The Best American Short Stories

The Best American Short Stories yearly anthology is a part of The Best American Series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Since 1915, the BASS anthology has striven to contain the best short stories by some of the best-known writers in contemporary American literature.

Edward O'Brien

The series began in 1915, when Edward O'Brien edited his selection of the previous year's stories. This first edition was serialized in a magazine; however, it caught the attention of the publishing company Small, Maynard & Company, which published subsequent editions until 1926, when the title was transferred to Dodd, Mead and Company.

The time appeared to be a propitious one for such a collection. The most popular magazines of the day featured short fiction prominently and frequently; the best authors were well-known and well-paid. More importantly, there was a nascent movement toward higher standards and greater experimentation among certain American writers. O'Brien capitalized on this moment. He was deeply and vocally skeptical of the value of commercial short fiction, which tended to the formulaic and sentimental; he insisted, in introduction after introduction, on the need for a consciously literary development of the short story. He used his selections to reinforce this call. Over the years of his editorship, he drew attention to two generations of American authors, from Sherwood Anderson and Edna Ferber to Richard Wright and Irwin Shaw. Perhaps the most significant instance of O'Brien's instincts involves Ernest Hemingway; O'Brien published that author's "My Old Man" when it had not even been published yet, and was, moreover, instrumental in finding an American publisher for In Our Time. O'Brien was known to work indefatigably: he claimed to read around 8,000 stories a year, and his editions contained lengthy tabulations of stories and magazines, ranked on a scale of three stars (representing O'Brien's notion of their "literary permanence.")

Though the series attained a degree of fame and popularity, it was never universally accepted. Fans of the period's popular fiction often found his selections precious or willfully obscure. On the other hand, many critics who accepted "literary" fiction objected to O'Brien's occasionally strident and pedantic tone. After his death, for instance, The New Yorker compared him to the recently deceased editor of the Social Register, suggesting that they shared a form of snobbery.

Martha Foley

O'Brien died of a heart attack in London in 1941. He was replaced as editor of the series by Martha Foley, founder and former editor of Story magazine. O'Brien, who had once called Story one of the most important events in literary history since the publication of Lyrical Ballads, presumably would have approved the choice. Foley edited the publication, at first alone and then with the assistance of her son, David Burnett, until 1977. These years witnessed both the ascendancy and eclipse of the type of short story favored by O'Brien: writers as diverse as John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tillie Olsen offered sharply observed, generally realistic stories that eschewed trite conventions. At the same time, Foley evinced some degree of awareness of the new currents in fiction. Donald Barthelme, for instance, was chosen for The School in 1976. Foley also attended to the rise of so-called minority literature, dedicating the 1975 volume to Leslie Marmon Silko, although it has been argued that the series was less perceptive in this area than it might have been.

Since 1978

After Foley's death, the publisher—by that time, Houghton Mifflin—elected to take the series in a new direction. Under the guidance of a series editor (Shannon Ravenel 1978-1990, Katrina Kenison 1991-2006, Heidi Pitlor 2007- ), a different writer of reputation would select the contents and introduce the volume each year. The editor would choose the best twenty stories from 120 stories recommended by the series editor. This format has been followed since, although the guest editor has occasionally gone beyond what the series editor recommended (e.g., John Gardner in 1982).

In 2002, Houghton-Mifflin made the series part of its broader Best American series.

Guest editors of the BASS anthology from 1978 to 1989:

Guest editors of the BASS anthology from 1990 to 1999:

Guest editors of the BASS anthology from 2000 to 2009:

Guest editors of the BASS anthology from 2010 to 2019:

The Best American Short Stories of the Century; 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories

In 2000, John Updike selected twenty-two unabridged stories from the first eighty-four annual volumes of The Best American Short Stories, and the result is The Best American Short Stories of the Century. The expanded CD audio edition includes a new story from The Best American Short Stories 1999 to round out the century. In 2015, Lorrie Moore served as the guest editor for a centennial anthology from the series, 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories.

