Passion, An Anthology of World's Great Short Stories by Cyberwit.net, India, pp. 272 features 73 short stories full of invention, imagination and originality. The stories communicate an idea or impression, which will certainly engage the reader's attention from the first to the last. The authors have succeeded in depicting one character's inner conflict or conflict with others, usually having one thematic focus. These short stories employ complex techniques to depict the often-unresolvable dilemmas of the human predicament. Some of the major themes in Passion are human isolation, alienation, and personal trauma, such as anxiety; love and hate; male-female relationships; family and the conflict of generations; initiation from innocence to experience; friendship and brotherhood; illusion and reality; self-delusion and self-discovery; the individual in conflict with society's institutions; mortality; spiritual struggles. Passion contains some of the finest short stories in English, written by authors from USA, UK, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Romania, Uganda, Ukraine, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, India etc. Passion is brought to a brilliant close with an assiduously compiled 7 page section providing biographical notes on each of the included writers.
I prefer commencing with the consideration of an effect. Keeping originality always in view-for he is false to himself who ventures to dispense with so obvious and so easily obtainable a source of interest-I say to myself, in the first place,' Of the innumerable effects or impressions of which the heart, the intellect, or (more generally) the soul is susceptible, what tone shall I, on the present occasion, select?' Having chosen a novel first, and secondly, a vivid effect, I consider whether it can be best wrought by incident or tone-whether by ordinary incidents and peculiar tone, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of incident and tone-afterwards looking about me (or rather within) for such combinations of event or tone as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect. .That an American should confine himself to American themes, or even prefer them, is rather a political than a literary idea. A foreign theme is, in a strictly literary sense, to be preferred. After all, the world at large is the only legitimate stage for the authorial histrio.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49), Essays and Reviews
No doubt, the short story has an advantage over novel in the fact that the novelist can indulge in a lot of lengthy, at times unnecessary speculations; he is free to provide a detailed psychological analysis of the character, as James Joyce or Virginia Woolf do in their novels. But the short story has to be brief. There is no scope for intolerable length and verbosity. The writer of short stories may concentrate on the peculiar aspect of the character, as Bret Harte does in 'Tennessee's Partner' or 'Miggles', or Stevenson in 'Markheim'; or create a distinctive atmosphere as Poe does in 'Eleonora' and 'The Pit and the Pendulum'.
In the contemporary American short stories and fiction, we very rarely find the political theme. What seems to inspire the short-story writers intensely in Passion is private destiny of the people. John Updike asserts that the life of a nation is reflected, or distorted, by private people and their minute concerns.