Download the book This book collects seven short stories by some of England's best turn-of-the-(last)-century's writers. The collection begins with the humor of J. M. Barrie, of Peter Pan fame. A later and equally humorous story is by Israel Zangwill, also widely known for his exposures of social and economic problems. The immensely popular Marie Corelli’s contribution is the last, and among the most moving. (NB: Though a less prominent writer than some represented here, Corelli was so popular that her literary sales exceeded those of Arthur Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling – combined.) In short, these writers offer great variety as to style, tone and topic, ranging from breezy tales to poignant proofs of the kindness and grace that can underlie the deepest tragedies. But while diverse, these writers have in common that they clearly know and clearly express genuine emotional truth. They hold our attention by conveying their stories honestly. They have no need for the tricks and devices of melodrama, shallow emotionalism, or shocking plot twists. This accomplishment – this evidence of high literary quality – is all the more impressive in historical and social context. They lived in a time of widespread suffering. Yet even as most of these writers begin by drawing our attention to terrible and extensive suffering (and go on by holding it there), they end by keeping our attention in writing clearly and convincingly about important things they really know - leaving us moved, convinced, and a little richer for the experience.