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HENRY SEIDEL CANBY, PH.D.
School of Yale University
In this book I have tried to present a brief, clear, and reasonably comprehensive account of the short story in English and American literature. I have tried to characterize faithfully the broader movements, selecting from the vast literature of short narrative the writing which has been vital either in itself or because of its influence.
Wider reference to short-story literature, and full bibliographical details, will be found in The Short Story in English (Henry Holt and Company, 1909). With that book as background, it seemed possible to write a simpler, less detailed account of short-story history, for the use of college classes, and for such readers as might combine a desire for brevity with their interest in the short story. The two books are complementary. The historical development of the short story is discussed in both; for a “documented " investigation, and for the basis of many generalizations, the reader should go to the earlier and larger work.
Nevertheless, although I have taken advantage of the information accessible in The Short Story in English to free the following pages from hindering bibliography and frequent reference to minor literature, I have done all possible to make this new history of the short story more discriminating, more just, and more true. The historical periods and the course of development laid down before have been verified by later study, but I have felt as free to modify the critical conclusions of my earlier work as to borrow from them.