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The "Best American" Short Stories in The New Yorker, 1925 to the Present

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Here’s an introductory post on our use of the Best American series of books.

Yesterday we brought you the New Yorker essays that were listed in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Essays books; today, we do short stories.

If anything, The New Yorker’s preeminence is even more pronounced in short fiction than it is in the essay form. The number of New Yorker stories either reprinted or selected as “Notables” is so high that it endangers the project of these posts, which is to reduce New Yorker output perceived as “must-read” to a more manageable quantity. I would certainly listen to a skeptic who contended that The New Yorker’s dominance in this field is an exaggeration of the stories’ real worth. Let’s look at some numbers.

I only have data for five years as of this writing, all of them since 1998. Recently the tendency to select many, many New Yorker stories for the “Notables” section has gotten a little out of hand. Of the 54 stories that The New Yorker ran in 2004, Michael Chabon selected 30 as being “notable” or better. The year before, Lorrie Moore selected 31 of 56. I can see some logic in the argument that an outright majority of The New Yorker’s stories is too many. However, the quality of the stories is the final arbiter; it is always possible that The New Yorker is simply having a good run.

The other years for which I have data are a bit more normal. Twenty a year seems to be a typical figure, and in my opinion this is a more reasonable number. If, as we add years, the number stays closer to twenty, then I think the list is a bit more useful. (We hear all the time from readers who find The New Yorker’s weekly output overwhelming, so a smaller cut might be just what the doctor ordered.)

By the way, as The New Yorker is to other magazines, Alice Munro is to other writers. In only five years’ worth of data, Munro had a whopping eleven stories selected. (I would have guessed Updike, who had a mere seven.)

Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Short Stories series predates The New Yorker itself, going all the way back to 1915. So in theory, we may be able to post lists that cover The New Yorker’s entire history. If you want to haunt your local library and help us secure this data, by all means send authors and titles (dates are not necessary) to martin@emdashes.com.

As always, we hope you find these useful. —Martin Schneider

“Best American Short Stories” originating in The New Yorker:

Christopher Isherwood, “I Am Waiting,” 10/21/1939

John Cheever, “The Pleasures of Solitude,” 1/24/1942
Irwin Shaw, “Preach on the Dusty Roads,” 8/22/1942
Grace Flandrau, “What Do You See, Dear Enid?” 9/26/1942
Jerome Weidman, “Philadelphia Express,” 10/10/1942
James Thurber, “The Catbird Seat,” 11/14/1942

Astrid Meighan, “Shoe the Horse and Shoe the Mare,” 1/2/1943
Shirley Jackson, “Come Dance with Me in Ireland,” 5/15/1943
Hazel Hawthorne, “More Like a Coffin,” 6/26/1943
Elizabeth Parsons Warner, “An Afternoon,” 7/31/1943
Noel Houston, “A Local Skirmish,” 9/11/1943
Mary Mian, “Exiles from the Creuse,” 12/25/1943

Leane Zugsmith, “This Is a Love Story,” 1/22/1944
Louis Bromfield, “Crime Passionnel,” 3/25/1944
Emily Hahn, “It Never Happened,” 6/24/1944
Carlos Bulosan, “My Brother Osong’s Career in Politics,” 7/22/1944
Irwin Shaw, “Gunners’ Passage,” 7/22/1944
Robert McLaughlin, “Poor Everybody,” 8/26/1944
John McNulty, “Don’t Scrub Off These Names,” 9/16/1944

A.J. Liebling, “Run, Run, Run, Run,” 9/29/1945

Irwin Shaw, “Act of Faith,” 2/2/1946
Victoria Lincoln, “Down in the Reeds by the River,” 9/28/1946

John Cheever, “The Enormous Radio,” 5/17/1947
E.B. White, “The Second Tree from the Corner,” 5/31/1947
Ray Bradbury, “I See You Never,” 11/8/1947

