The short story is one of the most difficult types of prose to write and one of the most pleasurable to read. From Boccaccio's Decameron to The Collected Stories of Reynolds Price, Charles May gives us an understanding of the history and structure of this demanding form of fiction. Beginning with a general history of the genre, he moves on to focus on the nineteenth-century when the modern short story began to come into focus. From there he moves on to later nineteenth-century realism and early twentieth-century formalism and finally to the modern renaissance of the form that shows no signs of abating. A chronology of significant events, works and figures from the genre's history, notes and references and an extensive bibliographic essay with recommended reading round out the volume.
"Good critical guides to the short story are few and far between, and this one is excellent." -- Booklist
"Arguing that short fiction secularizes mythic perception, May provides both an account of generic change and incisive readings of canonical authors and specific stories. One of the book's greatest merits is its concluding bibliographic essay, which will be indispensable to students new to the short story as well as scholars familiar with the field.
--Michael Trussler." -- Ihe Private Voice