Classic Short Stories
April 26, 2007 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Classic Short Stories — "Fewer and fewer people these days read short stories. This is unfortunate—so few will ever experience the joy that reading such fine work can give. The goal of this site is to give a nice cross section of short stories in the hope that these short stories will excite these people into rediscovering this excellent source of entertainment." Authors represented include Saki, Edith Wharton, O. Henry, Guy de Maupassant, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, Gabriel García Marquez, H. G. Wells, Roald Dahl, Anton Chekhov, Charles Dickens, William Carlos Williams and Katherine Mansfield.
posted by Kattullus (26 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Bunch of old boring crap, to me. Try new sudden fiction that speaks to people.

And tell Shirly Jackson we all already won the lottery.
posted by four panels at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2007

This is awesome. I've been needing new stuff to read when I eat lunch at my desk. Unfortunately, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" isn't there.
posted by neuron at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2007

Very short stories: István Örkény.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:24 PM on April 26, 2007 [3 favorites]

More Hungarian short stories..
posted by Wolfdog at 5:29 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Bunch of old boring crap, to me.

It's probably all public domain stuff. I kind of expected to see some Borges and Calvino in there, but no.
posted by LionIndex at 5:30 PM on April 26, 2007

Nice resource, but I didn't see one of my favorites -- Tolstoy's "How Much Land Does a Man Need" (wiki link to plot spoiler, can't find the story itself).

And no Don Barthelme either, but I can understand why he isn't to everyone's tastes.
posted by bardic at 5:30 PM on April 26, 2007

Yeah, because Chekhov, Dickens, Dahl and Twain simply can't speak to the "modern" person the way, say, that irrelevant poshlust you link to does. Do us all a favor and stop speaking for "the people." You may not know this, but the truth within great literature has a way of enduring - it's why we still read Dante seven centuries on. And somehow I felt as a 17 year old from Texas in 2002 that Marcel Proust spoke to me more deeply than any "modern" novelist trying to pander to my "modern" inclincations. "Sudden" fiction merely evaporates like a pool of piss in the sun.

posted by bukharin at 5:34 PM on April 26, 2007 [7 favorites]

(comment was in response to mr. four panels)
posted by bukharin at 5:35 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I love short stories. Sign me up for them, both new and old.

Indeed, I think science fiction, which I don't read much any longer, is at its absolute best in short-story form.
posted by maxwelton at 5:58 PM on April 26, 2007

Oscar Wilde: The Fisherman and his Soul.
Bruno Schulz: Father's Last Escape.
posted by phooky at 6:03 PM on April 26, 2007

I was just thinking the same thing, bardic. No Barthelme, no Flannery O'Connor.
posted by emelenjr at 6:06 PM on April 26, 2007

My favorite short story didn't make the cut either: Winter Dreams, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
posted by sappidus at 6:07 PM on April 26, 2007

Boring? I guess some of it may be. I personally think Dahl's stories are excellent. For those of you who are only familiar with his children's fiction, you're definitely missing out. He wrote excellent short stories. He really knew when to end a story.

Of course, as a person Dahl was only so-so.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:08 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wolfdog: those Hungarian stories are fantastic. Thanks!
posted by phooky at 6:20 PM on April 26, 2007

Bunch of old boring crap, to me. Try new sudden fiction that speaks to people.

It's old stuff, but a lot of it's the kind of old stuff that rewards rereadings. And as far as the alternatives you've linked, while I love Tin House, there is nothing on this earth that's boring like Glimmer Train is boring.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:27 PM on April 26, 2007

Funny that you would pick that one bardic. It is a bit on the nose don't you think? Compared to The Kreutzer Sonatas (Polikey!) or Master and Man.
posted by vronsky at 7:31 PM on April 26, 2007

Donald Barthelme: The School and King of Jazz. Read, enjoy.
posted by storybored at 7:50 PM on April 26, 2007

Seconding deathalicious w/r/t Dahl's adult short stories. Funny, incisive, sharply focused, dark.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on April 26, 2007

My favourite (cheap) source for short stories are those massive collections of poems, plays and fiction they use (I guess) in literature courses. I buy them cheap at book sales and throw a couple into the car.

Read a great short story, squeegee your mind's windshield.
posted by storybored at 8:00 PM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Jessamyn has a bunch of Donald Barthelme stories on her site.

Thanks for that Bruno Schulz link, phooky. Great story.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:00 PM on April 26, 2007

I fell in love with Saki and O. Henry in high school, but these days most of my attempts at continuous reading end up with me listening to Selected Shorts instead.

Thanks for the link, though. It gives me hope for the future... :)

Oh, and WNYC's The Next Big Thing did a nice dramatic reading of Barthelme's "The School", which I loved.
posted by metabrilliant at 8:35 PM on April 26, 2007

Oh yeah, thanks Kattullus! Great resource.
posted by sluglicker at 6:06 AM on April 27, 2007

"Wow, wotta story!"
"Is it good?"
"No, but it's so sudden! And speaks to me!"

Not slamming the scribes of today, but if I had to choose between well-crafted fiction that has endured or flashy exercises in Creative Writing Wankery (Now with 87% more "cleverness"), I'll go with the former. Thanks, Katallus!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:19 AM on April 27, 2007

Robert Louis Stevenson's short stories are good. In 1890 Arthur Conan Doyle characterized "The Pavilion on the Links" as "the high-water mark of Stevenson's genius" and "the first short-story in the world". Barry Menikoff (1987) considers The New Arabian Nights to be the starting point in the history of the English short story.
posted by stbalbach at 7:24 PM on April 27, 2007

"The Pavilion on the Links", the "first short-story in the [English] world" according to Arthur Conan Doyle.
posted by stbalbach at 7:26 PM on April 27, 2007

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