Jean Stafford, “Children Are Bored on Sunday,” 2/21/1948
Jessamyn West, “Road to the Isles,” 2/21/1948

Edward Newhouse, “My Brother’s Second Funeral,” 10/8/1949
Peter Taylor, “A Wife of Nashville,” 12/3/1949

John Cheever, “The Season of Divorce,” 3/4/1950
Nathan Asch, “Inland, Western Sea,” 4/29/1950
J.F. Powers, “Death of a Favorite,” 7/1/1950
Hortense Calisher, “In Greenwich, There Are Many Gravelled Walks,” 8/12/1950
Roger Angell, “Flight Through the Dark,” 12/9/1950
Jean Stafford, “The Nemesis,” 12/16/1950

Jean Stafford, “The Healthiest Girl in Town,” 4/7/1951
Nancy Cardozo, “The Unborn Ghosts,” 6/30/1951
Elizabeth Enright, “The First Face,” 12/15/1951

Robert M. Coates, “The Need,” 8/30/1952
Tennessee Williams, “Three Players of a Summer Game,” 11/1/1952
Christine Weston, “The Forest of the Night,” 11/22/1952

Irwin Shaw, “Tip on a Dead Jockey,” 3/6/1954
Oliver La Farge, “The Resting Place,” 10/16/1954
John Cheever, “The Country Husband,” 11/20/1954

Richard Thurman, “Not Another Word,” 5/25/1957
Jean Stafford, “A Reasonable Facsimile,” 8/3/1957
James Agee, “The Waiting,” 10/5/1957
Dorothy Parker, “The Banquet of Crow,” 12/14/1957

Robert M. Coates, “Getaway,” 2/22/1958
John Cheever, “The Bella Lingua,” 3/1/1958
John Updike, “A Gift from the City,” 4/12/1958

Philip Roth, “Defender of the Faith,” 3/14/1959
Elizabeth Hardwick, “The Purchase,” 5/30/1959
Mavis Gallant, “August,” 8/29/1959

St. Clair McKelway, “First Marriage,” 4/2/1960
Mary Lavin, “The Yellow Beret,” 11/12/1960
Peter Taylor, “Miss Leonora When Last Seen,” 11/19/1960

Mary Lavin, “In the Middle of the Fields,” 6/3/1961
Donald Hall, “A Day on Ragged,” 8/12/1961
John Updike, “Pigeon Feathers,” 8/19/1961

Mary Lavin, “Heart of Gold,” 6/27/1964
Mary Lavin, “One Summer,” 9/11/1965
William Maxwell, “Further Tales About Men and Women,” 12/11/1965

Ethan Ayer, “The Promise of Heat,” 9/3/1966
Berry Morgan, “Andrew,” 7/2/1966
Henry Roth, “The Surveyor,” 8/6/1966

Joanna Ostrow, “Celtic Twilight,” 4/29/1967

Maeve Brennan, “The Eldest Child,” 6/2/1968
Mary Lavin, “Happiness,” 12/14/1968

Jose Yglesias, “The Guns in the Closet,” 11/20/1971

Mary Lavin, “Tom,” 1/20/1973
John Updike, “Son,” 4/21/1973
Arturo Vivante, “Honeymoon,” 11/26/1973

Alice Adams, “Roses, Rhododendron,” 1/27/1975
Donald Barthelme, “The School,” 6/17/1974
John Updike, “The Man Who Loved Extinct Mammals,” 7/21/1975
Lyll Becerra de Jenkins, “Tyranny,” 11/25/1974

William Saroyan, “A Fresno Fable,” 1/19/1976
Patricia Hampl, “Look at a Teacup,” 6/28/1976
Anne Tyler, “Your Place Is Empty,” 11/22/1976

1977 (Ted Solotaroff, editor)
Mark Helprin, “The Schreuderspitze,” 1/10/1977
Peter Taylor, “In the Miro District,” 2/7/1977
Peter Marsh, “By the Yellow Lake,” 8/8/1977
Elizabeth Cullinan, “A Good Loser,” 8/15/1977

