The first edition of the Index to Short Stories has been out of print for five years. Many libraries and teachers have therefore been unable to obtain copies. Their need, and the accumulation of much new material has made the publication of a second edition revised and brought up to date, advisable.
No more than in the earlier edition is the claim made for completeness in the work. To index all short stories would be impossible even were it desirable. Except in a few instances where a single story is of some special interest, stories by American and English authors whose work has appeared in magazines only, have not been indexed. The rule has been to include the work of no American or English author unless he has had published by a reputable publishing house, at least one volume of collected stories. All of the work of the selected authors, so far as it has been available, has been indexed. Thus, collected editions and separate volumes of a writer, and composite collections of stories and periodicals have been consulted to obtain the references to the work of the selected authors. No effort has been made to recover obscure and fugitive stories; that is the work of the bibliophile and special authority but the best editions of representative short story writers have been carefully and generously indexed. To discriminate the short story from longer works of fiction, the arbitrary limit of two hundred pages as the maximum length was adopted instead of a literary criterion on the basis of structure. This extends the short story into the realm of the novelette but has been deemed expedient on the ground of convenience. A corresponding lapse in literary discrimination is to be found in the inclusion of many short sketches which are not, in the strict sense, stories. In the work of authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sir James Barrie and Alphonse Daudet, to mention but three, it is often difficult to tell whether the sketch should be classed as a short story or as a descriptive narrative. When in doubt the sketch has been included; occasionally when there has been no doubt, it has been indexed because contained in a volume in which all of the other titles were those of stories, and the sketch might therefore be called for in the same connection. Farces, which are in reality short stories in dialogue form, such as those of William Dean Howells, have often been included. Juvenile and fairy stories have been excluded except when they are a minor part of a selected author's work and their omission would make the bibliography incomplete, English translations of foreign short stories have been included wherever found.
The work of the short story writers indexed in the earlier edition has been revised and brought up to date. The names of 88 American and English authors which did not appear in the first edition, have been added and their works fully indexed; stories of 91 foreign authors not previously represented have been added and all available translations indexed. In all the names of 808 authors appear; 296 of these are American and English short story writers whose complete works have been indexed; 275 are American and English writers whose works are represented by the inclusion of one or more stories published in collections, and 327 are foreign authors whose works have been translated. The largest number of stories by any one author is 403—those of Guy de Maupassant. The total number of stories indexed is 17,288. Stories have been listed from 25 languages.
The form of entry is as follows:
1. The arrangement is alphabetical by author and title, the author's name being printed in bold-faced type.
2. The title entry gives the exact title, followed by the author's name.