Katherine Anne Porter
Collected Stories and Other Writings
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965) • essays, reviews, and other writings
"Combines Porter's short stories collections—Flowering Judas and Other Stories; Pale Horse, Pale Rider; and The Leaning Tower and Other Stories—with a large dose of her short prose (reviews, criticism, essays, travel pieces, and more) that has long been unavailable. A ton of great stuff!"
— Library Journal
Read an exclusive interview with volume editor Darlene Harbour Unrue about Katherine Anne Porter. (PDF, 90 KB)
Read an excerpt, "Portrait: Old South." (PDF, 65 KB)
In the 1920s and ’30s, Katherine Anne Porter emerged as a classicist among the moderns, a lapidary miniaturist whose every short story was greeted as a thing of timeless perfection. Edmund Wilson called her “a first-rate artist” who wrote “English of a purity and precision almost unique in contemporary American fiction.” Her mastery of theme and gift for characterization were hers alone among the storywriters; even her shortest works were imbued with a richness of design, incident, and experience seldom found outside long novels. Her ambition and her range of emotion and effect—from cold realism to measureless compassion, from the plainspoken to the lyrical—were unequaled in her time and have had few successors. She was, and is forever, an American original.
The centerpiece of this Library of America edition of Porter’s shorter writings is The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965), the career-capping volume that won for its author a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Set in her native Texas and her beloved Mexico, in Greenwich Village, Berlin, and the gothic Old South, these are stories that, in the words of V. S. Pritchett, “suggest the whole rather than the surface of life.” They include her first, “María Concepción” (1922), the tale of a Mexican Indian who confronts her husband’s lover in a world where jealousy, revenge, and death are constant companions and the first allegiance is always to the living. Also her last, “Holiday” (1960), in which a young woman’s account of her summer vacation—as the paying guest of a family of German farmers on the Texas-Louisiana border—deepens into a meditation on mute suffering, the rituals of death, and the death-in-life that is the failure to recognize a fellow person’s humanity. All 26 stories—among them such masterpieces as “Flowering Judas,” “Noon Wine,” and “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”—are wide in vision but laser-sharp in focus; they exemplify, in the words of Mary Gordon, “the clarity and inclusiveness of the art we proclaim as great.”
Here too, in the most comprehensive selection ever published, are Porter’s short nonfiction writings, including speeches, notes, and essays on the writer’s craft, literary reflections on Hardy, Pound, and Welty, political dispatches from revolutionary Mexico, and a personal history of the Sacco-Vanzetti case—some 80 items in all, concluding with two previously uncollected essays in autobiography. Storyteller and critic, reporter and book reviewer, private citizen and public figure, Porter in this collection can at last be seen whole, in all her roles and variety and excellence. She is unforgettable, a multifaceted master of American prose.
Darlene Harbour Unrue, volume editor, is a professor of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the author, most recently, of Katherine Anne Porter: The Life of an Artist.Save $60 when you buy this book as part of the Southern Women Writers set—and get a FREE book!
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