Edward J. O'Brien (1890–1941)

Teoksen 50 Best American Short Stories 1915-1939 tekijä

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Tekijän teokset

50 Best American Short Stories 1915-1939 (1939) — Toimittaja — 28 kappaletta
The Best British Short Stories of 1922 (2004) — Toimittaja — 17 kappaletta
Modern English Short Stories (1933) 6 kappaletta
Elizabethan tales (1937) 6 kappaletta
Inferences during reading (2015) 5 kappaletta
The Best British Short Stories of 1923 (1923) — Toimittaja — 5 kappaletta
The Masque of Poets (2019) 3 kappaletta
The Best British Short Stories of 1933 — Toimittaja — 2 kappaletta
The Best British Short Stories of 1940 — Toimittaja — 1 kappale
The Guest Book 1 kappale

Associated Works

Hell (1908) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset470 kappaletta

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Virallinen nimi
O'Brien, Edward Joseph Harrington



I got this book in a box of old books from a friend. Being short stories, and of an earlier time, I thought it might be interesting. And it was.

The stories were published between July 1921 and June 1922. Yup, 100 years ago. I find it interesting the different story lines, descriptions of surroundings and activities from earlier, and later, eras. These stories were published in various publications such as “The Strand,” The English Review,” “The Dial” and more.

They are vignettes of life at the time: people going through life and dealing with situations, good, bad and humorous.

The first one is titled “Where Was Wych Street?” Four men and a woman are sitting in the Wagtail in Wapping, discussing the recent death of a local. During the conversation, mention was made about Wych Street. Each person claims to have had personal dealings on or about the street. Interesting thing was each person had a different view of where the street had been located and what it was like.

Another is “The Bat and Belfry Inn.” A couple is touring North Wales and comes across a little picturesque hotel with a beautiful view of the valley. They stop for tea and to decide if they want to spend a few days there. What they find is a charming hotel with a staff comprised of some very strange characters. All is not what it seems.

Some stories are humorous and are sad, but all are interesting. It was enjoyable reading work by different authors under one cover.
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ChazziFrazz | Sep 19, 2021 |
This is a fascinating collection of short stories, in that it includes several iconic short stories that had appeared for the first time in 1931, and were therefore being anthologized for the first time.

The most famous stories included are "That Evening Sun Go Down" by Faulkner, "Babylon Revisited" by Fitzgerald, "Here We Are" by Dorothy Parker, "Rest Cure" by Kay Boyle and "Only We Are Barren" by Alvah Bessie. Other well known authors include Louis Bromfield, Erskine Caldwell, William March and Don Marquis. (I have to admit that I skipped "Babylon Revisited." I just couldn't face it one more time.)

There were also many excellent stories by writers I'd never heard of. "Fiddlers of Moon Mountain" by Emmett Gowen and "White Man's Town" by Lowry Charles Wimberly are two that stand out.

Also quite interesting was editor Edward O'Brien's introduction, which included his summary of the current (in 1931) state of the short story form:

"John Chamberlain, in the course of a stimulating and acute article in The New Republic entitled "The Short Story Muddles On," . . . . pointed out with considerable justice that many of the writers whose work I printed last year appeared to have evolved a behavioristic system because they had been influenced not quite logically by Ernest Hemingway. . . .

Behaviorism as a substitute for a philosophy of life is certainly rife in America. It is in the air which every American short story writer is compelled to breathe. It does not enter, however, into Ernest Hemingway's philosophy of life, and the writers who have been most influenced by him have largely nullified any beneficent influence which Mr. Hemingway might have had upon their work by imposing behaviorism upon his vision of life. . . . Despite behaviorism, I am nevertheless compelled to affirm once more that the period of literary integration has begun. This integration is neither specially philosophical nor specially psychological, and it certainly has nothing to do one way or the other with ethics. The integration of which I am speaking is characterized by a general sense of wholeness. A story tends to start clean, to discard irrelevancies, to see lucidly, to allow no falsities, to rub in no morals, to discover and reveal life The old pretentiousness is gone. The false sentiment is gone. The "hard-boiled" mask is gone. . . .

The short story is just beginning to justify itself as a separate form. The old conception of an artificial plot imposed too much strain on the form, and turned the short story into something very much like a potted novel. In the new short story, plot is a servant and not a master, as a machine should be. Needless to say, in the transition towards the new short story, we have had to put up with a great deal of sprawling and formlessness . . . . "
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rocketjk | Oct 3, 2014 |
Not terrible, but not many of these stories grabbed me. I liked "Zelig" and "The Survivors".
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bongo_x | 1 muu arvostelu | Apr 6, 2013 |
1924. I'm going to go story by story so I don't forget. At least that's the plan; we'll see how far I get.
"Champlin" by Morgan Burke is a rollicking men's adventure tale. Americans sail to the far East. There is romance, fighting, bars, exotic island women, and an excellent twist at the end. Unfortunately as was common at the time the term Chink is used for Chinese once.
"Billy" by Mildred Cram is a tale of a silent movie star modeled after Charlie Chaplin. He gets tired of being famous, because he can't get any peace. People recognize him wherever he goes. He goes away to an island where there are some natives who will never have heard of him. The he puts himself to the ultimate test: to see if he can make them laugh. Very good story. Speaks to the problems of fame today well, even without the TV, the cell phones and the internet.
"Phantom Adventure" by Floyd Dell might have been a little shocking in the 20s. It deals with adultery in an artful way. The hero settled down to a conventional life, with a good job, a wife and kids, but he had always longed for adventure. One night as he's wistfully mooning around wishing for an adventure he thinks he can never have, he opens the garden gate and chances upon a girl and has an affair. A one night stand really. At first he thinks he'll have to tell his wife, but then after all he reasons, how different is it from reading about it in a story. So he pretends it was just a story he read somewhere. He even tells it to an author friend [Floyd Dell?] who writes it up for him. Clever but unshocking by today's standards.
"The Cracked Teapot" by Charles Caldwell Dobie is about a swindler. He's seems like he used to cheating just about everyone he meets, but on this one occasion, he develops a bit of a conscience, and takes the short con instead of the long con on account of it. So cleverly told, I feel like the author himself must have been able to con anyone out of anything.
"The Last Dive" by Carlos Drake is about a man who dives from a high platform into a tiny tank of water for a living. It is a brief few minutes of what he is thinking just before and during his dive. Very suspenseful.
"Adventures of Andrew Lang" by Charles J. Finger is a dramatic adventure story of an unscrupulous fortune seeker/conman from the perspective of one of his many victims. It was remarkable for the sheer amount of adventure and unscrupulousness packed into this story.
"The Biography of Blade" by Zona Gale was about a brief moment in the life of a married man when he thought he might chuck his family and change his life, but it passes, with but little changing. It is about bridled passion. It seemed very realistic in it's romance, at least to a romantic soul, like me.
"Corputt" by Tupper Greenwald is a story about some academics. An English teacher goes back to see his old mentor, the Corputt of the title, and finds him lost in a particularly English-professorial senility. Didn't do much for me. Might be good if you're big into Shakespeare.
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kylekatz | Nov 16, 2011 |

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