Arnett, Ethel Stephens. O. Henry from Polecat Creek. Greensboro, N.C.: Piedmont Press, 1963. Described by Porter’s cousin as a delightful and authentic story of O. Henry’s boyhood and youth, this entertaining biography of the early years goes far in illuminating both the character-shaping environment and experiences of Porter and his fiction. Supplemented by illustrations, notes, a bibliography, and an index.
Bloom, Harold, ed. O. Henry. Broomal, Pa.: Chelsea House, 1999. Collection of essays that constitute a study guide and handbook of O. Henry criticism, assembled by leading scholars in the field. Bibliographic references and index.
Current-Garcia, Eugene. O. Henry: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1993. An introduction to O. Henry’s stories, largely drawn from Current-Garcia’s earlier Twayne volume. Focuses on O. Henry’s frequent themes, his romanticism, and his narrative techniques, such as his use of the tall-tale conventions. Includes critical excerpts from discussions of O. Henry by other critics.
Eichenbaum, Boris. O. Henry and the Theory of the Short Story. Translated by I. R. Titunik. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1968. Originally published in Russia in 1925, this study reflects both the Russian interest in O. Henry as a serious writer and the brand of criticism known as Russian Formalism. Because Formalism was more concerned with technical achievement than thematic profundity, O. Henry, who was a technical master, is a perfect candidate for the exercise of this kind of analysis.
Evans, Walter. “‘A Municipal Report’: O. Henry and Postmodernism.” Tennessee Studies in Literature 26 (1981): 101-116. Recognizing modern criticism’s either trite interpretation or complete indifference to O. Henry’s work, through the fiction of postmodernists like Vladimir Nabokov, John Barth, Robert Coover, and William Gass, Evans embarks on a radical revisioning of Porter’s literary contributions.
Gallegly, Joseph. From Alamo Plaza to Jack Harris’s Saloon: O. Henry and the Southwest He Knew. The Hague: Mouton, 1970. By investigating contemporary photographs, literature, popular pursuits, news items, and personalities—both real and fictional—from the contemporary scene of the author, Gallegly provides significant insight into the southwestern stories.
Jennings, Al. Through the Shadows with O. Henry. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2000. Reprint of a classic O. Henry study, with a new introduction by Mike Cox and afterword by Patrick McConal, who consider the reception of Henry’s work in the twentieth century.
Langford, Gerald. Alias O. Henry: A Biography of William Sidney Porter. New York: Macmillan, 1957. A well-documented biography that considers in detail Porter’s marriages and the evidence used in his embezzlement trial. The foreword provides a brief but penetrating overview of O. Henry’s critical reputation (including overseas) and his place within the context of American literature. Supplemented by illustrations, an appendix about Rolling Stone, notes, and an index.
Monteiro, George. “Hemingway, O. Henry, and the Surprise Ending.” Prairie Schooner 47, no. 4 (1973-1974): 296-302. In rehabilitating O. Henry and his most famous technique, Monteiro makes comparisons with Hemingway’s own—but very different—use of the same device. This significant difference Monteiro ascribes to Hemingway’s essentially uneasy reception of Porter’s work and to the two authors’ divergent outlooks on life.
Pattee, Frederick Lewis. The Development of the American Short Story. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1923. Although this is an old study of the short story, the O. Henry chapter represents an influential negative criticism of his fiction.
Stuart, David. O. Henry: A Biography of William Sydney Porter. Chelsea, Mich.: Scarborough House, 1990. A good, updated edition of a portrait of O. Henry. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Watson, Bruce. “If His Life Were a Short Story, Who’d Ever Believe It?” Smithsonian 27 (January, 1997): 92-102. Biography of O. Henry strewn with anecdotes and some literary criticism. Includes photographs.
Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. Hearts of Darkness: Wellsprings of a Southern Literary Tradition. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003. Discusses the distinctively southern aspects of Henry’s stories, as well as his influence on other southern American authors. Bibliographic references and index.