American Short-Stories Anthology 1920
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<p>THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1920AND THE</p> <p>YEARBOOK OF THE AMERICAN SHORT STORYEDITED BY</p> <p>EDWARD J. O'BRIENEDITOR OF "THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1915" "THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1916" "THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1917" "THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1918" "THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1919" "THE GREAT MODERN ENGLISH STORIES," ETC.</p> <p>BOSTON SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY PUBLISHERSCopyright 1919, by Charles Scribner's Sons, The Pictorial Review Company, The Curtis Publishing Company, and Harper & Brothers. Copyright, 1920, by The Boston Transcript Company. Copyright, 1920, by Margaret C, Anderson, Harper & Brothers, The Dial Publishing Company, Inc., The Metropolitan Magazine Company, John T. Frederick, P. F. Collier & Son, Inc., Charles Scribner's Sons, The International Magazine Company, and The Pictorial Review Company. Copyright, 1921, by Sherwood Anderson, Edwina Stanton Babcock, Konrad Bercovici, Edna Clare Bryner, Charles Wadsworth Camp, Helen Coale Crew, Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Lee Foster Hartman, Rupert Hughes, Grace Sartwell Mason, James Oppenheim, Arthur Somers Roche, Rose Sidney, Fleta Campbell Springer, Wilbur Daniel Steele, Ethel Dodd Thomas, John T. Wheelwright, Stephen French Whitman, Ben Ames Williams, and Frances Gilchrist Wood. Copyright, 1921, by Small, Maynard & Company, Inc.</p> <p>TO SHERWOOD ANDERSON</p> <p>THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF 1920</p> <p>1</p> <p>The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story, Edited by Edward J O</p> <p>BY WAY OF ACKNOWLEDGMENTGrateful acknowledgment for permission to include the stories and other material in this volume is made to the following authors, editors, and publishers: To Miss Margaret C. Anderson, the Editor of Harper's Magazine, the Editor of The Dial, the Editor of The Metropolitan, Mr. John T. Frederick, the Editor of Scribner's Magazine, the Editor of Collier's Weekly, the Editor of The Cosmopolitan Magazine, the Editor of The Pictorial Review, the Curtis Publishing Company, Mr. Sherwood Anderson, Miss Edwina Stanton Babcock, Mr. Konrad Bercovici, Miss Edna Clare Bryner, Mr. Wadsworth Camp, Mrs. Helen Coale Crew, Mrs. Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Mr. Lee Foster Hartman, Major Rupert Hughes, Mrs. Grace Sartwell Mason, Mr. James Oppenheim, Mr. Arthur Somers Roche, Mrs. Rose Sidney, Mrs. Fleta Campbell Springer, Mr. Wilbur Daniel Steele, Mrs. A. E. Thomas, Mr. John T. Wheelwright, Mr. Stephen French Whitman, Mr. Ben Ames Williams, and Mrs. Frances Gilchrist Wood. Acknowledgments are specially due to The Boston Evening Transcript for permission to reprint the large body of material previously published in its pages. I shall be grateful to my readers for corrections, and particularly for suggestions leading to the wider usefulness of this annual volume. In particular, I shall welcome the receipt, from authors, editors, and publishers, of stories printed during the period between October, 1920 and September, 1921 inclusive, which have qualities of distinction, and yet are not printed in periodicals falling under my regular notice. Such communications may be addressed to me at Forest Hill, Oxfordshire, England. E. J. O.</p> <p>CONTENTSIntroduction. The Other Woman. Gargoyle. Ghitza. The Life of Five Points. The Signal Tower. The Parting Genius. Habakkuk. The Judgment of Vulcan. The Stick-in-the-Muds. His Job. The Rending. By the Editor By Sherwood Anderson (From The Little Review) By Edwina Stanton Babcock (From Harper's Magazine) By Konrad Bercovici (From The Dial) By Edna Clare Bryner (From The Dial) By Wadsworth Camp (From The Metropolitan) By Helen Coale Crew (From The Midland) By Katharine Fullerton Gerould (From Scribner's Magazine) By Lee Foster Hartman (From Harper's Magazine) By Rupert Hughes (From Collier's Weekly) By Grace Sartwell Mason (From Scribner's Magazine) By James Oppenheim (From The Dial) 2</p> <p>BY WAY OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT</p> <p>The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story, Edited by Edward J O The Dummy-Chucker. Butterflies. The Rotter. Out of Exile. The Three Telegrams. The Roman Bath. Amazement. Sheener. Turkey Red. By Arthur Somers Roche (From The Cosmopolitan) By Rose Sidney (From The Pictorial Review) By Fleta Campbell Springer (From Harper's Magazine) By Wilbur Daniel Steele (From The Pictorial Review) By Ethel Storm (From The Ladies' Home Journal) By John T. Wheelwright (From Scribner's Magazine) By Stephen French Whitman (From Harper's Magazine) By Ben Ames Williams (From Collier's Weekly) By Frances Gilchrist Wood (From The Pictorial Review)</p> <p>The Yearbook of the American Short Story, October, 1919, to September, 1920 Addresses of American Magazines Publishing Short Stories The Bibliographical Roll of Honor of American Short Stories The Roll of Honor of Foreign Short Stories in American Magazines The Best Books of Short Stories of 1920: A Critical Summary Volumes of Short Stories Published, October, 1919, to September, 1920: A Index Articles on the Short Stories: An Index Index of Short Stories in Books, November, 1918, to September, 1920 Index of Short Stories Published in American Magazines, October, 1919, to September, 1920</p> <p>FOOTNOTES: The order in which the stories in this volume are printed is not intended as an indication of their comparative excellence; the arrangement is alphabetical by authors.