Good Short Reading
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This is a selection of what I think is some of the best short fiction, non-fiction and poetry from authors of years long past:
Ambrose BIERCE (1842-c1914): Killed At Resaca [c1891] (2400 words) is an uncollected short story.
Marthy BURK, née CANNARY, aka Calamity Jane (1852-1903): Her autobiographical pamphlet The Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane [c1900] (2000 words) is worth reading.
Kate CHOPIN (1851-1904): A Pair of Silk Stockings [c1894] (1900 words) reminds me in subject matter of Poe's The Imp of the Perverse.
Lewis CARROLL (Charles Lutwidge DODGSON) (1832-1898):
The poems from his Alice books are rightfully classics:
"You Are Old Father William,"... (from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland)  (32 lines)
The Lobster Quadrille (from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland)  (18 lines)
Jabberwocky (from Through The Looking-Glass)  (28 lines)
The Walrus And The Carpenter (from Through The Looking-Glass)  (108 lines)
O HENRY (William Sydney PORTER) (1862-1910): Porter was an American writer of short stories, The Gift Of The Magi [c1906] (2100 words) being probably his most famous. One of the delights of a short story is to have a sting in the tail/tale; this one's sting is double-pronged.
Jack LONDON (1876-1916): London wrote many stories set in the wilds of North America, of which the most famous short story seems to be To Build a Fire  (7200 words).
Edgar Allan POE (1809-1849): Few writers can claim to have founded a genre of writing Poe more or less founded two: detective fiction and science fiction. Of the two, the science fiction tales: The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall  (19 000 words), The Balloon Hoax  (5200 words), and Mellonta Tauta  (5700 words) have fared less well with age than the detective stories, which feature the prototype brilliant amateur detective, Auguste Dupin: The Murders in the Rue Morgue  (13 800 words), The Mystery of Marie Rôget [1842-43] (20 600 words), and The Purloined Letter  (7100 words). Two of his other, less well-known tales that have a timeless quality are The Imp of the Perverse  (2400 words), and The Man of the Crowd  (3500 words). A group of his tales are based around descriptions of gardens and natural scences, which appeal to the would-be gardener in me: The Elk  (1900 words), The Domain of Arnheim  (6000 words), Landor's Cottage  (4800 words), and The Island of the Fay  (2000 words). Of Poe's well-known tales of mystery and imagination, my favorite is The Fall of the House of Usher  (7400 words), the setting of which reminds me very much of Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire, and Ightham Mote in Kent, both 14th-century moated country houses.
William SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616): His most famous poetry is the Sonnets  (2156 lines), concerning which Oscar Wilde wrote his The Portrait of Mr W H.
Oscar WILDE (1854-1900): Some of his short stories are classics: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime  (12 600 words), The Nightingale and the Rose  (2400 words), The Portrait of Mr W H  (11 500 words), and, especially, The Canterville Ghost  (11 400 words). His most famous poem is The Ballad of Reading Gaol  (654 lines). He was perhaps best known as a wit, which shows in the epigrams scattered throughout his work, and which he gathered together in at least three places: the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray  (400 words), A Few Maxims for the Instruction of the Over-Educated  (400 words), and Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young  (500 words).