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New Year's Resolution: Short Stories from The New Yorker

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It’s January 2, 2008, an ideal time to announce my New Yorker-related resolution for the year.

A few months ago, I bought on eBay a three-volume set called Short Stories from the New Yorker. Volume 1 covers the years 1925-1940, volume 2 covers 1940-1950, and volume 3 covers 1950-1960. It comes in a handsome slipcase. Each volume has roughly 55 to 60 stories. All told, there must be about 170 stories in there.

Here’s what two of the books look like:

Handsome, no? (Why did The New Yorker discontinue this practice — who wouldn’t want to have “the best New Yorker stories of all time” on the old bookshelf?)

Similar to the “Best American” posts we did recently (essays, short stories), I thought it would be useful to post a list of the stories included in this anthology set as well. If nothing else, it will give us an idea which stories from the magazine’s first 35 years were seen as the most rewarding from the point of view of the New Yorker editors themselves. That list appears at the end of this post. (As of this writing, I only have vols. 1 and 3 in postable form, but I’ll get vol. 2 up as soon as I am reunited with that volume in a couple of weeks.)

Oh, right—the resolution. I intend to read all of these stories. I don’t know if it’ll all be in calendar year 2008, but I’m going to read them, and I’m going to post about them. I’ve always felt that two of my weak points with respect to The New Yorker are the magazine before 1960 and the fiction—so this is a good way to become more expert in both of those areas. I will post periodically on my reading progress. Stay tuned. —Martin Schneider

Dorothy Parker, “Arrangement in Black and White,” 10/8/1927
Marc Connelly, “Barmecide’s Feast,” 12/24/1927
Kay Boyle, “Kroy Wen,” 7/25/1931
Joel Sayre, “Love in the Snow,” 1/9/1932
Kay Boyle, “Black Boy,” 5/14/1932
George Milburn, “The Apostate,” 6/4/1932
John Horgan, “Parochial School,” 4/1/1933
Louise Bogan, “Conversation Piece,” 8/12/1933
Edwin Corle, “The Great Manta,” 5/5/1934
Janet Flanner, “Venetian Perspective,” 8/25/1934
Nancy Hale, “Midsummer,” 9/8/1934
John O’Hara, “Over the River and Through the Wood,” 12/15/1934
Tess Slesinger, “Mr. Palmer’s Party,” 4/27/1935
Morley Callaghan, “All the Years of Her Life,” 6/8/1935
Thomas Wolfe, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn,” 6/15/1935
Nancy Hale, “The Great-Grandmother,” 12/7/1935
Jerome Weidman, “Chutzbah,” 2/29/1936
Donald Moffat, “Fish Story,” 5/9/1936
William Krauss, “Accident Near Charlottesburg,” 5/16/1936
Sherwood Anderson, “Nice Girl,” 7/25/1936
Robert M. Coates, “The Fury,” 8/15/1936
Erskine Caldwell, “A Small Day,” 8/22/1936
St. Clair McKelway, “Ping-Pong,” 9/12/1936
Emily Hahn, “My Sister Frances,” 3/20/1937
James Reid Parker, “Honors and Awards,” 6/12/1937
Erskine Caldwell, “Man and Woman,” 7/10/1937
Arthur Kober, “A Letter From the Bronx,” 10/30/1937
Albert Maltz, “Incident on a Street Corner,” 11/27/1937
William Maxwell, “Homecoming,” 1/1/1938
Sally Benson, “Little Woman,” 1/8/1938
Richard Lockridge, “The Nice Judge Trowbridge,” 1/29/1938
Dorothy Parker, “Soldiers of the Republic,” 2/5/1938
Sally Benson, “Home Atmosphere,” 3/12/1938
John O’Hara, “Are We Leaving Tomorrow?” 3/19/1938
Wolcott Gibbs, “The Courtship of Milton Barker,” 4/9/1938
Jerome Weidman, “The Explorers,” 5/21/1938
Sally Benson, “Profession: Housewife,” 7/2/1938
John Collier, “Wet Saturday,” 7/16/1938
Mollie Panter-Downes, “Pastoral at Mr. Pipers,” 8/6/1938
R.H. Newman, “I’ve Got an Anchor on My Chest,” 11/12/1938
Mark Schorer, “Potrait of Ladies,” 1/14/1939
Irwin Shaw, “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses,” 2/4/1939
Benedict Thielen, “Tourist Home,” 2/11/1939
Walter Bernstein, “Houseparty,” 2/11/1939
John O’Hara, “Do You Like It Here?” 2/18/1939
Irwin Shaw, “Sailor Off the Bremen,” 2/25/1939
James Thurber, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” 3/18/1939
E.B. White, “The Door,” 3/25/1939
Oliver La Farge, “Prelude to Reunion,” 4/15/1939
Dorothy Thomas, “The Getaway,” 5/20/1939
Dawn Powell, “Such a Pretty Day,” 6/24/1939
Irwin Shaw, “Main Currents of American Thought,” 8/5/1939
Daniel Fuchs, “Love In Brooklyn,” 9/2/1939
Joseph Mitchell, “Goodbye, Shirley Temple,” 9/16/1939
Russell Maloney, “A Toast to Captain Jerk,” 9/30/1939
Christopher Isherwood, “I Am Waiting,” 10/21/1939
John Cheever, “The Happiest Days,” 11/4/1939
Robert M. Coates, “A Different World,” 11/25/1939
John C. Mosher, “In the Honor of Their Daughter,” 12/2/1939
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, “The Pelican’s Shadow,” 1/6/1940
Robert M. Coates, “The Net,” 1/27/1940
Brendan Gill, “The Knife,” 3/16/1940
Christopher La Farge, “A Matter of Pride,” 4/20/1940
Angelica Gibbs, “The Test,” 6/15/1940

