The last 50 years have proved a particularly lively period in the history of the short story form. This new collection gives a full picture of the richness and diversity of this most American of genres from its very beginnings to the present day. The collection offers a freshly stimulating combination of old favourites such as Mark Twain's 'Jim Smiley's Jumping Frog' and Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart', unfamiliar works by well-known authors, such as Ernest Hemingway's 'Out of Season', Stephen Crane's 'An Episode of War' and F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Lost Decade', and some remarkable stories by wonderful but less well known writers such as Mary Wilkins Freeman and Charles W. Chestnutt who deserve a wider audience. There are 31 stories, covering 199 years (that is, the first story was published in 1807; the last is from 2006). The final three authors are Lorrie Moore, Jhumpa Lahiri and Lydia Davis.