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The Oxford Book of English Short Stories Hardcover – 30 Apr 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (30 April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192142380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192142382
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3.6 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

A.S. Byatt is internationally known as a novelist, short-story writer and critic. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize in 1990), and the quartet of The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman, as well as The Shadow of the Sun, The Game and The Biographer's Tale. Her latest novel, The Children's Book, is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009. She is also the author of two novellas, published together as Angels and Insects, and four collections of stories, and has co-edited Memory: An Anthology.

Educated at York and Newnham College, Cambridge, she taught at the Central School of Art and Design, and was Senior Lecturer in English at University College, London, before becoming a full-time writer in 1983. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999.

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Review

"Byatt has cast her net widely and well.... Her long introduction--which might well stand as a capsule history of the subject--sensibly emphasizes 'the evocation of the concrete' as a common feature of English short fiction, while offering superb concise assessments of classic writers like Dickens, Trollope, Hardy, and Wells.... One of Oxford's best, and another feather in Byatt's richly decorated cap."--Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A.S. Byatt is a prize-winning novelist, essayist, reviewer, and broadcaster. Her books include Possession, The Matisse Stories, and Angels and Insects.

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First Sentence
MASTER WALTER DE COURCEY, although an indefatigable man of business, was extremely punctual in his religious observances, and he made a point, both in winter and summer, of attending early mass in his parish church, St Botolph's, Bishopsgate. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 April 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is amongst the most entertaining books I have ever read. It contains a wide range of subjects and styles ranging from P. G. Wodehouse's "The Reverent Wooing Of Archibald" to "A Widow's Quilt" by Sylvia Townsend Warner. The book alows the reader to choose his or her story according to mood or prefernence and thus makes for a very good thing. It is the wide range of storie and authors in the book that really make it so great. A. S. Byatt has selected the choicest morcels of litterary brilliance and added them all into this great collection. Thoughly worth a read or two.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Miseri57 on 6 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Who's your favourite book writer, granddad?" That's the question my 8yr old granddaughter asked me when she'd hinted that she was going to get me a book for my birthday. I'm really glad that my reply was somewhat `vague' in that I remember telling her that I liked so many authors, classics and modern, and that I would ideally like to read `something from everybody'. It seems my granddaughter took me literally and presented the Oxford Book of Short Stories to me on my birthday - and what a treat it's turned out to be. Wonderful, 37 stories from the 19th & 20th centuries' authors ranging from Dickens, Woolf, Woodhouse, Wells, Lawrence, Kipling, Greene and many others, some of which I'm reading for the first time.

The stories themselves are a wonderful selection, Byatt should be commended on her choice; Byatt tells us that her "... only criterion was that [the] stories ... should be startling and satisfying, and if possible make the hairs on the neck prickle with excitement aesthetic narrative". I think she's managed this.

As a rule I read a few stories each night before going to bed which resulted in about 2 weeks of very, very enjoyable reading - I fully recommend this anthology to anyone and everyone, and it's hard for me to imagine anyone getting the same level of enjoyment for the price paid for the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Purnell on 14 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great introduction to English literature. Mainly 19th and 20th century though there is at least one from the 17th.
Reading this one can understand why its often said that literature is one of England's strong points.

My favorite so far is the PG Woodhouse....
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 April 2015
Format: Paperback
One of the best stories in this veritable cornucopia of literature is written by a woman born in Bradford – Malachi Whitaker (1805-1976). I had read the story before I looked her up on Google, and was fascinated to find she came from our part of the country. It was easily one of the best in this book, which consists of works by Virginia Woolf, D H Lawrence, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Penelope Fitzgerald, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene and sundry other notables. But Malachi Whitaker’s story was elegant and simple, concerning a young woman who finds herself in a packed train, with a group of young men who proceed to treat her with the greatest of courtesy – all of them landlords of various pubs – including one who is the landlord of a pub called The Crystal Fountain. She falls into conversation with one of these men and by the time they disembark “she knows this new bliss that had grown up in her would never leave her.” It is a story of stark simplicity, a story of love striking like a thunderbolt, but so delightful as she sends a telegram to those expecting her which reads: “Don’t worry about me. I am going to the Crystal Fountain.”

Other stories I particularly liked included Rose Tremain’s The Beauty of the Dawn Shift which concerns the man who, most perversely, decides when the Berlin Wall comes down, he is going East, not West. A tragedy of epic proportions ensues.
Ian McEwan’s short story Solid Geometry is so blissfully strange and bewildering – it delights in every way as a man with a shrewish wife he is beginning to bitterly regret is removed by the means of the solid geometry of the title. In the last story Dead Languages – beautifully written by Philip Hensher – a small boy of eight is sent away to school.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MzBookMuncher on 11 May 2013
Format: Paperback
I thought some of the choices were strange, I relished the Dickens ghost story but it turned out not to be one of his finest hours. It definitely improved with the choices on the more modern pieces, especially Huxley and Carter. Would recommend it, not a bad collection at all, overall.
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