Storytelling as a fundamental human impulse, one that announces itself at the moment, hidden in infancy, that dreams begin—this is what the poet and critic Randall Jarrell set out to illuminate in this extraordinary book. Here Jarrell presents ballads, parables, anecdotes, and legends along with some of the finest work of Chekhov, Babel, Elizabeth Bowen, Isak Dinesen, Kafka, Peter Taylor, and Katherine Anne Porter. This wonderful anthology, with its celebrated introductory essay, enlarges and deepens our perception of the storyteller’s art and its central place in the world of our feelings.
RANDALL JARRELL: Introduction
FRANZ KAFKA: A Country Doctor
ANTON CHEKHOV: Gusev
RAINER MARIA RILKE: The Wrecked Houses; The Big Thing
ROBERT FROST: The Witch of CoÌ¦s
GIOVANNI VERGA: La Lupa
NIKOLAI GOGOL: The Nose
ELIZABETH BOWEN: Her Table Spread
LUDWIG TIECK: Fair Eckbert
BERTOLT BRECHT: Concerning the Infanticide, Marie Farrar
LEO TOLSTOY: The Three Hermits
PETER TAYLOR: What You Hear from ‘Em?
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN: The Fir Tree
KATHERINE ANNE PORTER: He
ANONYMOUS: The Red King and the Witch
ANTON CHEKHOV: Rothschild’s Fiddle
THE BROTHERS GRIMM: Cat and Mouse in Partnership
E. M. FORSTER: The Story of the Siren
THE BOOK OF JONAH
FRANZ KAFKA: The Bucket-Rider
SAINT-SIMON: The Death of Monseigneur
ISAAC BABEL: Awakening
CHUANG T’ZU: Five Anecdotes
HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL: A Tale of the Cavalry
WILLIAM BLAKE: The Mental Traveller
D. H. LAWRENCE: Samson and Delilah
LEO TOLSTOY: The Porcelain Doll
IVAN TURGENEV: Byezhin Prairie
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH: The Ruined Cottage
FRANK O’CONNOR: Peasants
ISAK DINESEN: Sorrow-Acre
Long out of print, this landmark volume—and the sweeping essay at the front—may change how you think about fiction. (It may also change how you think about your own life.) This is a book to return to, and to keep.
— Stephen Burt
It has been clear for some time that Randall Jarrell is one of the most gifted poets and critics of his generation. — The New York Times Book Review
Randall Jarrell was such a gifted reader of poetry that it’s easy to overlook how keenly he read and discussed prose. The introduction to this wide—ranging collection is alone worth the price of admission: a brilliant, characteristically light—stepping little journey into the heart of the narrative impulse. This is as fine an entry into the art of the short story as any I know.
— Brad Leithauser
[Jarrell was] perhaps the most fearsome (and admired) American critic of the twentieth century.
— The Atlantic Monthly
My favorite short—story anthology is Randall Jarrell’s, with a brilliant essay as a preface.
— Michael Dirda, The Washignton Post