The Piazza Tales by Herman Melville (1856)
A short story cycle (sometimes called a composite novel) is a collection of short stories in which the narratives are specifically composed and arranged with the goal of creating an enhanced and integrated experience when reading the group of stories as a whole rather than individually. Examples of such cycles that we have done in the past at WWML include The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) by Sarah Orne Jewett and In Our Time (1925) by Ernest Hemingway.
This fall we will read three more such collections, spanning 50 years and featuring an American, an Irish, and a Canadian writer. And we will devote one of our sessions to the last story in Dubliners, “The Dead,” hailed by many readers and critics alike as one of the finest short stories in the English language.