1978 (Joyce Carol Oates, editor)
Donald Barthelme, “The New Music,” 6/19/1978
Saul Bellow, “A Silver Dish, 9/25/1978

1980 (Hortense Calisher, editor)
Elizabeth McGrath, “Fogbound in Avalon,” 2/4/1980
Cynthia Ozick, “The Shawl,” 5/26/1980
Elizabeth Tallent, “Ice,” 9/15/1980
John Updike, “Still of Some Use,” 10/6/1980
Bobbie Ann Mason, “Shiloh,” 10/20/1980
Larry Woiwode, “Change,” 12/1/1980
Elizabeth Hardwick, “The Bookseller,” 12/15/1980
Joseph McElroy, “The Future,” 12/22/1980

1982 (Anne Tyler, editor)
Raymond Carver, “Where I’m Calling From,” 3/15/1982
Wright Morris, “Victrola,” 4/12/1982
Marian Thurm, “Starlight,” 5/10/1882
John Updike, “Deaths of Distant Friends,” 6/7/1982
Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Professor’s Houses,” 11/1/1982
Larry Woiwode, “Firstborn,” 11/22/1982
Bill Barich, “Hard to Be Good,” 12/20/1982

1983 (John Updike, editor)
Cynthia Ozick, “Rosa,” 3/21/1983
Norman Rush, “Bruins,” 4/4/1983
Susan Minot, “Thorofare,” 6/27/1983
Wright Morris, “Glimpse Into Another Country,” 9/26/1983
Mavis Gallant, “Lena,” 10/31/1983

1984 (Gail Godwin, editor)
Wright Morris, “Fellow-Creatures,” 12/31/1984

1985 (Raymond Carver, editor)
David Lipsky, “Three Thousand Dollars, 11/11/1985
Donald Barthelme, “Basil from Her Garden,” 11/21/1985

1986 (Ann Beattie, editor)
Raymond Carver, “Boxes,” 2/24/1986
Elizabeth Tallent, “Favor,” 4/21/1986
Mavis Gallant, “Kingdom Come,” 9/8/1986
John Updike, “The Afterlife,” 9/15/1986
Susan Sontag, “The Way We Live Now,” 11/24/1986

1987 (Mark Helprin, editor)
Mavis Gallant, “Dédé,” 1/5/1987
Raymond Carver, “Errand,” 6/1/1987
Robert Stone, “Helping,” 6/8/1987

1988 (Margaret Atwood, editor)
Michael Cunningham, “White Angel,” 7/25/1988
Mavis Gallant, “The Concert Party,” 1/25/1988
Alice Munro, “Meneseteung,” 1/11/1988

1990 (Alice Adams, editor)
Alice Munro, “Friend of My Youth,” 1/22/1990
Deborah Eisenberg, “The Custodian,” 3/12/1990
Lorrie Moore, “Willing,” 5/14/1990
John Updike, “A Sandstone Farmhouse,” 6/11/1990
Charles D’Ambrosio, Jr., “The Point,” 10/1/1990
Harriet Doerr, “Another Short Day in La Luz,” 12/24/1990

1994 (Jane Smiley, editor)
Steven Polansky, “Leg,” 1/24/1994
Thom Jones, “Way Down Deep in the Jungle,” 3/14/1994
Jamaica Kincaid, “Xuela,” 5/9/1994

1995 (John Edgar Wideman, editor)
Jamaica Kincaid, “In Roseau,” 4/17/1995
Robert Olen Butler, “Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot,” 5/22/1995
Angela Patrinos, “Sculpture 1,” 7/24/1995
Stuart Dybek, “Paper Lantern,” 11/27/1995

1996 (E. Annie Proulx, editor)
Richard Bausch, “Nobody in Hollywood,” 5/13/1996
Cynthia Ozick, “Save My Child!” 6/24/1996
T. Coraghessan Boyle, “Killing Babies,” 12/2/1996

