Erskine Caldwell Short Stories

" . . . one could make a collection of twenty-five of Caldwell's stories which would reveal his talent and which would be a minor classic of American literature." - - James Korges, Erskine Caldwell (1969)

Caldwell wrote 150 short stories. 93 of these stories are contained in The Stories of Erskine Caldwell (University of Georgia Press 1996). Where to begin? The reader might take James Korges' advice as quoted above, and begin with the following 25 stories which appear most often in Caldwell scholars' lists of "his best."

"After-Image" (1932) Pagany

"An Autumn Courtship" (1931) This Quarter

"Candy-Man Beechum" (1935) Esquire
"In 'Candy-Man Beechum', my experiment was to see if I could convey the sense of dialect, the feeling of dialect, by the rhythm of a sentence instead of by the sound of speech." - - Erskine Caldwell in Georgia Review, Spring 1982

"Country Full of Swedes" (1933) Yale Review
Winner of the Yale Review's 1933 award for fiction
O.Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1933

"Daughter" (1933) Anvil

"The Day the Presidential Candidate Came to Aridad Tamaulipas" (1940) Town & Country

"Dorothy" (1931) Scribner's
The Best Short Stories of 1931

"An Evening in Nuevo Leon" (1940) Harper's

"The Growing Season" (1935) Literary America
Interviewers Elizabeth Pell Broadwell and Ronald Wesley Hoag: "Well, in your short story 'The Growing Season', if Fiddler isn't a symbol, who or what is he? Will you tell us?"
Caldwell: "Nope."

"Hamrick's Polar Bear" (1937) Redbook

"Horse Thief" (1933) Vanity Fair
The Best Short Stories of 1934

"Kneel to the Rising Sun" (1935) Scribner's
" . . . recognized as one of the best short stories (and perhaps the most controversial story) of this century." - - Stanley W. Lindberg, Foreword to The Stories of Erskine Caldwell (1996 edition)

"Man and Woman" (1937) New Yorker
O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1938

"Maud Island" (1934) Brooklyn Daily Eagle
O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1934

"Meddlesome Jack" (1933) We Are the Living

"The Negro in the Well" (1935) Atlantic Monthly

"The People vs. Abe Lathan, Colored" (1939) Esquire
The Best Short Stories of 1940. O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1939.

"Return to Lavinia" (1935) Esquire

"Saturday Afternoon" (1930) Nativity
" . . . belongs with the best of American fiction." - - Morris Renek

"A Swell-Looking Girl" (1930) Pagany

"Warm River" (1932) Pagany
The Best Short Stories of 1932

"We Are Looking at You, Agnes" (1931) Clay

Wild Flowers" (1938) Southways

"A Woman in the House" (1933) We Are the Living

"Yellow Girl" (1933) Story

Seven of Caldwell's stories, in their years of publication, were included in the annual anthology series The Best Short Stories. Four of his stories, in their years of publication, were included in the annual anthology series O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories. The significance of Erskine Caldwell as a short story writer can be further appreciated by noting the caliber of the publications in which his short stories originally appeared. An excellent background commentary on all these stories is contained in the book Critical Essays on Erskine Caldwell by Scott MacDonald which, unfortunately, is out of print, but may be available in some libraries.


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