The Marie Alexander Series is dedicated to promoting the appreciation and enjoyment of prose poetry.

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Spring Phantoms

Spring Phantoms

Spring Phantoms: Short Prose by 19th Century British & American Authors

Edited by Robert Alexander

A diverse anthology of prose shorts by both canonized and under appreciated writers, Spring Phantoms traces the little-known history of this form in Britain and America throughout the 19th century. Includes biographical sketches by Holly Iglesias.

This volume is the 22nd in the Marie Alexander Poetry Series.

About the Author

Robert Alexander is the Founder and Series Editor of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series. After receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, he worked for many years as a freelance editor. From 1993-1999, he was a consulting editor at New Rivers Press, and from 1999-2001 he served as New Rivers' creative director. He is the author of two books of poetry, White Pine Sucker River and What the Raven Said; and a book of creative nonfiction, Five Forks: Waterloo of the Confederacy. He divides his time between southern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Visit the editor's website.

Spring Phantoms contains work by 45 authors, including Max Beerbohm,William Blake, Gelett Burgess, Kate Chopin, Ada Clare, Stephen Crane, Mary Mapes Dodge, Ernest Dowson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lafacadio Hearn, Harriet Jacobs, Emma Lazarus,Yone Noguchi, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Edgar Allan Poe, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Olive Schreiner, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Millington Synge, CeliaThaxter, Henry David Thoreau, Edith Wharton, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, and Zitkála-Šá. Introduction by Robert Alexander.



Short prose—whether it takes the various forms of the prose poem, flash fiction, parable, or fable—has been well chronicled in recent anthologies, but Spring Phantoms offers a necessary and new historical take on the subject. In choosing his examples Robert Alexander has been guided more by the “narrative possibilities” of short prose than by what a modern author might call his or her version of it. More important, with this anthology, once and for all, readers come upon a vibrant short prose tradition in 19th-century English and American letters that was not beholden to the French or Russian traditions. We might call it an exploratory prose driven by a strong narrative impulse—that is, the desire to tell a little story. There are so many gems in this anthology by both well-known and underappreciated writers that readers will want to have Spring Phantoms close by, to randomly dip into its pages as they would a fine, and very large, box of chocolates.
— Peter Johnson, editor of The Prose Poem: An International Journal
If you want to understand why flash fiction has become such a popular literary form, read Spring Phantoms, an eclectic anthology of 19th-century short prose by British and American writers, which reveals that the art of compression is part of our literary DNA. From William Blake to Walt Whitman, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, and many lesser-known writers rescued from oblivion, we see why less is indeed more. All praise to Robert Alexander for his careful excavation of these treasures.
— Christopher Merrill, author of Self-Portrait with Dogwood
Robert Alexander has done all aficionados of the short form a great service by collecting in one volume prose poems, sketches, and brief musings of some of Britain’s and America’s finest writers and strongest voices. These “little tastings” from the 19th century give us a look not just into literary history but into some of our collective historical concerns. With illuminating bio sketches providing context to the prose selections, this is a welcome contribution to the study of the roots of short prose.
— Tara Lynn Masih, founding editor of The Best Small Fictions

Release DateMarch 2018




Dimensions6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches

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