The Best Short Stories of the 20th Century-the View from Spain

El Pais had a brief take on some of the best short stories of the 20th Century. It is a very anglophone list, but interesting as a view from the other side of the Atlantic.

Raymond Carver
Cathedral (1983)
James Joyce
The Dead (1914)
Henry James
The Beast in the Jungle (1903)
Juan Rulfo
No oyes ladrar a los perros (1953)
Julio Cortázar
Graffiti (1981)
Ramón del Valle-Inclán
El miedo (1902)
Truman Capote
Deslumbramiento (1982)
Jorge Luis Borges
El espejo y la máscara (1975)
J. D. Salinger
The Laughing Man (1953)
Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Return to Babilonia (1929)
Ingeborg Bachmann
Problems, Problems (1972)
Katherine Mansfield
The Fly (1922)
Ring Lardner
Champion (1924)
Medardo Fraile
The Album (1959)
Flannery O’Connor
A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955)
Katherine Mansfield
In the Bay(1921)
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Flannery O’Connor Discussed on Leonard Lopate and NYRB

A new biography of Flannery O’Connor has led to a lengthy review of the book and an appraisal of her work by Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Review of Books, and an interview on the Leonard Lopate Show with the author of the book. Both are quite interesting for anyone who has enjoyed her works.

From Oates’ intro:

Short stories, for all the dazzling diversity of the genre, are of two general types: those that yield their meanings subtly, quietly, and are as nuanced and delicate and without melodrama as the unfolding of miniature blossoms in Japanese chrysanthemum tea, and those that explode in the reader’s face. Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964) came of age in a time when subtlety and “atmosphere” in short stories were fashionable—as in the finely wrought, understated stories of such classic predecessors as Anton Chekhov, Henry James, and James Joyce, and such American contemporaries as Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, Peter Taylor, and Jean Stafford.

But O’Connor’s plainspoken, blunt, comic-cartoonish, and flagrantly melodramatic short stories were anything but fashionable. The novelty of her “acidly comic tales with moral and religious messages”—as Brad Gooch puts it in his new life of O’Connor—lay in their frontal assault upon the reader’s sensibility: these were not refined New Yorker stories of the era in which nothing happens except inside characters’ minds, but stories in which something happens of irreversible magnitude, often death by violent means.