1997 (Garrison Keillor, editor)
Lorrie Moore, “People Like That Are the Only People Here,” 1/27/1997
John Updike, “My Father on the Verge of Disgrace,” 3/10/1997
Chris Adrian, “Every Night for a Thousand Years: a Story of the Civil War,” 10/6/1997

1998 (Amy Tan, editor)
Junot Diaz, “The Sun, the Moon, the Stars,” 2/2/1998
Amy Bloom, “Night Vision,” 2/16/1998
John Updike, “Natural Color,” 3/23/1998
Jhumpa Lahiri, “A Temporary Matter,” 4/20/1998
Annie Proulx, “The Mud Below,” 6/22/1998
Alice Munro, “Save the Reaper,” 6/22/1998
David Long, “Morphine,” 7/20/1998
Louise Erdrich, “Naked Woman Playing Chopin,” 7/27/1998
Lorrie Moore, “Real Estate,” 8/17/1998
Gish Jen, “Who’s Irish?,” 9/14/1998
Tim O’Brien, “The Streak,” 9/28/1998
Cynthia Ozick, “Actors,” 10/5/1998
Alice Munro, “Cortes Island,” 10/12/1998
T. Coraghessan Boyle, “Mexico,” 10/19/1998
Mary Gaitskill, “A Dream of Men,” 11/23/1998
Annie Proulx, “The Bunchgrass Edge of the World,” 11/30/1998
Julie Hecht, “Over There,” 12/7/1998
Richard Ford, “Creche,” 12/28/1998
Jhumpa Lahiri, “Sexy,” 12/28/1998

1999 (E.L. Doctorow, editor)
Allan Gurganus, “He’s at the Office,” 2/15/1999
Aleksandar Hemon, “Blind Jozef Pronek,” 4/19/1999
Jhumpa Lahiri, “The Third and Final Continent,” 6/21/1999
Junot Diaz, “Nilda,” 10/4/1999
Walter Mosley, “Pet Fly,” 12/13/1999

2000 (Barbara Kingsolver, editor)
Richard Ford, “Quality Time,” 1/31/2000
Andrea Lee, “Brothers and Sisters Around the World,” 2/7/2000
Alice Munro, “Nettles,” 2/21/2000
T. Coraghessan Boyle, “The Love of My Life,” 3/6/2000
Alice McDermott, “Enough,” 4/10/2000
Louise Erdrich, “Revival Road,” 4/17/2000
Tom Drury, “Chemistry,” 4/24/2000
Matthew Klam, “European Wedding,” 5/8/2000
Richard Ford, “Reunion,” 5/15/2000
John Updike, “Personal Archeology,” 5/29/2000
ZZ Packer, “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere,” 6/19/2000
David Schickler, “The Smoker,” 6/19/2000
Lucinda Rosenfeld, “The Male Gaze,” 7/3/2000
Andrea Lee, “Interesting Women,” 7/17/2000
Alice Munro, “Floating Bridge,” 7/31/2000
Tim O’Brien, “Winnipeg,” 8/14/2000
Edwidge Danticat, “Water Child,” 9/11/2000
Robert J. Lennon, “No Life,” 9/11/2000
Marisa Silver, “What I Saw from Where I Stood,” 10/30/2000
Ann Beattie, “The Women of This World,” 11/20/2000
Tobias Wolff, “The Most Basic Plan,” 11/27/2000
Alice Munro, “Post and Beam,” 12/11/2000
Junot Diaz, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” 12/25/2000
Richard Ford, “Calling,” 12/25/2000

