This collection of ten short stories was assembled nearly 100 years ago as a teaching aid. It "attempt[s] to present selections from a list of the greatest short-stories that have proved, in actual use, most beneficial to high school students." The introduction presents a brief history of the short story from Cervantes' "The Liberal Lover" in the seventeenth century to its widespread popularity in the early twentieth century. It also defines the essence of the short story, not by its length, but that it "...deals with a single character, a single event, a single emotion, or the series of emotions called forth by a single situation." Each element in the short story should build to the stories point, even when it comes as a surprise to the reader. The introduction ends with a list of short story collections for suggested reading.
Of the ten stories in this volume, two stand out:
Bjoernstjerne Bjoernson's "The Father" traces several events in the life of a father who looks out for his son. It builds to a unifying emotional end.
Guy de Maupassant's "The Piece of String" is a morality tale about truth and reputation--and which matters more.
Each story in the collection is followed by a brief biography of its author, a critical analysis of the author's work, and a list of recommended additional readings. Although obviously dated in it's discussion of the short story, the book is an enjoyable and recommended read.
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.