Unlike the other arts, American literature has been a powerful, influential, and leading aspect of American culture. By turns sedate and mercurial and possessing a moral mind set of various social values, the American short story reveals in its pages the psyche of a growing, sprawling nation whose sense of destiny has always been larger than life. Here are seven masterpieces that will make you smile, make you frown, and leave you pondering the mystery that surrounds the soul of a great nation.
Selections in Volume 1:
"A Journey" by Edith Wharton - A woman tries to conceal the death of her husband on a train trip.
"Impulse" by Conrad Aiken � After a lifetime of pushing his luck, a man pushes it a little too far.
"Only the Dead Know Brooklyn" by Thomas Wolfe � A lonely man with a map tries to understand a little piece of the earth.
"A Christian Education" by Robert Penn Warren � A troubled farmer recalls the life and death of a retarded boy.
"Barn Burning" by William Faulkner � In prose as fully mature and beautiful as anything he ever wrote, this is one of the most searing indictments of revenge ever put on paper.
"Paul's Case" by Willa Cather � A youth decides to put his life of fantasy and that of the real world on a collision course.
"The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Stephen Vincent Benét � This beautiful, riproaring tall-tale embraces all that is good in American life.
"Charlton Griffin is dazzlingly good, with regional accents, with the change in timbre from a boy's voice to a woman's and a man's, and most of all with his nuanced understanding of how to deliver the narrative from writer to reader without getting himself in the way." (
"With its flawless technical recording values and masterful presentation, this first volume in the Audio Connoisseur Classic American Short Stories series will leave the listener eagerly awaiting a second volume!" ( Midwest Book Review)
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