J.F. Powers, “Death of a Favourite,” 7/1/1950
Sylvia Townsend Warner, “The Children’s Grandmother,” 11/25/1950
Peter Taylor, “What You Heard from ’Em?” 2/10/1951
Oliver La Farge, “Wedding at Rociada,” 6/16/1951
Vladimir Nabokov, “Lance,” 2/2/1952
Tennessee Williams, “Three Players of a Summer Game,” 11/1/1952
Eudora Welty, “Kin,” 11/15/1952
Nadine Gordimer, “Six Feet of the Country,” 5/23/1953
Richard Wilbur, “A Game of Catch,” 7/18/1953
Jean Stafford, “In the Zoo,” 9/19/1953
Elizabeth Bishop, “In the Village,” 12/19/1953
Daniel Fuchs, “The Golden West,” 7/10/1954
Nancy Hale, “The Bubble,” 7/24/1954
John Cheever, “The Country Husband,” 11/20/1954
Dorothy Parker, “I Live on Your Visits,” 1/15/1955
Saul Bellow, “A Father-to-Be,” 2/5/1955
Calvin Kentfield, “The Bell of Charity,” 7/16/1955
J.D. Salinger, “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters,” 11/19/1955
Robert M. Coates, “Return,” 5/26/1956
Frank O’Connor, “The Man of the World,” 7/28/1956
Natacha Stewart, “Chopin,” 8/25/1956
William Maxwell, “The French Scarecrow,” 10/6/1956
Richard T. Gill, “The Code,” 1/5/1957
Mavis Gallant, “Bernadette,” 1/12/1957
Elizabeth Hardwick, “The Classless Society,” 1/19/1957
Mary McCarthy, “Ask Me No Questions,” 3/23/1957
Elizabeth Taylor, “The Rose, the Mauve, the White,” 6/22/1957
Harold Brodkey, “Sentimental Education,” 7/6/1957
Penelope Mortimer, “The Parson,” 7/20/1957
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, “The Interview,” 7/27/1957
Angus Wilson, “More Friend Than Lodger,” 8/10/1957
Arturo Vivante, “The Stream,” 8/23/1958
Walter Stone, “Reason Not the Need,” 9/27/1958
Edith Templeton, “Elegant Economy,” 10/4/1958
Niccoló Tucci, “Terror and Grief,” 11/15/1958
Benedict Kiely, “The White Wild Bronco,” 12/20/1958
John Updike, “The Happiest I’ve Been,” 1/3/1959
Roald Dahl, “The Champion of the World,” 1/31/1959
Robert Henderson, “Immortality,” 2/7/1959
V.S. Pritchett, “Just a Little More,” 2/28/1959
Philip Roth, “Defender of the Faith,” 3/14/1959
Maeve Brennan, “The Rose Garden,” 3/28/1959
Elizabeth Spencer, “First Dark,” 6/20/1959
Julia Strachey, “Can’t You Get Me Out of Here?” 1/23/1960
Mary Lavin, “In a Cafe,” 2/13/1960
St. Clair McKelway, “First Marriage,” 4/2/1960
Roger Angell, “Cote D’Azur,” 6/11/1960


Martin, you’re a champ! I think Dahl’s “The Champion of the World” later became his book Danny the Champion of the World.

And hey, I was preparing to write a post on this Angell story! Jonathan Schwartz was praising it on the radio just a week or two ago. It was one of his classic extended riffs on a theme, not necessarily music-related; in this case, though, it was the album title Ella & Duke at the Côte D’Azur that reminded him of Angell’s story, which he urged listeners to check out. Now they know where to find it!

Ah, serendipity, that’s swell.

I’m sure you’re right about the Dahl thing. If it’s true, I would certainly consider adding that to the “That first appeared in the New Yorker??” pile. I think I missed Danny; my Dahl consumption is limited to the Charlie books and story collections like Kiss Kiss and Switch Bitch.

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