Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Prolegomenon

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Given the proper respect due actuarial tables in these matters, this book stands a fair chance of being my last in literary history or criticism. Should that prove to be the case, most of the books I projected writing when I left graduate school will remain locked in my evanescing mind...

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Introduction: From Poet to Story Writer

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pp. 1-15

Stories, of varying lengths and varieties of modes, have surely existed almost as long as the rudiments of language itself, but the short story in its modern guise, however wide the latitude of its definition, only made its appearance at the end of the nineteenth century’s second decade...

Fiction

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A Pennsylvanian Legend

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pp. 17-32

Is the world to become altogether philosophical and rational? Are we to believe nothing that we cannot account for from natural causes? Are tales of supernatural warnings, of the interposition and visible appearance of disembodied spirits, to be laughed out of countenance...

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A Border Tradition

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pp. 33-46

In travelling through the western part of New England, not long since, I stopped for a few days at one of the beautiful villages of that region. It was situated on the edge of some fine rich meadows, lying about one of the prettiest little rivers in the world. While there, I went...

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A Narrative of Some Extraordinary Circumstances

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pp. 47-59

Few places in our country have any traditions of moment associated with them, and of these few a very small proportion are the objects of superstitious awe. Here and there, however, you meet with a spot memorable for one of those terrible interpositions of Providence...

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Preface to The Talisman

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pp. 60-62

I am not an author by profession, though I believe there are few of my countrymen whose works, if collected, would fill more volumes than mine. I have travelled much, and often in company with those whose writings have since delighted and instructed the world. It was always...

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The Legend of the Devil’s Pulpit

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pp. 63-92

There can be but few inhabitants of the city of New-York who are not acquainted with the striking features of the Jersey shore and with the views that present themselves from the high grounds overlooking it: of the city and its islands to the south, and of the majestic Hudson...

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The Cascade of Melsingah

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pp. 93-107

Who does not know the little cascade of Melsingah? If any of my readers have never visited the spot, nor heard it described, let me tell them that it is situated on the east bank of the Hudson, a little below the mouth of its tributary Matoavoan, about sixty miles from New-York at the foot...

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Adventure in the East Indies

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pp. 108-114

The royal tiger of India differs from the common tiger in his superior size and the extraordinary majesty of his appearance. His face is broader, his neck thicker and shorter, his limbs more brawny and strung with larger sinews, and his sides striped with brighter and...

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Story of the Island of Cuba

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pp. 115-142

Numerous as are the strangers who resort to the island of Cuba from the continent of Europe and the States of North America, few, if any, visit it from mere curiosity. The greater part are drawn thither by commerce, a few are in pursuit of health and fugitives from...

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The Whirlwind

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pp. 143-152

When I last visited the country beyond the Alleghanies, I travelled from Wheeling to Lexington on horseback in order to contemplate more at my leisure the beautiful scenery of that interesting region. On my way I fell in with a person, also on horseback, going in the same direction...

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The Indian Spring

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pp. 153-163

One of the adventures of my life upon which I have since oftenest reflected, and concerning which my imagination is most inclined to dispute the dictates of my reason, happened many years ago, when, quite a young man, I made an excursion into the interior of the State...

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The Marriage Blunder

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pp. 164-189

I have never been able to understand the peculiar significance of the old and often-quoted maxim that matches are made in heaven, as if Providence had more to do with our marriages, and we ourselves less, than with the other enterprises and acts of our lives. The truth...

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Glauber‑Spa

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pp. 190-200

The letter from Mr. S. Clapp which follows this announcement will sufficiently explain to the reader the manner in which the manuscripts from which the tales in these volumes have been printed came into the possession of the Publishers. Having obtained permission from Mr. E. Clapp...

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The Skeleton's Cave

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pp. 201-234

We hold our existence at the mercy of the elements; the life of man is a state of continual vigilance against their warfare. The heats of noon would wither him like the severed herb; the chills and dews of night would fill his bones with pain; the winter frost would extinguish life in...

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Medfield

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pp. 235-260

Two or three years ago I passed a few weeks, about the end of summer and beginning of autumn, at a pleasant village within a few days’ journey from the city of New-York. Here I became acquainted with a gentleman residing in the place, of the name of Medfield, one of the...

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Commentary

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pp. 261-319

Published at a time when evaluation of fiction seldom extended beyond brief description of content coupled with an adjective or two in summary judgment, Bryant’s short stories elicited no critical scrutiny when they first appeared. Later, after he abandoned the genre...

Notes

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pp. 320-327

About the Editor

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p. 328