a taste of the world's best short stories


Nineteenth Century American Stories

  1. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
    Anyone who has ever read 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' is guaranteed to never forget it. - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  2. Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville
    Before delving into Herman Melville's 'Bartleby the Scrivener,' it might help to define the unfamiliar term in the story's title... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  3. Christmas Every Day by William Dean Howells
    In William Dean Howells' short story 'Christmas Every Day,' a little girl asks her father to tell her a story. The father... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  4. Daisy Miller by Henry James
    In his novella Daisy Miller, Henry James shows how during the late Victorian era, a newly-affluent moneyed middle class began moving into... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  5. Editha by William Dean Howells
    William Dean Howells' Editha: In the twentieth century, we are all too familiar with the horror of war. We see it emblazoned on our television and... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  6. Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe
    In 'Ligeia,' Edgar Allan Poe has written a love story with a bizarre twist. His unnamed narrator is married to a beautiful, dark-haired woman,... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  7. Murders on the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
    In Poe's 'Murders on the Rue Morgue,' his fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin, together with Dupin's friend and narrator, read in the... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  8. Rappaccini's Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    In Rappaccini's Daughter, Hawthorne tells the tale of a botanist who has raised his daughter as a rare flower in a clinically-controlled setting. - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  9. The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'The Birthmark': Nathaniel Hawthorne saw in his era's fascination with scientific methods, apparatus, and experiments a temptation,... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  10. The Boarded Window by Ambrose Bierce
    In addition to ironic stories of war, Ambrose Bierce also excelled in ironic stories of horror. In 'The Boarded Window,' he draws... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  11. The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
    As in "The Tell-Tale Heart," the narrator of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" also fails to explain precisely why he is so... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  12. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
    In the 'Fall of the House of Usher,' Edgar Allan Poe's narrator goes to visit his old school friend Roderick Usher at the decaying and... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  13. The Ghostly Rental by Henry James
    Henry James' "The Ghostly Rental" deals with a young man, a newcomer in town, who loves to take walks for exercise. On one of his... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  14. The Men in the Storm by Stephen Crane
    Stephen Crane's "The Men in the Storm" is a depiction of a group of men outside a soup kitchen during a New York City... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  15. The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Hawthorne begins his odd story 'The Minister's Black Veil' with a dramatic, yet unexplained, change in the appearance of... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  16. The Open Boat by Stephen Crane
    "The Open Boat" is a fictionalized account of a very traumatic personal experience in Crane's life: a ship on which he was a... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  17. The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe
    The word 'purloined,' which is no longer in contemporary use, simply means 'stolen.' In this story by Edgar Allan Poe, the letter in question... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  18. The Real Thing by Henry James
    It is frequently difficult to pin down what a work by Henry James is about, not because his stories have no plot, but because they are so... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  19. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
    In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," the author moves away from the typical Gothic writer's fascination with remote and eerie... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  20. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
    The narrator of Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw is a young governess, who has been hired to care for two enchanting children... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  21. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    The Yellow Wallpaper was one of the first works to chronicle the process of going insane. Its harrowing quality... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  22. William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe
    One of the best examples of Edgar Allan Poe's obsession with the theme of the 'Doppelganger' or double can be found in his extremely peculiar story... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo
  23. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    In Hawthorne's 'Young Goodman Brown,' a young man from Salem, Massachusetts leaves his bride Faith and goes into the forest on... - Commentary by Karen Bernardo