61. (Eudora Welty)

Eudora Welty is as inaccessible a writer of short fiction as any. Like Hawthorne, she writes short stories that sit at a distance from realism. It is not the supernatural, per se, that sets her stories apart from realism; it is instead their being stubbornly captivated by a gravitational pull towards allegory. In the hands of Hawthorne and Welty, the short story forces before the … Continue reading 61. (Eudora Welty)

53. (Flannery O’Connor)

Irony, so common, sets her apart. She is ironic without archness, without super-subtlety, without glib or coy superiority, without contempt, without cynicism, even without skepticism, and without self-satisfaction. Her irony does not flash out from of history’s tragedies; neither does it peek from life’s more curious byways. It is neither tragic nor comic. Even accepting that irony is everywhere in literature, hers is unlike that … Continue reading 53. (Flannery O’Connor)

5. (D.H. Lawrence)

V.S. Pritchett, introducing his edition of the Oxford Book of Short Stories, admits that he admires D.H. Lawrence most as a master of that form–short narrative–rather than as a novelist or poet ( a claim he makes elsewhere, in his 1980 review of a Lawrence biography for the NYRB). For fine criticism of the stories, we can turn to R.P. Blackmur–an ironic place to look, since … Continue reading 5. (D.H. Lawrence)