The Best British short stories (1922) edited by Edward O'Brien

The Best British short stories (1922) 
The Best British short stories (1922)


Contents of the book:

The Pipe-Smoker. By Martin Armstrong 3
From The Fortnightly Review
Time. By H. E. Bates 11
From The New Statesman and Nation and Story
A Glass of Stout. By T. 0. Beachcroft 16
From The London Mercury
The Facts About Benjamin Crede. By Neil Bell 28
From The London Mercury
Love’s Labour’s Lost. By Anthony Bertram 48
From John London's Weekly
The Red Hen. By Peter Blundell 58
From The Windsor Magazine
The Tommy Crans. By Elizabeth Bowen 69
From The Listener
Prince of Obolo. By Roger Dataller 76
From The London Mercury
The Inn. By Louis Golding 90
From Time and Tide
A Gamble in Clocks. By Richard Plunket Greene 94
From Life and Letters
Three, or Four, for Dinner? By L. P. Hartley 101
From Life and Letters
Confessional. By Myrtle Johnston 117
From The Cornhill Magazine
Twenty Years After. By Janko Lavrin 129
From The New English Weekly
The Way Home. By Or gill Mackenzie 135
From The A del phi
God Came Running. By H. A. Manhood 146
From The New Statesman and Nation
Whispering. By Allan N . Monkhouse 151
From The Manchester Guardian
Bones of Contention. By Frank O'Connor 155
From The Yale Review
Our Father. By James Stern 169
From The London Mercury
Flowers for a Lady. By Eisdell Tucker 175
. From The A del phi
Their Fellow-Prisoner. By Urith Voyle 184
From Blackwood's Magazine
Home to Wagonhouses. By Malachi Whitaker 197
From John London's Weekly
The Stream. By E. H. Young . 204
From Good Housekeeping, London
The Yearbook of the British, Irish, and Colonial Short
Story 231

Excerpt from the book introduction:

Last year I suggested that the British short story was simply marking time and that the most fruitful advance at the moment was to be seen in America. The new American generation had begun to realize, as a character in one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stories put it, that America Tost everything it wanted in the boom.’ The American short-story writers also were in grave danger of losing everything they wanted in the boom. The American magazines were corrupting them. These magazines were standardized and wanted standardized stories. Originality and sincerity were at a discount. 

They were practically unmarketable. Stories had to be written to patterns based on wish fulfillment, and for such stories, editors were paying fantastic prices. They bought no others. To a lesser degree, the situation is now the same in England. The number of periodicals printing short stories of any significance has shrunk alarmingly in the past two years. I find the field of my necessary reading for this series of books sharply contracted. 

There are fewer distinctive stories published, and I find it hard to believe that fewer are being written. In fact, manuscripts that come to me unsolicited suggest rather the opposite state of affairs. I am forced to believe that it is simply the channels of publication that are lacking. May I suggest a bold experiment that has already proved a success in America? In the spring of 1931, two American journal¬ ists in Vienna who were distinguished short-story writers launched a stenciled periodical called Story in which they had gathered together a group of short stories which had proved unwelcome to most American magazines.

 Greatly daring, they issued eighty copies of this typewritten pamphlet. It was the most distinguished literary magazine of our time. Copies of this first issue now fetch several guineas in the auction room. The edition was exhausted in two or three days. I found it necessary to reprint four stories from this issue in my American collection of stories for that year.

 The second issue was printed by a job printer in Vienna. Then the two journalists lost their means of livelihood overnight and with their small savings went to Mallorca to live cheaply. 

They took Story with them. It was a unique ‘little magazine’ because it appeared regularly every two months on time. It printed more fine short stories in two years than the entire American periodical press had succeeded in publishing in five, and this notwithstanding the fact that it could not afford to pay for contributions or to arrange for advertising its existence. It was not even distributed in an ordinary way.


editor: Edward Joseph Harrington O'Brien, 
Imprint varies: 1922-25, Boston, Small, Maynard & company; 1926-32, New York, Dodd, Mead & Company; 1933- Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company; 1940- Boston, Houghton Mifflin company

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