</p> <p>INTRODUCTIONI suppose there is no one of us who can honestly deny that he is interested in one way or another in the American short story. Indeed, it is hard to find a man anywhere who does not enjoy telling a good story. But there are some people born with the gift of telling a good story better than others, and of telling it in such a way that a great many people can enjoy its flavor. Most of you are acquainted with some one who is a gifted story-teller, provided that he has an audience of not more than one or two people. And if you chance to live in the same house with such a man, I think you will find that, no matter how good his story may have been when you first heard it, it tends to lose its savor after he has become thoroughly accustomed to telling it and has CONTENTS 3</p> <p>The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story, Edited by Edward J O added it to his private repertory. A writer of good stories is really a man who risks telling the same story to many thousand people. Did you ever take such a risk? Did you ever start to tell a story to a stranger, and try to make your point without knowing what sort of a man he was? If you did, what was your experience? You decided, didn't you, that story-telling was an art, and you wondered perhaps if you were ever going to learn it. The American story-teller in the magazines is in very much the same position, except that we have much more patience with him. Usually he is a man who has told his story a good many times before. The first time he told it we clapped him on the back, as he deserved perhaps, and said that he was a good fellow. His publishers said so too. And it was a good story that he told. The trouble was that we wanted to hear it again, and we paid him too well to repeat it. But just as your story became rather less interesting the twenty-third time you told it, so the stories I have been reading more often than not have made a similar impression upon me. I find myself begging the author to think up another story. Of course, you have not felt obliged to read so many stories, and I cannot advise you to do so. But it has made it possible for me to see in some sort of perspective, just where the American short story is going as well as what it has already achieved. It has made me see how American writers are weakening their substance by too frequent repetition, and it has helped me to fix the blame where it really lies. Now this is a matter of considerable importance. One of the things we should be most anxious to learn is the psychology of the American reader. We want to know how he reacts to what he reads in the magazine, whether it is a short story, an article, or an advertisement. We want to know, for example, what holds the interest of a reader of the Atlantic Monthly, and what holds the interest of the reader of the Ladies' Home Journal. It is my belief that the difference between these various types of readers is pretty largely an artificial difference, in so far as it affects the quality of entertainment and imaginative interest that the short story has to offer. Of course, there are exceptional cases, and I have some of these in mind, but for the most part I can perceive no essential difference between the best stories in the Saturday Evening Post and the best stories in Harper's Magazine for example. The difference that every one feels, and that exists, is one of emphasis rather than of type. It is a difference which is shown by averages rather than one which affects the best stories in either magazine. Human nature is the same everywhere, and when an artist interprets it sympathetically, the reader will respond to his feeling wherever he finds it. It has been my experience that the reader is likely to find this warmly sympathetic interpretation of human nature, its pleasures and its sorrows, its humor and its tragedy, most often in the American magazines that talk least about their own merit. We are all familiar with the sort of magazine that contents itself with saying day in and day out ceaselessly and noisily: "The Planet Magazine is the greatest magazine in the universe. The greatest literary artists and the world's greatest illustrators contribute to our pages." And it stops there. It has repeated this claim so often that it has come to believe it. Such a magazine is the great literary ostrich. It hides by burying its eyes in the sand. It is an axiom of human nature that the greatest men do not find it necessary or possible to talk about their own greatness. They