This essay seeks to rectify an ongoing problem in scholarship on Katherine Anne Porter. Porter's short story “He,” a key and often-anthologized text, is being read in a revised version without attention to those revisions or the story's original context, the October 1927 issue of the communist magazine the New Masses. This essay repositions Porter's story in its original context and in doing so reveals political themes that have been traditionally read as universal ones. Perhaps most importantly, though, this essay recovers the original version of “He,” which underwent significant emendations before its publication in the 1930 collection Flowering Judas. This version of this story often serves as the apparently definitive or even only version for both scholars and casual readers. Recognizing the unstable and evolving nature of the story leads to a more expansive understanding of Porter's canon. The ramifications here, then, are textual and contextual, and they speak to Porter's relationship to her own body of work as well as to more general theoretical concerns about authorship and genre.

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