2001 (Sue Miller, editor)
John Updike, “Free,” 1/8/2001
Richard Yates, “The Canal,” 1/15/2001
Andrea Lee, “The Birthday Present,” 1/22/2001
Stephen King, “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away,” 1/29/2001
Alice Munro, “What Is Remembered,” 2/19/2001
Jhumpa Lahiri, “Nobody’s Business,” 3/12/2001
John Updike, “The Guardians,” 3/26/2001
Ann Beattie, “That Last Odd Day in L.A.,” 4/16/2001
E.L. Doctorow, “A House on the Plains,” 6/18/2001
Nell Freudenberger, “Lucky Girls,” 6/18/2001
Alice Munro, “Family Furnishings,” 7/23/2001
Arthur Miller, “Bulldog,” 8/13/2001
Edwidge Danticat, “Seven,” 10/1/2001
Alice Munro, “Comfort,” 10/8/2001
Louise Erdrich, “The Butcher’s Wife,” 10/15/2001
Ann Beattie, “Find and Replace,” 11/5/2001
Leonard Michaels, “Nachman from Los Angeles,” 11/12/2001
Michael Chabon, “Along the Frontage Road,” 11/19/2001
Akhil Sharma, “Surrounded by Sleep,” 12/10/2001

2002 (Walter Mosley, editor)
David Schickler, “Jamaica,” 1/7/2002
Sam Shepard, “An Unfair Question,” 3/11/2002
E.L. Doctorow, “Baby Wilson,” 3/25/2002
Don DeLillo, “Baader-Meinhof,” 4/1/2002
Leonard Michaels, “Of Mystery There Is No End,” 4/8/2002
Arthur Miller, “The Performance,” 4/22/2002
Andrea Lee, “The Prior’s Room,” 5/6/2002
Grace Paley, “My Father Addresses Me On the Facts of Old Age,” 6/17/2002
Robert Stone, “Fun With Problems,” 7/15/2002
Alice Munro, “Fathers,” 8/5/2002
Frederick Reiken, “The Ocean,” 9/9/2002
Jessica Shattuck, “Bodies,” 9/30/2002
Charles D’Ambrosio, “Drummond & Son,” 10/7/2002
Aleksandar Hemon, “The Bees, Part I,” 10/14/2002
Maile Meloy, “Travis, B.,” 10/28/2002
Antonya Nelson, “Only a Thing,” 11/4/2002
T. Coraghessan Boyle, “Dogology,” 11/11/2002
James Salter, “Last Night,” 11/18/2002
ZZ Packer, “The Ant of the Self,” 11/25/2002
Louise Erdrich, “Shamengwa,” 12/2/2002

2003 (Lorrie Moore, editor)
John Updike, “Sin: Early Impressions,” 12/9/2003
Arthur Miller, “The Bare Manuscript,” 12/16/2003
Annie Proulx, “The Trickle-Down Effect,” 12/23/2002
E.L. Doctorow, “Jolene: A Life,” 12/23/2002
Thomas McGuane, “Gallatin Canyon,” 1/13/2003
George Saunders, “Jon,” 1/27/2003
Charles D’Ambrosio, “The High Divide,” 2/3/2003
Louise Erdrich, “The Painted Drum,” 3/3/2003
Caitlin Macy, “Christie,” 3/10/2003
David Schickler, “Wes Amerigo’s Giant Fear,” 3/17/2003
T. Coraghessan Boyle, “When I Woke Up This Morning, Everything I Had Was Gone,” 3/31/2003
Margot Livesey, “The Niece,” 4/7/2003
Maile Meloy, “Red from Green,” 4/14/2003
Sherman Alexie, “What You Pawn I Will Redeem,” 4/21/2003
Antonya Nelson, “Dick,” 5/5/2003
E.L. Doctorow, “Walter John Harmon,” 5/12/2003
David Bezmogis, “Tapka,” 5/19/2003
Heather Clay, “Original Beauty,” 6/16/2003
Lara Vapnyar, “Love Lessons Mondays, 9 a.m.,” 6/16/2003
Stephen King, “Harvey’s Dream,” 6/30/2003
John Updike, “The Walk With Elizanne,” 7/7/2003
Tobias Wolff, “The Benefit of the Doubt,” 7/14/2003
Edward P. Jones, “A Rich Man,” 8/4/2003
Alice Munro, “Runaway,” 8/11/2003
Annie Proulx, “What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick?” 8/18/2003
Dave Eggers, “Measuring the Jump,” 9/1/2003
Kevin Brockmeier, “The Brief History of the Dead,” 9/8/2003
Thomas McGuane, “Vicious Circle,” 9/22/2003
Louise Erdrich, “Love Snares,” 10/27/2003
Tony Earley, “Have You Seen the Stolen Girl?” 11/3/2003
T. Coraghessan Boyle, “Tooth and Claw,” 11/10/2003
Charles D’Ambrosio, “Screenwriter,” 12/8/2003
Edward P. Jones, “All Aunt Hagar’s Children,” 12/22/2003
Yiyun Li, “Extra,” 12/22/2003
Lorrie Moore, “Debarking,” 12/22/2003

