From Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Hardy through Rudyard Kipling, H.G. Wells, D.H. Lawrence, and Virginia Woolf, right up to Graham Greene, J.G. Ballard, Angela Carter, Ian McEwan, and many others, The Oxford Book of English Short Stories exhibits the capacious and often capricious nature of the English literary sensibility. "There is English empiricism, English pragmatism, English starkness, English humor, English satire, English horror, and English whimsy," notes A.S. Byatt in surveying the stories she has selected. "There are characteristic mixed modes which seem to go back further than Austen and Defoe to Chaucer and Shakespeare." Byatt shows us the links between stories, the literary currents that both connect and distinguish writers as diverse as Mary Mann, V.S. Pritchett, P.G. Wodehouse, Penelope Fitzgerald, and Alan Sillitoe. And although the thirty-seven stories gathered here range from socialish realism to surreal fantasy, from rural poverty to war-blitzed London, from tales of the supernatural to precise delineations of the mundane, all are unified by Byatt's demanding criteria that the works be both "startling and satisfying."
For short story lovers and anyone unable to resist the enchantments of the English imagination, The Oxford Book of Short Stories offers a wide array of unforgettable pleasures.
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From Kirkus Reviews:
A. S. Byatt is a novelist, essayist, broadcaster, and reviewer, and has taught at University College London. She won the Booker Prize for her novel Possession (1990), and her other books include Angels and Insects (1992), and Babel Tower (1996).
A solid collection of 37 stories, presumably intended to accompany an earlier volume edited by the late V.S. Pritchett. Byatt has cast her net widely and well, and included such overlooked gems as Graham Greene's ``The Destructors,'' Charlotte Mew's ``A White Night,'' and H.E. Bates's amazingly rich ``The Waterfall.'' Byatt's long Introductionwhich might well stand as a capsule history of its subjectsensibly emphasizes ``the evocation of the concrete'' as a common feature of English (as opposed to other British Isles' or Commonwealth) short fiction, while offering superb concise assessments of classic writers like Dickens, Trollope, Hardy, and Wells. If some of her omissions (especially de la Mare, Lessing, and Angus Wilson) are hard to defend, one is grateful for her unearthing of neglected writers like Arthur Morrison, Malachi Whitaker, and (the other) Elizabeth Taylor. All in all, one of Oxford's best, and another feather in Byatt's richly decorated cap. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11019280376X