See also

References

  • Carlos Baker (1969). Ernest Hemingway: A Life. New York: Scribner's.
  • Jacquelyn Spangler (1997). Edward J. O'Brien: Best Short Stories and the Production of an American Genre. Unpublished dissertation, 1997.
  • William Wilson (1981). "Review of 'The Story of Story'". American Literature 53 (1981): 151-2.
  • Aaron Sommers (2010). "Short Stories: An Experiment in Misery."

External links

Official

Sources

Other

  • Years of BASS, a year spent reading back issues of BASS 1978-2009. Includes spreadsheet of all stories and authors. Additional information including original publications where the stories first appeared.
Annie Proulx

Edna Ann Proulx (; born August 22, 1935) is an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. She has written most frequently as Annie Proulx but has also used the names E. Annie Proulx and E.A. Proulx.She won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her first novel, Postcards. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was adapted as a 2001 film of the same name. Her short story "Brokeback Mountain" was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005.

Confrontation (journal)

Confrontation is an American literary magazine founded in 1968 and based at Long Island University in Brookville, New York. It publishes fiction, essays and poetry twice each year. The journal, edited from its inception to 2010 by LIU Post English professor and poet Martin Tucker, helped launch the careers of Cynthia Ozick, Paul Theroux and Walter Abish.

Work that has appeared in Confrontation has been short-listed for the Pushcart Prize and The Best American Short Stories.

Denver Quarterly

The Denver Quarterly (known as The University of Denver Quarterly until 1970) is a well-regarded, avant-garde literary journal based at the University of Denver. Founded in 1966 by novelist John Edward Williams.

Epoch (American magazine)

Epoch is a triannual American literary magazine founded in 1947 and published by Cornell University. It has published well-known authors and award-winning work including stories reprinted in The Best American Short Stories series and poems later included in The Best American Poetry series. It publishes fiction, poetry, essays, graphic art, and sometimes cartoons and screenplays, but no literary criticism or book reviews.Epoch is staffed by faculty and graduate students from the English Department creative writing program, and edited by Michael Koch. Epoch appears in September, January, and May, with issues generally running 128 to 160 pages.

Glimmer Train

Glimmer Train is an American short story literary journal. It is published quarterly, accepting works primarily from emerging writers. Stories published in Glimmer Train have been listed in The Best American Short Stories, as well as appearing in recent editions of the Pushcart Prize, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and anthologies for New Stories from the Midwest, New Stories from the South, and Best American Short Stories. The journal holds 12 short story fiction contests a year, paying out over $50,000 on an annual basis.

Just After Sunset

Just After Sunset is the fifth collection of short stories by Stephen King. It was released in hardcover by Scribner on November 11, 2008, and features a holographic dust jacket. On February 6, 2008, the author's official website revealed the title of the collection to be Just Past Sunset. About a month later, the title was subtly changed to Just After Sunset. Previous titles mentioned in the media by Stephen King himself were Pocket Rockets and Unnatural Acts of Human Intercourse.On February 19, 2008, the author's official site revealed twelve stories that would comprise the collection, mentioning the possibility that one additional "bonus story" could be included, and on April 16 "The Cat from Hell" (a much anthologized but heretofore uncollected short story originally published in 1977) was added to the contents list.

King planned to begin writing a new novel, but after he was asked to edit The Best American Short Stories 2007, he was inspired to write short stories instead.Upon King's request, a limited edition was released, along with the regular version, featuring a DVD collection of the 25 episodes of the online animated series based on N., one of the stories collected in this volume.

O. Henry Award

The O. Henry Award is an annual American award given to short stories of exceptional merit. The award is named after the American short-story writer O. Henry.

The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories is an annual collection of the year's twenty best stories published in U.S. and Canadian magazines, written in English.

