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The short story is one of the most varied and exciting genres in American literature. This collection brings together many of its finest examples from the early nineteenth century to the present. It contains a richly diverse cast of characters, including convicts, artists, farm labourers, slaves, soldiers and salesmen, witches and ghosts, families and lovers. Their stories are told by some of America's most celebrated writers (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edith Wharton, and Raymond Carver) and a few, like Fanny Fern or Charles W. Chestnutt, who may be less familiar. The collection offers a stimulating combination of acknowledged classics, including Mark Twain's hilarious "Jim Smiley's Jumping Frog" and Edgar Allan Poe's chilling "The Tell-Tale Heart", and some remarkable pieces that deserve a wider audience, such as Ernest Hemingway's story of miscommunication, "Out of Season", or Lorrie Moore's tale of modern love and wit, "Starving Again". Kasia Boddy's introduction traces the history of the American short story and explores the changes and continuities in its forms and preoccupations. This edition also contains a chronology, explanatory and biographical notes and suggestions for further reading.