This collection of original and classic essays examines the contributions that female authors have made to the short story. The introductory chapter discusses why genre critics have ignored works by women and why feminist scholars have ignored the short story genre. Subsequent chapters discuss early stories by such authors as Lydia Maria Child and Rose Terry Cooke. Others are devoted to the influences (race, class, sexual orientation, education) that have shaped women's short fiction through the years. Women's special stylistic, formal and thematic concerns are also discussed in this study. The final essay addresses the ways our contemporary creative-writing classes are stifling the voices of emerging young female authors. The collection includes an extensive five-part bibliography.