Short Story Classics: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, By Ambrose Bierce

Short Story Classics: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, By Ambrose Bierce

Set during the American Civil War, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” is Bierce’s most famous short story. It was first published in the San Francisco Examiner in 1890. It then appeared in Bierce’s 1891 collection Tales of Soldiers and Civilians.

Short Story Classics: Love Suicides, By Yasunari Kawabata

Short Story Classics: Love Suicides, By Yasunari Kawabata

Palm-of-the-Hand Stories (掌の小説 tenohira / tanagokoro no shōsetsu) is the name Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata gave to more than 140 short stories he wrote over his long career, though he reputedly preferred the reading tanagokoro for the 掌 character. The earliest story was published in 1920 with the last appearing posthumously in 1972. The stories are characterized by their brevity – some are less than a page long – and by their dramatic concision.

Short Story Classics: The Story Of An Hour, By Kate Chopin

Short Story Classics: The Story Of An Hour, By Kate Chopin

“The Story of an Hour,” is a short story written by Kate Chopin on April 19, 1894. It was originally published in Vogue on December 6, 1894, as “The Dream of an Hour”. It was later reprinted in St. Louis Life on January 5, 1895, as “The Story of an Hour”.

The title of the short story refers to the time elapsed between the moments at which the protagonist, Louise Mallard, hears that her husband is dead, and when she discovers that he is alive after all. “The Story of an Hour” was controversial by American standards of the 1890s because it features a female protagonist who feels liberated by the news of her husband’s death. In Unveiling Kate Chopin, Emily Toth argues that Chopin “had to have her heroine die” in order to make the story publishable”. (The “heroine” dies when she sees her husband alive after he was thought to be dead.

Short Story Classics: Harrison Bergeron, By Kurt Vonnegut

Short Story Classics: Harrison Bergeron, By Kurt Vonnegut

“Harrison Bergeron” is a satirical and dystopian science-fiction short story written by Kurt Vonnegut and first published in October 1961. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, the story was republished in the author’s Welcome to the Monkey House collection in 1968.

Short Story Classics: The Shoemaker And The Devil, By Anton Chekhov

Short Story Classics: The Shoemaker And The Devil, By Anton Chekhov

The Shoemaker and the Devil was published by Anton Chekhov in 1888. “How splendid it would be if the rich, little by little, changed into beggars having nothing, and he, a poor shoemaker, were to become rich, and were to lord it over some other poor shoemaker on Christmas Eve.”

Short Story Classics: The Mustache, By Guy De Mauspassant

Short Story Classics: The Mustache, By Guy De Mauspassant

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was a popular 19th-century French writer. He is one of the fathers of the modern short story. A protege of Flaubert, Maupassant’s short stories are characterized by their economy of style and their efficient effortless dénouement. He also wrote six short novels. A number of his stories often denote the futility of war and the innocent civilians who get crushed in it – many are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s.

Short Story Classics: A Telephonic Conversation, By Mark Twain

Short Story Classics: A Telephonic Conversation, By Mark Twain

In 1879, Mark Twain became a very early adopter of Alexander Graham Bell’s new invention (in 1876) of the telephone, a big step beyond the telegraph because it made possible voice communication at a distance, ordinary talk via electric current over a wire. A new adventure for humanity. Being Mark Twain, he also was early and keenly aware of some cultural side effects and ironies of new technological developments.

Twain’s sketch “A Telephonic Conversation” recounts an overheard conversation in his home, perhaps partly fabricated or embellished but true to life. This sketch is so early in the history of the telephone that it’s likely that the majority of Americans, even of readers of his sketch, had never yet heard a voice via a telephone