According to Boyd, Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales is the starting point; in Melville the modern short story “comes of age.” Perfectly plausible, except that I think Washington Irving really kicked it off. Hawthorne’s first book of stories, the unpublished Seven Tales of My Native Land, was modeled on Irving’s Sketch Book, which was a huge hit both in the U.S. and England. Irving is all over Twice-Told too.
Melville felt Irving’s stories were “too British.” He told Hawthorne that Irving was a “grasshopper” in talent compared to Hawthorne. But Irving influenced Melville nonetheless. The lawyer-narrator of “Bartleby,” for example, might have stepped right out of an Irving story, as Delbanco notes.
Read some Irving. More there than “Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” for sure.
I’ve always had a soft spot for old Wash. I like his response when Walter Scott offered him the editorship of a new literary magazine: “My whole course of life has been desultory, and I am unfitted for any periodically recurring task, or any stipulated labor of body or mind. I have no command of my talents, such as they are, and have to watch the varyings of my mind as I would those of a weathercock. Practice and training may bring me more into rule, but at present I am useless for regular service.”
Read Boyd as well. Including the previous piece, in which he introduces his classification system. He’s usually on the money. Although, now that I think about it, he did have Waugh completely upside down.