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The Story and Its Writer Compact: An Introduction to Short Fiction


The Story and Its Writer Compact: An Introduction to Short Fiction Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ann Charters has an acute sense of which stories work most effectively in the classroom, and she knows that writers, not editors, have the most interesting and useful things to say about the making and the meaning of fiction. Her anthology, The Story and Its Writer, is the most comprehensive, diverse — and the best-selling — introduction to fiction available, notable for its student appeal as well as its quality and range. To complement the stories, Charters includes her lasting innovation: an array of the

writers' own commentaries on the craft and traditions of fiction. For in-depth, illustrated studies of particular writers, her “Casebooks” provide unparalleled opportunities for discussion and writing.

For a shorter, more affordable option, the compact edition offers all the editorial features of the full edition with about half the stories and commentaries.


About the Author

ANN CHARTERS (Ph.D., Columbia University) is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut and has taught courses in the short story for over thirty years. A preeminent authority on the Beat writers, Charters has written a critically acclaimed biography of Jack Kerouac; compiled Beats & Company, a collection of her own photographs of Beat writers; and edited the best-selling Portable Beat Reader. Her published books include The Kerouac Reader, Selected Letters of Jack Kerouac, 1957-1969, Beat Down to Your Soul, and The Portable Sixties Reader. Her other textbooks with Bedford/St. Martin's include The American Short Story and Its Writer, and Literature and Its Writers, co-edited with Samuel Charters.

Table of Contents


Chinua Achebe, Civil Peace

Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight

  in Heaven

Isabel Allende, An Act of Vengeance

Sherwood Anderson, Hands

Margaret Atwood, Happy Endings

James Baldwin, Sonnys Blues

Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson

Russell Banks, Black Man and White Woman in

  Dark Green Rowboat

*Ann Beattie, Snow

*Alison Bechdel, From Fun Home: Old Father,

  Old Artificer [graphic story]

*Aimee Bender, The Rememberer 

Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins

*Ray Bradbury, August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains

Raymond Carver, Cathedral

*Raymond Carver, A Small, Good Thing

Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk

   About Love

Willa Cather, Pauls Case

*Lan Samantha Chang, Water Names

John Cheever, The Swimmer

Anton Chekhov, The Darling 

Kate Chopin, Désirées Baby

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour

*Sandra Cisneros, Barbie-Q

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Stephen Crane, The Open Boat

Junot Díaz, How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl,

  Whitegirl, or Halfie

Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal

Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible

William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily

William Faulkner, That Evening Sun

Gabriel García Márquez, A Very Old Man with

  Enormous Wings

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper

*Nadine Gordimer, Homage

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown

Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants

*Amy Hempel, Church Cancels Cow

*A. M. Homes, Things You Should Know

Zora Neale Hurston, Sweat

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery

Gish Jen, Whos Irish?

Sarah Orne Jewett, A White Heron

*Edward P. Jones, Bad Neighbors 

James Joyce, Araby

James Joyce, The Dead 

Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

Jamaica Kincaid, Girl

*Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies

D. H. Lawrence, The Rocking-Horse Winner

*Katherine Mansfield, Miss Brill

Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh

Guy de Maupassant, The Necklace

Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener

*Daniyal Mueenuddin, Nawabdin Electrician

Bharati Mukherjee, The Management of Grief 

*Alice Munro, Dance of the Happy Shades

Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Tim OBrien, The Things They Carried

Flannery OConnor, Everything That Rises Must Converge

Flannery O'Connor, Good Country People 

Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Tillie Olsen, I Stand Here Ironing

*Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl

*ZZ Packer, Brownies

Grace Paley, A Conversation with My Father

Edgar Allan Poe, The Cask of Amontillado 

Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart

*Katherine Anne Porter, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

*Annie Proulx, Job History

*Joe Sacco, From Palestine: Refugeeland [graphic story]

*Marjane Satrapi, From Persepolis: The Veil [graphic story]

Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman

*Helen Simpson, Homework

*Art Spiegelman, Prisoner on the Hell Planet:

  A Case History [graphic story]