The award itself is called The O. Henry Award, not the O. Henry Prize, though until recently there were first, second and third prize winners; the collection is called The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and the original collection was called Prize Stories 1919: The O. Henry Memorial Awards

Subtropics (journal)

Subtropics is an American literary journal based at the University of Florida in Gainesville.Works originally published in Subtropics have been subsequently selected for inclusion in the Best American Poetry, The Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, New Stories from the Midwest, New Stories from the South, the O. Henry Prize anthology, and the Pushcart Prize anthology.

Notable writers who have contributed to this journal include Seth Abramson, Steve Almond, Chris Bachelder, John Barth, Harold Bloom, Peter Cameron, Anne Carson, Billy Collins, Martha Collins, Mark Doty, Lauren Groff, Allan Gurganus, Amy Hempel, Bob Hicok, Roy Kesey, J. M. G. Le Clézio, Les Murray, Edna O'Brien, Lucia Perillo, D. A. Powell, Padgett Powell, A. E. Stallings, Olga Slavnikova, Ben Sonnenberg, Peter Stamm, Terese Svoboda, and Paul Theroux.

The Best American Short Stories 1992

The Best American Short Stories 1992 is a volume in The Best American Short Stories series edited by Robert Stone.

The Best American Short Stories 1999

The Best American Short Stories 1999, a volume in The Best American Short Stories series, was edited by Katrina Kennison and by guest editor Amy Tan.

The Best American Short Stories 2003

The Best American Short Stories 2003, a volume in The Best American Short Stories series, was edited by Katrina Kennison and by guest editor Walter Mosley.

The Best American Short Stories 2006

The Best American Short Stories 2006, a volume in The Best American Short Stories series, was edited by Katrina Kenison and by guest editor Ann Patchett. This edition is notable in that it was the last edition edited by Katrina Kenison, who was succeeded by Heidi Pitlor the following year. Also, Patchett chose to present the stories in reverse-alphabetical order.

The Best American Short Stories 2007

The Best American Short Stories 2007, a volume in The Best American Short Stories series, was edited by Heidi Pitlor and by guest editor Stephen King.

The Best American Short Stories 2008

The Best American Short Stories 2008, a volume in The Best American Short Stories series, was edited by Heidi Pitlor and by guest editor Salman Rushdie.

The Best American Short Stories 2009

The Best American Short Stories 2009, a volume in The Best American Short Stories series, was edited by Heidi Pitlor and by guest editor Alice Sebold.

The Best American Short Stories 2011

The Best American Short Stories 2011, a volume in the Best American Short Stories series, was edited by Heidi Pitlor and by guest editor Geraldine Brooks.

The Georgia Review

The Georgia Review is a literary journal based in Athens, Georgia. Founded at University of Georgia in 1947, the journal features poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, and visual art. The journal has won National Magazine Awards for Fiction in 1986 and for Essays in 2007 and has been a NMA nominee nineteen times. Works that appear in the Georgia Review are frequently reprinted in the Best American Short Stories and Best American Poetry and have won the Pushcart and O. Henry Prizes.

The Missouri Review

The Missouri Review is a literary magazine founded in 1978 by the University of Missouri. It publishes fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction quarterly. With its open submission policy, The Missouri Review receives 12,000 manuscripts each year and is known for printing previously unpublished and emerging authors.

Each year The Missouri Review hosts the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize contest with $15,000 in prize money for entries in fiction, essays, and poetry. The winners receive prize money, publication, and an invitation to a public awards reception.

The Missouri Review is available in print, digital, and audio formats.

West Branch (journal)

West Branch is an American literary magazine based at Bucknell University and published by the Stadler Center for Poetry. It was established in 1977 and publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary criticism. The editor-in-chief is G.C. Waldrep, also an editor of the Kenyon Review. In addition to the print magazine, West Branch also publishes West Branch Wired, an online supplement featuring fiction, poetry, and interviews.

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