This is a concise yet comprehensive treatment of the American short story that includes an historical overview of the topic as well as discussion of notable American authors and individual stories, from Benjamin Franklin's "The Speech of Miss Polly Baker" in 1747 to "The Joy Luck Club."
- Includes a selection of writers chosen not only for their contributions of individual stories but for bodies of work that advanced the boundaries of short fiction, including Washington Irving, Sarah Orne Jewett, Stephen Crane, Jamaica Kincaid, and Tim O'Brien
- Addresses the ways in which American oral storytelling and other narrative traditions were integral to the formation and flourishing of the short story genre
- Written in accessible and engaging prose for students at all levels by a renowned literary scholar to illuminate an important genre that has received short shrift in scholarly literature of the last century
- Includes a glossary defining the most common terms used in literary history and in critical discussions of fiction, and a bibliography of works for further study