The Golden Age of British Short Stories, 1890-1914
By Philip Hensher
The quarter century or so before the outbreak of the First World War saw an extraordinary boom in the popularity and quality of short stories in Britain. Fuelled by a large new magazine readership and vigorous competition to acquire new stories and develop the careers of some of our greatest writers, these years were ones where the normal rule-of-thumb (novels sell, short stories don’t) was inverted.This was the era of Sherlock Holmes, of Kipling’s most famous stories, of M. R. James, Katherine Mansfield and Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’.
Boasting a veritable menagerie of characters, including dancing instructors, pies, and talking parrots, and written in the Franco-Italian story-telling tradition, ‘The Three Fat Men’, unquestionably the greatest Soviet children’s parable, is considered the absolute endorsement of the Communist regime.