Twentieth-Century American Fiction in Circulation
Short Stories Written for Magazines and Republished in Linked Story Collections
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).
Table of Contents
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
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"
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.