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The Best American Humorous Short Stories by Unknown
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_Edited by_ ALEXANDER JESSUP, _Editor of "Representative American
Short Stories," "The Book of the Short Story," the "Little French
Masterpieces" Series, etc._


This volume does not aim to contain all "the best American humorous
short stories"; there are many other stories equally as good, I
suppose, in much the same vein, scattered through the range of
American literature. I have tried to keep a certain unity of aim and
impression in selecting these stories. In the first place I determined
that the pieces of brief fiction which I included must first of all be
not merely good stories, but good short stories. I put myself in the
position of one who was about to select the best short stories in the
whole range of American literature,[1] but who, just before he started
to do this, was notified that he must refrain from selecting any of
the best American short stories that did not contain the element of
humor to a marked degree. But I have kept in mind the wide boundaries
of the term humor, and also the fact that the humorous standard should
be kept second--although a close second--to the short story standard.

In view of the necessary limitations as to the volume's size, I could
not hope to represent all periods of American literature adequately,
nor was this necessary in order to give examples of the best that has
been done in the short story in a humorous vein in American
literature. Probably all types of the short story of humor are
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