1st Edition

Twentieth-Century American Fiction in Circulation Short Stories Written for Magazines and Republished in Linked Story Collections

By Matthew Vechinski Copyright 2020
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    Twentieth-Century American Fiction in Circulation is a study of the twentieth-century linked story collection in the United States. It emphasizes how the fictional form grew out of an established publishing model—individual stories printed in magazines, revised and expanded into single-author volumes that resemble novels—which creates multiple contexts for the reception of this literature. By acknowledging the prior appearance of stories in periodicals, the book examines textual variants and the role of editorial emendation, drawing on archival records (drafts and correspondence) whenever possible. It also considers how the pages of magazines create a context for the reception of short stories that differs significantly from that of the single-author book.

    The chapters explore how short stories, appearing separately then linked together, excel at representing the discontinuity of modern American life; convey the multifaceted identity of a character across episodes; mimic the qualities of oral storytelling; and illustrate struggles of belonging within and across communities. The book explains the appearance and prevalence of these narrative strategies at particular cultural moments in the evolution of the American magazine, examining a range of periodicals such as The Masses, Saturday Evening Post, Partisan Review, Esquire, and Ladies’ Home Journal. The primary linked story collections studied are Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919), William Faulkner’s The Unvanquished (1938), Mary McCarthy’s The Company She Keeps (1942), John Barth’s Lost in the Funhouse (1968), and Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1988).


    List of Abbreviations

    Note on the Text

    1. Linked Story Collections: Products of Republication


    The Textual Histories of Twice-Finished Tales

    In Front of Actual Audiences

    The Trouble with Genre

    Calling a Collection a Collection

    Chapter Summaries

    2. Modernity and Spiritual Isolation in Winesburg, Ohio: Sherwood Anderson, Young America, and Popular Socialism

    Groping: Between Craft and Circumstance

    Socialist Parables for The Masses

    "Striking Out" in The Seven Arts

    3. "Can all this be the same person?": Memoir and the Fragmented Self in Mary McCarthy’s The Company She Keeps

    "A Good Eye for Social Types"

    Libelous Relationality

    4. Stories on Tape: John Barth Massaging the Medium in Lost in the Funhouse

    From Exhaustion to Hybrid Energy: The Variable of Voice in Storytelling

    Ambrose as "Wandering Hero": The "Life-Pattern" of Lost in the Funhouse

    5. Sameness-in-Difference and Audience Share: Individuals and Communities in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club

    Authenticity and Idealization in Women’s Magazines

    Escape Routes in "The Rules of the Game"

    Vicarious Cultural Experiences in "The Joy Luck Club"

    Chinese Fairy Tales and Faked Voices

    Epilogue: Collections 2.0: The Imaginary Worlds of Linked Stories and the Internet Worlds of Periodicals


    Matthew James Vechinski is an associate professor in the Department of Focused Inquiry at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his PhD in English and Textual Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle. His scholarship combining genetic criticism, reception study, and periodical studies has appeared in the journals Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction; Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History; and Textual Practice.