For the first time, the complete stories of the master chronicler of tradition and transformation in the twentieth-century South.
Born and raised in Tennessee, Peter Taylor was the great chronicler of the American Upper South, capturing its gossip and secrets, its divided loyalties and morally complicated legacies in tales of pure-distilled brilliance. Now, for his centennial year, the Library of America and acclaimed short story writer Ann Beattie present an unprecedented two-volume edition of Taylor’s complete short fiction, all fifty-nine of the stories published in his lifetime in the order in which they were composed.
This second volume presents thirty stories including many of his most ambitious works, among them “Dean of Men,” a monologue delivered by a middle-aged father to his long-haired son about the limits of idealism; “In the Miro District,” a parable of the Old South’s enduring persistence in the New; and “The Old Forest,” one of Taylor’s most celebrated works, the story of a young man who jeopardizes his impending marriage by consorting with a girl deemed beneath his station. Here too are all five of Taylor’s remarkable prose poems, stories in free verse that demonstrate that great fiction is, at its highest pitch, a line-by-line, image-by-image high-wire act. Two of the stories in this volume, “A Cheerful Disposition” and “The Megalopolitans,” are collected here for the first time.