2004 (Michael Chabon, editor)
Lara Vapnyar, “Broccoli,” 1/5/2004
Chang-Rae Lee, “Daisy,” 1/12/2004
George Saunders, “Bohemians,” 1/19/2004
John Updike, “Delicate Wives,” 2/2/2004
Andrea Lee, “La Ragazza,” 2/16/2004
T. Coraghessan Boyle, “Chicxulub,” 3/1/2004
Alice Munro, “Passion,” 3/22/2004
Jim Harrison , “Father Daughter,” 3/29/2004
Jonathan Lethem, “Super Goat Man,” 4/5/2004
Ann Beattie, “The Rabbit Hole as Likely Explanation,” 4/12/2004
Edward P. Jones, “Old Boys,” Old Girls,” 5/3/2004
Andrew Sean Greer, “The Islanders,” 5/17/2004
Jhumpa Lahiri, “Hell-Heaven,” 5/24/2004
David Means, “The Secret Goldfish,” 5/31/2004
Aleksandar Hemon, “Szmura’s Room,” 6/14/2004
Alice Munro, “Chance,” 6/14/2004
Alice Munro, “Silence,” 6/14/2004
Alice Munro, “Soon,” 6/14/2004
Louise Erdrich, “The Plague of Doves,” 6/28/2004 (audio)
John Updike, “Elsie by Starlight,” 7/5/2004
Judy Burnitz, “Miracle,” 7/12/2004
Annie Proulx, “Man Crawling Out of Trees,” 7/26/2004
Richard Ford, “The Shore,” 8/2/2004
George Saunders, “Adams,” 8/9/2004
Gina Oschner, “The Fractious South,” 8/23/2004
Joyce Carol Oates, “Spider Boy,” 9/20/2004
Charles D’Ambrosio, “The Scheme of Things,” 10/11/2004
Thomas McGuane, “Old Friends,” 10/25/2004
Alan Gurganus, “My Heart is a Snake Farm,” 11/22/2004
Edward P. Jones, “Adam Robinson,” 12/20/2004


Last year I cataloged all the stories from Best American from 1915-1940 for a grad class. I can get my lil’ excel spreadsheets to spit out a list of those just from the New Yorker, and I’m happy to share — but Martin, your email thinks I’m spam. e-mail me and I’ll send you what I’ve got.

Oh, wonderful! I would never think you were spam. I’ve e-mailed you.

Hi! I believe the short story “notables” are selected by the series editor, then Katrina Kenison, now Heidi Pitlor.

Arvin ReyesOctober 31, 2007

Thanks, Carolyn and Arvin!

Dear madam/sir
it is a great pleaure to have this chance of giving comments. First i would like to appreciate what you have provided as.One thing i could have to say is it would be a great help if the other stories as well can be active.

Fisseha DersoAugust 02, 2010

Why is there no John Ohara?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believed he had at least fifty short stories published in the New Yorker.

Paul OliverioApril 28, 2011

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