Edward J. O’brien and His Role in the Rise of the American Short Story in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

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This biography provides a balanced assessment of the true achievement of this complex and work-driven personality, who played an essential role as a discerning editor at a time when the short story scene in American was undergoing a radical evolution. In April 1916, he published The Best Short Stories of 1915, which proved to be the first of the series of annual anthologies of the short stories he considered the cream of those appearing in US magazines during the preceding 12 months. It continued under his guidance until the 1941 volume published posthumously in his name. In the eyes of many young writers – Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, and William Saroyan, for example – he became regarded as a respected authority, providing them with encouragement and inspiration by reprinting their stories in his anthologies. He loyally supported the so-called ‘little’ magazines and was instrumental in drawing the attention of both readers and writers to their existence. In Oxford, he co-edited the short-lived New Stories as an anticipated British equivalent of Story.

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Foreword; Preface by John Ditsky
1. Childhood
2. Literary Beginnings
3. The Celtic Influence
4. The Literary Life
5. Anthologist, Poet, Critic, Translator, and Editor
6. The Old World and the Three Musketeers
7. Romer
8. London
9. Switzerland: The Long Nightmare
10. White, Martha and Story Magazine
11. Ruth: New Beginnings
12. New Stories and Hard Times
13. American Tours and Death of New Stories
14. Hitting the Big Time
15. MGM’ s European Story Editor
16. War and Death
17. Afterword
Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index

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