Fiction Issue 2005

The Atlantic - Fiction Issue 2005

Joyce Carol Oates, "*BD* 11 1 86"; Charles Baxter, "Poor Devil"; Adam Haslett, "City Visit"; Shira Nayman, "The House on Kronenstrasse"; George Singleton, "Director's Cut"; Curtis Sittenfeld, "The Perils of Literary Success"; Rick Moody, "Writers and Mentors"; Mary Gordon, "Moral Fiction"; and much more.

Features

Agenda

Books

  • Alfred Kazin on Hemingway

    Most writers struggle to produce well-crafted sentences. But as the literary critic and author Alfred Kazin explained in 1964, for Hemingway the perfect sentence was almost an obsession.

  • James Atlas on Disparagement

    In 1981 the author and literary critic James Atlas explained why the most powerful and engaging book reviews tend to be scathing.

  • Eudora Welty on the Short Story

    Wherein lies a great short story's allure? In 1949 the novelist and short-story writer Eudora Welty sought to convey a sense of the beauty, mystery, and spontaneity that make some stories special.

  • Wallace Stegner on Profanity

    Even authors with no qualms about using an obscenity here and there for emphasis have their limits. In 1965 Wallace Stegner, the novelist of the American West, criticized the tendency of many fledgling writers to substitute a surfeit of profanity for powerfully crafted prose.

  • Edith Wharton on Characters

    Which comes first—the characters or the plot? In 1933 the novelist Edith Wharton explained that sometimes it was a character and other times a situation that suggested to her the idea for a story.

  • Vladimir Nabokov on Chekhov

    In a lecture posthumously published in 1981, Vladimir Nabokov commended the brooding works of his countryman Anton Chekhov to contemporary readers.

  • Saul Bellow on Moralism

    In 1963 the novelist Saul Bellow warned against the temptation to weigh down a work of art with gratuitous negativity or heavy-handed moralism.

  • Charles Dickens on Stardom

    In 1842 Charles Dickens, who was by then an international literary celebrity, made a highly publicized visit to the United States. In a letter to a friend, the British author John Forster, Dickens complained of being overwhelmed by the attentions of his fans.

Pursuits

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

How Will Climate Change Affect Cities?

Urban planners and environmentalists predict the future of city life.

Video

The Inner Life of a Drag Queen

A short documentary about cross-dressing, masculinity, identity, and performance

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

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