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O. Henry

Selected Stories

O. Henry Selected Stories
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Biographical note:

William Sydney Porter (1862-1910) published all of his work—a novel and some 300 short stories—under the pseudonym 0. Henry. His talent for vivid caricature, local tone, narrative agility, and compassion tempered by irony made him a vastly popular writer in the last decade of his life. He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, to ordinary middle-class parents and worked in an uncle’s drugstore as a youth, becoming a certified pharmacist. Like many Southerners after the Civil War, he sought his fortune in the West, holding various jobs (newspaper work, clerking in a land office, a teller at an Austin bank). Charged with embezzlement in 1894, he fled to Honduras, returning in 1897 to be with his ill and dying wife. His conviction was caused more by his eluding trial than by the conflicting evidence of theft. In the Ohio State Penitentiary (1898-1901), he began to write the stories that made him famous. He moved to New York, remarried, and kept his identity a secret from all but a few friends. He is buried in Asheville, North Carolina. He is universally honored for his mastery of the short story and for his humane spirit.
Guy Davenport, a critic and writer of fiction, is best known for two books of essays, The Geography of the Imagination and Every Force Evolves a Form. He has published seven collections of short stories and numerous translations of early Greek poets and playwrights. Now retired, he was a professor of English at the University of Kentucky from 1964 to 1990. He is also a painter and illustrator.

Table of contents:

Selected Stories Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading

From The Four Million (1906)
The Coming-Out of Maggie
A Service of Love
Between Rounds
An Unfinished Story
After Twenty Years
By Courier

From The Trimmed Lamp (1907)
The Pendulum
The Buyer from Cactus City
Brickdust Row
The Foreign Policy of Company 99
The Count and the Wedding Guest
The Country of Elusion

From Heart of the West (1907)
The Ransom of Mack
The Higher Abdication
A Call Loan
The Princess and the Puma
The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson
The Reformation of Calliope

From The Voice of the City (1908)
The Complete Life of Johns Hopkins
Doughtery's Eye-Opener
While the Auto Waits
The Defeat of the City
The Plutonian Fire
Squaring the Circle
The Fool-Killer
Transients in Arcadia
Extradited from Bohemia
From Each According to His Ability
The Memento

From The Gentle Grafter (1908)
Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet
Modern Rural Sports
The Man Higher Up
Hostages to Momus

From Roads of Destiny (1909)
The Guardian of the Accolade
Phoebe
A Double-Dyed Deceiver
A Retrieved Reformation
Friends in San Rosario
The Emancipation of Billy
A Departmental Case
The Renaissance at Charleroi
Two Renegades

From Options (1909)
"The Rose of Dixie"
Schools and Schools
Thimble, Thimble
The Moment of Victory
No Story

From Strictly Business (1910)
The Gold That Glittered
The Day Resurgent
The Thing's the Play
A Municipal Report
Proof of the Pudding
The Venturers

From Whirligigs (1910)
The Theory and the Hound
The Ransom of Red Chief
The Whirligig of Life
The Roads We Take
A Blackjack Bargainer
One Dollar's Worth
Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

From Sixes and Sevens (1911)
Witches' Loaves
The Duplicity of Hargraves
October and June
The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

From Rolling Stones (1912)
The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear
The Marquis and Miss Sally

From Waifs and Strays (1917)
Out of Nazareth
Hearts and Hands


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