Frank Norris’s published work includes poems, short stories, essays, newspaper articles, novels, and literary criticism. Although he is best known today for his novels, Norris is also remembered for his popular short-story contributions to the San Francisco Wave and his insightful literary criticism, published in The Responsibilities of the Novelist (1903) and The Literary Criticism of Frank Norris (1964).
Norris’s first published book, Yvernelle: A Tale of Feudal France (published in 1892 while Norris was still in college), was neither a short story nor a novel, but a medieval love poem written in the romantic verse style of Sir Walter Scott. Had it not been subsidized by Gertrude Norris (the author’s mother), the book would probably never have been published. Today it is notable only for the high price it brings in the rare book trade.
Norris’s success as a reporter was also minimal. His reports on the Boer War were published in the San Francisco Chronicle, but his later writings on the Spanish-American War were not published for some time afterward, and were never published by McClure’s Magazine, which originally sent him there.
Norris was successful, however, as a short-story writer. Much of his early work first appeared in the San Francisco Wave, a weekly newspaper featuring mostly local literary talent. The stories he wrote for the newspaper were later collected in three volumes: A Deal in Wheat, and Other Stories of the New and Old West(1903), The Third Circle (1909), and Frank Norris of “The Wave” (1931).
The majority of Norris’s writings were collected in a ten-volume Complete Edition, published by Doubleday, Doran in 1928. That same year, Doubleday also issued the Argonaut manuscript edition of Norris’s works. Identical in content with the Complete Edition, the Argonaut manuscript edition was finely bound and included a manuscript page from McTeague. In the late twentieth century, more Norris pieces were unearthed, including his Harvard student theses. His major works are still in print in both hardcover and inexpensive paperbound editions.