The Stories of John Cheever Background

The Stories of John Cheever Background

The Stories of John Cheever is a 1978 collection of one of the recognized masters of the short story form. Comprising his most famous and anthologized tales, the collection was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1979. The paperback edition published two laters later subsequently added a National Book Award to its haul, thus making The Stories of John Cheever one of the most esteemed assemblages of short fiction in the history of American literature.

The sheer breadth of Cheever’s astonishing imagination and talent is on full display in many of the most recognizable stories contained within his award-winning anthology. "The Enormous Radio," for instance, was adapted into an episode of Tales from the Darkside while his chilling portrait of a stalker who turns the table on a misogynistic businessman, "The Five-Forty-Eight" has been transformed into a radio drama, a play, a PBS special and even an episode of the 1950s classic television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Also included is perhaps Cheevers most studied and analyzed story, "The Swimmer," which somehow managed to fully retain its thematic exuberance even when expanded from a tightly constructed short story into an unusually experimental major theatrical release starring Hollywood legend Burt Lancaster as the pathetic reincarnation of Odysseus swimming his way back home through the pools of his affluent neighbors.

Most of the stories in this collection were originally published in the New Yorker magazine, where Cheever is considered by many to be the shining light glowing from atop a tower of great writers who regularly produced short fiction for that magazine; a tower that also include such luminaries as James Thurber, Irwin Shaw, Truman Capote and John Updike. While it may be arguable whether Cheever truly was the standout producer of short fiction among that crowd, it cannot be denied that the quarter century in which these stories were published represent one of the most fecund and fertile literary outputs in the history of 20th century American fiction.

In addition to the masterpieces already mentioned, the full content of The Stories of John Cheever also includes:

"Goodbye, My Brother"

"The Common Regular Day"

"O City of Broken Dreams"

"The Hartleys"

"The Sutton Place Story"

"The Summer Farmer"

"Torch Song"

"The Pot of Gold"

"Clancy in the Tower of Babel"

"Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor"

"The Season of Divorce"

"The Chaste Clarissa"

"The Cure"

"The Superintendent"

"The Children"

"The Sorrows of Gin"

"O Youth and Beauty!"

"The Day the Pig Fell into the Well"

"Just One More Time"

"The Housebreaker of Shady Hill"

"The Bus to St. James's"

"The Worm in the Apple"

"The Trouble of Marcie Flint"

"The Bella Lingua"

"The Wrysons"

"The Country Husband"

"The Duchess"

"The Scarlet Moving Van"

"Just Tell Me Who It Was"


"The Golden Age"

"The Lowboy"

"The Music Teacher"

"A Woman Without a Country"

"The Death of Justina"


"Boy in Rome"

"A Miscellany of Characters That Will Not Appear"

"The Chimera"

"The Seaside Houses"

"The Angel of the Bridge"

"The Brigadier and the Golf Widow"

"A Vision of the World"


"An Educated American Woman"


"Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin"


"The Ocean"

"Marito in Città"

"The Geometry of Love"

"The World of Apples"

"Another Story"


"The Fourth Alarm"

"Artemis, the Honest Well Digger"

"Three Stories"

"The Jewels of the Cabots"

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