Thistle Publishing

The Complete Short Stories - Volume One


John Buchan‘s name will forever be associated with the classic thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps but he originally regarded himself as a short story writer and a 1912 profile in The Bookman described him as ‘probably the best modern exponent of the short story’. His first published work, written while he was a student, were stories which appeared in magazines as varied as Blackwood’s and The Yellow Book and three of his first eight books were short story collections.


The Complete Short Stories, of which this is the first of three volumes, brings together for the first time all of his short stories in chronological order of publication. Andrew Lownie includes in this volume the stories which appeared in Scholar Gipsies and Grey Weather as well as stories never before published between hard covers. These include an important addition to the canon: A Captain of Salvation, a powerful tale of a man who restores his self-respect working for the Salvation Army in the East End of London until one day he is tempted back to a life of sin.


The stories in this collection were written and published while Buchan was a student of Glasgow and Oxford Universities but most of them feature the farmers and shepherds of the Scottish Borders. They provide a highly revealing glimpse of John Buchan the man and comprise a fascinating complement to his novels.



Praise for John Buchan — The Complete Short Stories:


‘Fans - and they are still numbered in tens of thousands - forget or do not even know that he had been a sort of infant prodigy. At Oxford he took on a literary agent and he achieved an entry in Who’s Who when he was only 23. That was on the strength of some of the writing represented in these reissues of his early short stories . . .‘ - Sunday Telegraph


‘Among the most successful authors of his generation . . .‘ - Connoisseurs Scotland


‘There is much in the book to interest and delight any Buchan addict.’ - Evening Standard


“Andrew Lownie has done a skilful job in editing them, and it is good to have the complete set.” Douglas Hurd, The Sunday Telegraph


“Here are riches indeed…they can stand in the same company as anything written by his contemporaries Walter de la Mare or AE Coppard.” Trevor Royle, Scotland on Sunday


‘If the novelist and writer of short stories, John Buchan, is enjoying something of a revival it is due in large part to his biographer, Andrew Lownie…This is a welcome addition to the library of British letters.’ The Contemporary Review


“…displays Buchan’s mastery of an art-form which has suffered sorely from the unholy alliance of paperback and television….this collection will be indispensable for any estimate of Buchan as a writer. The three introductions and the editorial notes are full of insights into Buchan’s techniques as well as his kindly but ironical sense of humour, his interests, emotions, and obsessions. ” The Herald


“…a reminder, not only of Scotland’s influence on Buchan’s imagination, but his talent as a writer of short stories, a notoriously difficult genre.” Literary Review


“…they should certainly be in the libraries of institutions where modern Scottish literature is part of the course…” Books in Scotland


“We find in these stories many of Buchan’s pet obsessions, like mountaineering, the art of disguise and the power of the temenos or sacred pagan grove.” The Spectator


“…there is much in the book to interest and delight any Buchan addict.” John Grigg, Evening Standard


“…the definitive Buchan collection…Any fan of Buchan would find these a delightful read.” Chapman Magazine


“This is a handsome and, for Buchan addicts, an indispensable addition to their shelves…editor Andrew Lownie’s introductions to each volume, and his notes on the genesis and publishing history of every story in the canon, are brief but scholarly, vitally informative without being partisan.” The John Buchan Journal


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