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The Best American Humorous Short Stories


THE BEST AMERICAN HUMOROUS
SHORT STORIES
Edited by ALEXANDER JESSUP, Editor of "Representative
American Short Stories," "The Book of the Short Story," the "Little
French Masterpieces" Series, etc.
INTRODUCTION
This volume does not aim to contain all "the best American
humorous short stories"; there are many other stories equally as
good, I suppose, in much the same vein, scattered through the
range of American literature. I have tried to keep a certain unity of
aim and impression in selecting these stories. In the first place I
determined that the pieces of brief fiction which I included must
first of all be not merely good stories, but good short stories. I put
myself in the position of one who was about to select the best short
stories in the whole range of American literature,[1] but who, just
before he started to do this, was notified that he must refrain from
selecting any of the best American short stories that did not contain
the element of humor to a marked degree. But I have kept in mind
the wide boundaries of the term humor, and also the fact that the
humorous standard should be kept second—although a close
second—to the short story standard.
In view of the necessary limitations as to the volume's size, I could
not hope to represent all periods of American literature adequately,
nor was this necessary in order to give examples of the best that
has been done in the short story in a humorous vein in American
literature. Probably all types of the short story of humor are
included here, at any rate. Not only copyright restrictions but in a
measure my own opinion have combined to exclude anything by
Joel Chandler Harris—Uncle Remus—from the collection. Harris
is primarily—in his best work—a humorist, and only secondarily a
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