About the Journal
Studies in the American Short Story (SASS) is the journal of the Society for the Study of the American Short Story. It publishes articles, notes, reviews, interviews, memoirs, and other materials related to short fiction in America. It is aimed at literary scholars, students of literature, libraries, and general serious readers. It covers all forms of American short fiction in English from its origin in the eighteenth century to the present. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, nationality, ethnicity, or any other reason. The mission of the journal is to present the most important scholarship on the short fiction published in America. The journal includes discussion of all forms of “stories,” from early anecdotes and sketches, to the development of more formal “stories” with narrative, dialogue, and structure, to realistic masterpieces, to contemporary variations of the form in flash fiction and micro tales. The journal is open to research essays of all kinds with a special emphasis on new biographical, historical, or manuscript information that changes the established interpretation of a story and the way it is taught.
The mission of the Society for the Study of the American Short Story is to support and facilitate teaching and research related to short fiction in America and other countries. Nearly everyone who teaches literature knows that students have read scores of stories for every novel they have studied, and yet the materials available for examining short fiction are not nearly as advanced as they are for the novel. There are hundreds of scholarly treatments of the American novel, including volumes of reprinted criticism on a single book. The major writers, William Faulkner among them, have multiple studies of their individual novels among nearly a thousand scholarly discussions of his fiction. Only a handful of those are devoted to his short stories. This limited scholarly record is true despite the fact that many of the most important writers in American literature are primarily significant for their stories, among them, to list only a few, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, Charles Chesnutt, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Sui Sin Far. In contemporary fiction, Louise Erdrich is essentially a writer of stories, even though some of her volumes (Love Medicine is an example) carry the term “novel” on the cover. Susan Minot, Jamaica Kincaid, Robert Olen Butler, Julia Alvarez, Amy Tan, and Tim O’Brien are accomplished writers of short fiction and need to be studied in terms of the history of that genre. SSASS is the only organization devoted entirely to encouraging such investigation and providing a venue for presenting papers on the subject and discussing the genre in various forums. The Society for the Study of the American Short Story is devoted to the exploration of all aspects of the genre from its origins to the present. Writers from all genders, nationality groups, and ethnic backgrounds are included in the wide interest of members of the Society, as are newly discovered authors throughout the history of the national literature. Some members are also focusing on the definition of a “story” and on the parameters of its design, ranging from episodes and vignettes to story cycles and novelles.