the reader that went along with my Intermediate Fiction Writing class this semester. We would read a story a week and respond to it. I really enjoyed the stories anthologized here and was definitely introduced to some new authors whose writing I really enjoy!
Louis Lowy
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The masters of short story writing from Sherwood Anderson to Virginia Woolf. Each story comes with an article or essay written by the author. A true inspiration to my own writing.
Joseph Hirsch
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My personal taste in fiction leans toward the middlebrow. I like some great literature that's been canonized, but most of that great literature was either underrated in its own time or mostly ignored, dismissed with a haughty sniff as adventure fiction or pulp.

High literature, that scaffolding upon which people build careers as critics and theorists, is usually aggressively about nothing, or at least anti-plot in my opinion. A detective gets an assignment from a beautiful woman to find her miss
J.P. Behrens
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it
So, my rating is entirely based on the job the editors did. The fiction is masterful, a glance down the Table of Contents will affirm that.

My issues with this collection are these:

The authors are arranged alphabetically. Normally this would not be an issue, however, the book’s stated purpose is to show the art of the short story. Most of the bios reference other authors featured in the book as influential to how later authors write. It’s jarring to bounce through time. The works should have bee
Diana Mason
I read this book on the recommendation of Neil Gaiman, in his Master Class on storytelling. It was a joy to reread some classics (like Kafka's "Metamorphosis" and London's "To Build a Fire") and some personal favorites from my days as a literature teacher (like Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker), and others that have been seared in my memory since I first read them ("Cathedral" by Raymond Carver and "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin). Not to mention discovering ...more
Elizabeth Norvey
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great collection of stories. Read this for a class, and was impressed by the number of stories and the caliber of writer included in the collection.
Roger Green
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great collection for beginners.
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book will take me a long time but how can it go wrong with some of the greatest writers of all times and their insight into the craft.
Oct 01, 2019 marked it as anthology-reading
An enormous anthology with 63 stories, along with comments about writing by the authors. It covers a couple hundred years and a bunch of countries, and it's arranged alphabetically by author which gives it a random feel if you start at the beginning, which I'm doing. Recommended by Neil Gaiman in his masterclass on writing. It's taking me way outside my normal reading zone. Expanded horizons are good.

Dead Men's Path by Chinua Achebe, 1957. Very short tale of an administrator who arrogantly destr
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some of the best stories in this collection so far:

1. Sherwood Anderson "Hands"

2. James Baldwin "Sonny's Blues"

3. Jorge Luis Borges "The Garden of Forking Paths"

4. Albert Camus "The Guest"

5. Raymond Carver "Cathedral" & "A Small, Good Thing"

6. William Faulkner "Barn Burning" & "A Rose For Emily"

7. F. Scott Fitzgerald "Babylon Revisited"

8. Charlotte Perkins Gilman "The Yellow Wallpaper"

9. Nikolai Gogol "The Overcoat"

10. Ernest Hemingway "A Cool Well-Lighted Place"

11. Shirley Jackson "The Lottery
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
This is the textbook that accompanies an MIT online course on writing short stories. It's very good. There is a wide variety of masters of the short story from whom we can all learn or just read to enjoy a good story. What I'm saying it works well with the course or just alone. Sad that it's out of print and outdated. Some of the authors are no longer living. However, their words, as we like to say, live on.

A bit weighty and unwieldy so it's good to be situation where you can hold this and read
Oct 12, 2011 marked it as to-read
I don't know if I want to get this specific book or just keep it in mind as a list of important short stories to get to. Many of these are from such important authors that I might prefer an anthology from each of them. (And I've read a ton of them already.)

Here's the table of contents.

And don't forget to read James Baldwin.
Kali VanBaale
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really fantastic collection of classic short stories, ranging in authors from Joyce Carol Oates to Anton Chekhov. Also includes a bio page for each author and a corresponding short "Author's Perspective" about some aspect of craft. A MUST read for students of the short story. I use it when teaching undergraduate short story classes.
Aaron Dietz
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Oh, you know--some really great stories and some really boring stories. Some skippable material. Some interesting pairings of stories with essays from authors explaining their work. Some non-interesting essays/interviews. But all said, I'm glad I hit quite a few of these stories because you'd think I would have long ago. Classic stuff.
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I haven't actually read all of the stories in this book yet and don't intend on reading it the same way I would do with any novel or book of the sort, but I really like the format of this book and many of the stories in this compilation seem amazing. I'm really glad my English teacher made us buy this book.
Megan Peet
As of November 23rd, 2013, I have read 19 out of 63 of these stories. My class that I was reading this for is ending, so I'm going to go ahead and put this on my "Read" shelf, but since I think I'll go back and read some more of the stories in here, I'll also put it on "Didn't finish" until I've read all of them.
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Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet. Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia is a native Californian of Italian and Mexican descent. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. (Gioia is pronounced JOY-uh.)

Gioia has published four full-length collections of poetry, as wel

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