The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

BOOK: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
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Also by Lydia Davis

NOVEL

The End of the Story

STORIES

Break It Down

Almost No Memory

Samuel Johnson Is Indignant

Varieties of Disturbance

SELECTED TRANSLATIONS

Swann’s Way
by Marcel Proust

Death Sentence
by Maurice Blanchot

The Madness of the Day
by Maurice Blanchot

The Spirit of Mediterranean Places
by Michel Butor

Rules of the Game, I: Scratches
by Michel Leiris

Rules of the Game, II: Scraps
by Michel Leiris

Hélène
by Pierre Jean Jouve

The Collected Stories of
LYDIA DAVIS

HAMISH HAMILTON

an imprint of

PENGUIN BOOKS

HAMISH HAMILTON

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London
WC2R 0RL
, England

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M4P 2Y3
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London
WC2R 0RL
, England

www.penguin.com

First published in the USA by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009

First published in Great Britain by Hamish Hamilton 2010

Copyright © Lydia Davis, 2009

The moral right of the author has been asserted

Grateful acknowledgement is made for permission to reprint the following material:

‘Worstward Ho’, copyright © 1983 by Samuel Beckett. Used by permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc. In ‘The Walk’, quotations from
Swann’s Way
by Marcel Proust, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and revised by Terence Kilmartin, copyright © 1981 by Marcel Proust, used by permission of Random House, Inc.; quotations from
Swann’s Way
by Marcel Proust, translated by Lydia Davis, copyright © 2002 by Lydia Davis, used by permission of Penguin Books Ltd. and Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. ‘Extracts from a Life’ is adapted from
Nurtured by Love
by Sinichi Suzuki, and is used by permission of Exposition Press. The tale in ‘Once a Very Stupid Man’ is adapted from the traditional Hasidic story recounted in Martin Buber’s
The Way of Man
, and is used by permisson of Citadel Press. ‘Lord Royston’s Tour’ was adapted from
The Remains of Viscount Royston: A Memoir of His Life
by the Rev. Henry Pepys, London, 1838.

Samuel Johnson is Indignant
was first published by McSweeney’s Books.

All rights reserved

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-0-141-96289-4

Contents

BREAK IT DOWN (1986)

Story

The Fears of Mrs. Orlando

Liminal: The Little Man

Break It Down

Mr. Burdoff’s Visit to Germany

What She Knew

The Fish

Mildred and the Oboe

The Mouse

The Letter

Extracts from a Life

The House Plans

The Brother-in-Law

How W. H. Auden Spends the Night in a Friend’s House:

Mothers

In a House Besieged

Visit to Her Husband

Cockroaches in Autumn

The Bone

A Few Things Wrong with Me

Sketches for a Life of Wassilly

City Employment

Two Sisters

The Mother

Therapy

French Lesson I:
Le Meurtre

Once a Very Stupid Man

The Housemaid

The Cottages

Safe Love

Problem

What an Old Woman Will Wear

The Sock

Five Signs of Disturbance

ALMOST NO MEMORY (1997)

Meat, My Husband

Jack in the Country

Foucault and Pencil

The Mice

The Thirteenth Woman

The Professor

The Cedar Trees

The Cats in the Prison Recreation Hall

Wife One in Country

The Fish Tank

The Center of the Story

Love

Our Kindness

A Natural Disaster

Odd Behavior

St. Martin

Agreement

In the Garment District

Disagreement

The Actors

What Was Interesting

In the Everglades

The Family

Trying to Learn

To Reiterate

Lord Royston’s Tour

The Other

A Friend of Mine

This Condition

Go Away

Pastor Elaine’s Newsletter

A Man in Our Town

A Second Chance

Fear

Almost No Memory

Mr. Knockly

How He Is Often Right

The Rape of the Tanuk Women

What I Feel

Lost Things

Glenn Gould

Smoke

From Below, as a Neighbor

The Great-Grandmothers

Ethics

The House Behind

The Outing

A Position at the University

Examples of Confusion

The Race of the Patient Motorcyclists

Affinity

SAMUEL JOHNSON IS INDIGNANT (2001)

Boring Friends

A Mown Lawn

City People

Betrayal

The White Tribe

Our Trip

Special Chair

Certain Knowledge from Herodotus

Priority

The Meeting

Companion

Blind Date

Examples of
Remember

Old Mother and the Grouch

Samuel Johnson Is Indignant:

New Year’s Resolution

First Grade: Handwriting Practice

Interesting

Happiest Moment

Jury Duty

A Double Negative

The Old Dictionary

Honoring the Subjunctive

How Difficult

Losing Memory

Letter to a Funeral Parlor

Thyroid Diary

Information from the North Concerning the Ice:

Murder in Bohemia

Happy Memories

They Take Turns Using a Word They Like

Marie Curie, So Honorable Woman

Mir the Hessian

My Neighbors in a Foreign Place

Oral History (with Hiccups)

The Patient

Right and Wrong

Alvin the Typesetter

Special

Selfish

My Husband and I

Spring Spleen

Her Damage

Workingmen

In a Northern Country

Away from Home

Company

Finances

The Transformation

Two Sisters (II)

The Furnace

Young and Poor

The Silence of Mrs. Iln

Almost Over: Separate Bedrooms

Money

Acknowledgment

VARIETIES OF DISTURBANCE (2007)

A Man from Her Past

Dog and Me

Enlightened

The Good Taste Contest

Collaboration with Fly

Kafka Cooks Dinner

Tropical Storm

Good Times

Idea for a Short Documentary Film

Forbidden Subjects

Two Types

The Senses

Grammar Questions

Hand

The Caterpillar

Child Care

We Miss You: A Study of Get-Well Letters from a Class of Fourth-Graders

Passing Wind

Television

Jane and the Cane

Getting to Know Your Body

Absentminded

Southward Bound, Reads
Worstward Ho

The Walk

Varieties of Disturbance

Lonely

Mrs. D and Her Maids

20 Sculptures in One Hour

Nietszche

What You Learn About the Baby

Her Mother’s Mother

How It Is Done

Insomnia

Burning Family Members

The Way to Perfection

The Fellowship

Helen and Vi: A Study in Health and Vitality

Reducing Expenses

Mother’s Reaction to My Travel Plans

For Sixty Cents

How Shall I Mourn Them?

A Strange Impulse

How She Could Not Drive

Suddenly Afraid

Getting Better

Head, Heart

The Strangers

The Busy Road

Order

The Fly

Traveling with Mother

Index Entry

My Son

Example of the Continuing Past Tense in a Hotel Room

Cape Cod Diary

Almost Over: What’s the Word?

A Different Man

BOOK: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
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