When Lost in the Funhouse appeared in 1968, American fiction was turned on its head. Not only did the book reach a popular audience, but it also became a staple of what was being read in universities across America. Suddenly there was a "new kind of fiction" being written and read, and at least for some short while became the standard of what fiction is. Barth's fiction wasn't a response to the realistic fiction that characterized American fiction at the time, but was in fact beckoning back to the founders of fiction: Cervantes, The Thousand and One Nights, Rabelaise, and Sterne, echoing their playfulness and defining the freedom inherent in the writing of fiction. This collection of John Barth's short fiction is a landmark event, bringing together all of his previous collections, together with a few new stories. In brief, its occasion is a time for standing back to admire and assess a lifetime's work. Stunningly original in a way that Barth's work always is, the publication of this collection represents a very important chapter in the history of American literature. Dalkey Archive will also be reissuing a number of Barth's novels over the next few years and permanently preserving his work for generations to come.