BY THE NORTH GATE introduces a new young American writer of singular talent. In her first collection of short stories, Joyce Carol Oates demonstrates that she is both vital and sensitive—sometimes ironic, sometimes bitter, often violent, but always a writer with something to say and the tools with which to say it.

Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: Vanguard
Year: 1963
Pages: 253

Because Miss Oates is young, her stories concern themselves with problems and situations that youth knows: the conflict between the hope of the young and the pessimism of the old; the realization of the injustices of the civilized order; the horror of the senseless cruelty condoned by society; the reality of evil, existing even in the good and the loving; brutality without motivation—the ultimate horror; the senseless machinations of fate that condition all of life. And, above all, man standing at the North Gate—the boundary between civilization and wilderness, both borne in his heart—and striving toward the victory which he is capable.

Within a framework of realism, in a world of sex and blood, of poverty and poetry, Miss Oates’s characters live their passions in stories that have already brought their brilliant young author two awards, won places in the O. Henry Awards Anthology and Martha Foley’s The Best American Short Stories 1963, as well as publication in the Southwest Review, the Colorado Quarterly, and Mademoiselle.


  • Swamps
  • The Census Taker
  • Ceremonies
  • Sweet Love Remembered
  • Boys at a Picnic
  • Pastoral Blood
  • An Encounter With the Blind
  • Images
  • Edge of the World
  • A Legacy
  • In the Old World
  • The Fine White Mist of Winter
  • The Expense of Spirit
  • By the North Gate

Book Covers


By the North Gate, the wind blows full of sand,
Lonely from the beginning of time until now!
Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn.
I climb the towers and towers to watch out the barbarous land.

By RIHAKU, 8th century A.D.,
Translated by Ezra Pound
(From “Lament of the Frontier Guard”)


  • Best American Short Stories, 1963: “The Fine White Mist of Winter”
  • Prize Stories: The O Henry Awards, 1963: “The Fine White Mist of Winter”
  • Mademoiselle College Fiction Contest, 1959 winner: “In the Old World
  • New York Times Notable Books of the Year


  • Saturday Review, October 26, 1963, p45
  • New York Times Book Review, November 10, 1963, p4, 61
  • Book Week, November 17, 1963, p32
  • Library Journal, December 15, 1963, p4873
  • Time, January 3, 1964, p80
  • Books Abroad, Summer 1964, p313
  • Epoch, Winter 1964, p171-172

Image: Dark Forest by Ian Muttoo

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