are so busy that they have never had much time to think about it. And so it is with the best magazines, and with the best short stories. The man who wrote what I regard as the best short story published in 1915 was the most surprised man in Brooklyn when I told him so. The truth of the matter is that we are changing very rapidly, and that a new national sense in literature is accompanying that change. There was a time, and in fact it is only now drawing to a close, when the short story was exploited by interested moneymakers who made such a loud noise that you could hear nothing else INTRODUCTION 4</p> <p>The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Best Short Stories of 1920 and the Yearbook of the American Short Story, Edited by Edward J O without great difficulty. The most successful of these noisemakers are still shouting, but their heart is in it no longer. The editor of one of the largest magazines in the country said to me not long ago that he found the greatest difficulty now in procuring short stories by writers for whom his magazine had trained the public to clamor. The immediate reason which he ascribed for this state of affairs was that the commercial rewards offered to these writers by the moving picture companies were so great, and the difference in time and labor between writing scenarios and developing finished stories was so marked, that authors were choosing the more attractive method of earning money. The excessive commercialisation of literature in the past decade is now turned against the very magazines which fostered it. The magazines which bought and sold fiction like soap are beginning to repent of it all. They have killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. This fight for sincerity in the short story is a fight that is worth making. It is at the heart of all that for which I am striving. The quiet sincere man who has something to tell you should not be talked down by the noisemakers. He should have his hearing. He is real. And we need him. That is why I have set myself the annual task of reading so many short stories. I am looking for the man and woman with something to say,who cares very much indeed about how he says it. I am looking for the man and woman with some sort of a dream, the man or woman who sees just a little bit more in the pedlar he passes on the street than you or I do, and who wishes to devote his life to telling us about it. I want to be told my own story too, so that I can see myself as other people see me. And I want to feel that the storyteller who talks to me about these things is as much in earnest as a sincere clergyman, an unselfish physician, or an idealistic lawyer. I want to feel that he belongs to a profession that is a sort of priesthood, and not that he is holding down a job or running a bucket shop. I have found this writer with a message in almost every magazine I have studied during the year. He is just as much in earnest in Collier's Weekly as he is in Scribner's Magazine. I do not find him often, but he is there somewhere. And he is the only man for whom it is worth our while to watch. I feel that it is none of my business whether I like and agree with what he has to say or not. All that I am looking for is to see whether he means what he says and makes it as real as he can to me. I accept his substance at his own valuation, but I want to know what he makes of it. Each race that forms part of the substance in our great melting pot is bringing the richest of its traditions to add to our children's heritage. That is a wonderful thing to think about. Here, for example, is a young Jewish writer, telling in obscurity the stories of his people with all the art of the great Russian masters. And Irishmen are bringing to us the best of their heritage, and men and women of many other races contribute to form the first national literature the world has ever seen which is not based on a single racial feeling. Why are we not more curious about the ragman's story and that of the bootblack and the man who keeps the fruit store? Don't you suppose life is doing things to the boy in the coat-room as interesting as anything in all the romances? Isn't life changing us in the most extraordinary ways, and do we not wish to know in what manner we are to meet and adapt ourselves to these changes? There is a humble writer in an attic up there who knows all about it, if you care to listen to him. The trouble is that he is so much interested in talking about life that he forgets to talk about himself, and we are too lazy to listen to any one who forgets to blow his own trumpet. But the magazines are beginning to look for him, and, wonderful to say, they are beginning to find him, and to discover that he is more interesting and humanly popular than the professional chef who may be always depended upon to cook his single dish in the same old way, but who has never had time to learn anything else. Now what is the essential point of all that I have been trying to say? It is simply this. If we are going to do anything as a nati...</p>
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