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Great Short Stories by American Women (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – February 5, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0486287768 ISBN-10: 0486287769 Edition: Dover

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Dover edition (February 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486287769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486287768
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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The book showcases great works from many great female authors in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Allison Smith
The short stories are definitely different from my usual fare, and I would recommend it even if it is not on your list of required reading for a class.
Helen H
So, if you skip the brief story/author intros, you will find this to be a fine anthology, good both for literature courses and for individual reading.
Michael J. Mazza

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on October 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was greatly impressed with "Great Short Stories by American Women," the anthology edited by Candace Ward. The stories in this volume were originally published between 1861 and 1930, and represent the work of some of the United States' best writers. The contents of the book are as follows:
Rebecca Harding Davis' "Life in the Iron Mills," a compelling piece of social protest; Louisa May Alcott's "Transcendental Wild Oats," a satiric view of life in a Utopian commune; Sarah Orne Jewett's "A White Heron," a reflection on men, women, and nature; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's "A New England Nun," about an extended engagement; Charlotte Perkins Gilman's creepy "The Yellow Wall-Paper," about a woman who, diagnosed with "a slight hysterical tendency," is forced to undergo an oppressive treatment; Kate Chopin's lusty, sensuous "The Storm"; Edith Wharton's "The Angel at the Grave," an ironic study of the legacy of a famous philosopher; Willa Cather's "Paul's Case," a tale about a dandyish young man who just can't fit into society; Alice Dunbar-Nelson's "The Stones of the Village," a study of racism, shame, and secrecy; Susan Glaspell's "A Jury of Her Peers," a murder mystery which the author adapted from her own one-act play entitled "Trifles"; Djuna Barnes' multigenerational family story "Smoke"; Zora Neale Hurston's "Sweat," a story of a nightmarishly bad marriage; and Nella Larsen's chilling "Sanctuary."
This is an excellent, richly varied selection of thirteen tales.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Allison Smith on April 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a college student, I am burdened with purchasing many expensive books for classes. "Great Short Stories by American Women," however, was not a burden to purchase at all. The book showcases great works from many great female authors in the late 19th and early 20th century. Zora Neale Hurston, Edith Wharton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Louisa May Alcott are just a few of the authors featured in the book.
In my class, we spent an hour discussing just one of the stories each day. "Great Short Stories by American Women" is an excellent classroom resource, and is very inexpensive.
Also, I highly recommend "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for class discussion. It is a compelling piece, and especially interesting to high school and college age students. It makes for an involved discussion.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book contains some key texts in 19th and early 20th Century American short fiction, including "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Life in the Iron Mills," which are normally only available in volumes costing considerably more. A great teaching text.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Merricart on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great collection at an affordable price. All the stories are classics, but that doesn't mean that they are irrelevant or uninteresting to today's readers.

Some stories deal with women's issues: "A New England Nun" introduces a woman torn between the freedom and tranquility of her single life and the expectation for her to marry; "Smoke" is about a woman who endures domestic abuse year after year and finally finds vindication in unexpected means; "A Jury of Her Peers" offers a subtle but chilling picture of the systematic killing of women's spirit in domestic life, and then a hopeful suggestion of women's strength when they support one another.

Other stories are insightful character studies, sometimes tragic, sometimes satirical, and often revealing about a social problem and the many sacrifices an individual must make to struggle against it. The story "Life in the Iron Mills" is about the poverty, and "Stones of the Village" describes how one person's life could be twisted by racism. However, the stories are much more than a medium for a simple message. They are stories of life, so richly imagined that we feel the characters live on outside of the pages.

I also find the introduction before the story informative. Though brief, it often offers useful information on the story's background. For example, we find out that the author of "The Yellow Wallpaper" has based the story on her own struggle with mental illness, and that "Transcendental Wild Oats" was based on the author's childhood experience with an overzealous Transcendentalist father.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Manola Sommerfeld on June 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
At first I thought I wasn't going to like this collection very much. Not enough contemporary stories, and I am, after all, a lover of contemporary literature. I get discouraged when I read older novels. The language seems too stiff at times. So, I approached this collection with caution. A good example of what I mean about older writing being slightly formal for my taste was the short story we've all had to read in English Lit classes: "The Yellow Wall-Paper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Another example is the opening story, "Life in the Iron-Mills" by Rebecca Harding Davis. After a few pages I just hjad to skip them.

That said, I luckily enjoyed most of the stories quite a bit. I think the editor had very good care in choosing stories that had universal appeal. My favorite is "Transcendental Wild Oats", by Louisa May Alcott. I know more than a "nothing-but-organic" zealot who should read this one. I found it amazing that Alcott, back in the late 1800s, was able to offer such accurate criticism of the ridiculous views that some take on behalf of misguided ideals and very few facts.

Another story I enjoyed was "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett, where a young girl has to choose between her love of the bird on the title and receiving some very needed money in exchange for pointing out its nest to a hunter. I think the whole debate in the girl's mind was very well developed. I also liked Willa Cather's "Paul's Case", with Paul being an eccentric young man who gets used to the high life too soon. And another favorite was "Sweat" by Zora Neale Hurston, a story full of karma.
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