Reference > Cambridge History > Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I > The Short Story > Bunner
  Stockton Bierce  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

VI. The Short Story.

§ 18. Bunner.


Another who did much to advance the short story toward the mechanical perfection it had attained to at the close of the century was Henry Cuyler Bunner 11  (1855–96), editor of Puck and creator of some of the most exquisite vers de société of the period. The title of one of his collections, Made in France: French Tales with a U. S. Twist, forms an introduction to his fiction. Not that he was an imitator; few have been more original or have put more of their own personality into their work. His genius was Gallic. Like Aldrich, he approached the short story from the fastidious standpoint of the lyric poet. With him, as with Aldrich, art was a matter of exquisite touches, of infinite compression, of almost imperceptible shadings. The lurid splashes and the heavy emphasis of the local colourists offended his sensitive taste: he would work with suggestion, with microscopic focussings, and always with dignity and elegance. He was more American than Henry James, more even than Aldrich. He chose always distinctively native subjects,—New York City was his favourite theme,—and his work had more depth of soul than Stockton’s or Aldrich’s. The story may be trivial, a mere expanded anecdote, yet it is sure to be so vitally treated that, like Maupassant’s work, it grips and remains, and, what is more, it lifts and chastens or explains. It may be said with assurance that Short Sixes marks one of the high places which have been attained by the American short story.   45

Note 11. See also Book II, Chap. XXIII, and Book III, Chap. IX. [ back ]

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  Stockton Bierce  
 
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