Amy Tan, Two Kinds

Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych                                                                                      

John Updike, A & P

*Helena Maria Viramontes, The Moths

*Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Harrison Bergeron

Alice Walker, Everyday Use

*David Foster Wallace, Good People

Eudora Welty, A Worn Path

Tobias Wolff, Say Yes

Richard Wright, The Man Who Was Almost a Man


Chinua Achebe, An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrads

  “Heart of Darkness”

Sherman Alexie, Superman and Me

Sherwood Anderson, Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story

Margaret Atwood, Reading Blind

James Baldwin, Autobiographical Notes

*Russell Banks, Writing “Poes”

*Jorge Luis Borges, Borges and I

Ann Charters, Translating Kafka

John Cheever, Why I Write Short Stories

Anton Chekhov, Technique in Writing the Short Story

Kate Chopin, How I Stumbled upon Maupassant

Stephen Crane, The Sinking of the Commodore

R. Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz, A Hunger Artist [graphic story]

Ralph Ellison, The Influence of Folklore on “Battle Royal”

William Faulkner, The Meaning of “A Rose for Emily”

Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, A Feminist Reading of

  Gilmans “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Why I Wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Undergoing the Cure for Nervous Prostration

Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me

Shirley Jackson, The Morning of June 28, 1948, and “The Lottery”

Jamaica Kincaid, On “Girl”

*Anne Lamott, Finding Your Voice

Bobbie Ann Mason, On Tim OBriens “The Things They Carried”

Guy de Maupassant, The Writers Goal

Herman Melville, Blackness in Hawthornes “Young Goodman Brown”

Alice Munro, How I Write Short Stories

Tim OBrien, Alpha Company

Joyce Carol Oates, From “Stories that Define Me:

  The Making of a Writer”

Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk: Short Story into Film

Grace Paley, A Conversation with Ann Charters

Edgar Allan Poe, The Importance of the Single Effect in a Prose Tale

Leslie Marmon Silko, Language and Literature from a Pueblo

  Indian Perspective

Amy Tan, In the Canon, For All the Wrong Reasons

Leo Tolstoy, Chekhovs Intent in “The Darling”

Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston: A Cautionary Tale and a

  Partisan View

*David Foster Wallace, Some Remarks on Kafkas Funniness

  from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed

Eudora Welty, Is Phoenix Jacksons Grandson Really Dead?

Richard Wright, Reading Fiction


Raymond Carver, On Writing

Raymond Carver, Creative Writing 101

*Raymond Carver, The Bath

Tom Jenks, The Origin of “Cathedral”

Arthur M. Saltzman, A Reading of “What We Talk About

  When We Talk About Love”

A.O. Scott, Looking for Raymond Carver


*Jhumpa Lahiri, My Two Lives

*Sean Flynn, Jhumpa Lahiri

*Simon Lewis, Jhumpa Lahiris Interpreter of Maladies


Flannery OConnor, From Letters 1954-1955

Flannery OConnor, Writing Short Stories

Flannery OConnor, A Reasonable Use of the Unreasonable

Wayne C. Booth, A Rhetorical Reading of OConnors

  “Everything That Rises Must Converge”

Dorothy Tuck McFarland, On “Good Country People”


*Alison Bechdel, What Little Old Ladies Feel

*Charles Hatfield, From Alternative Comics: Toward the Habit of Questioning

*Michael Kupperman, Are Comics Serious Literature? [graphic story]

Scott McCloud, From Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art [graphic story]

*Sydney Landon Plum, Reading “The Veil” by Marjane Satrapi

*Joe Sacco, Some Reflections on Palestine

*Edward Said, Homage to Joe Sacco


1. Reading Short Stories [includes Grace Paley, “Samuel”]

2. The Elements of Fiction

3. A Brief History of the Short Story

4. Writing About Short Stories

5. Literary Theory and Critical Perspectives

6. Glossary of Literary Terms

7. Chronological Listing of Authors and Stories

* new to this edition

Product Details

Charters, Ann
Bedford Books
Edition Description:
Eighth Edition
Publication Date:
9.25 x 6.00 in

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