The 11th installment in this excellent series is certainly one of the strongest, with 19 stories that capture the diversity of the South in voice and place, drawing on a range of old and new talents. The Old South of decaying mansions, men in seersucker, and women in lace is well recalled in first-rate tales by Charles East (``Pavane for a Dead Princess''), who meditates on the phenomenon of elderly ladies and their young male companions; by Pam Durban (``Gravity''), who beautifully records the decline of a once- distinguished Charleston family; and by Ellen Douglas (``Julia and Nellie''), who offers a tale of friendship transcending serious religious conflict. The rural and working-class South provides its own meaning and wistfulness: In Judy Troy's ``Ramone,'' a young girl relocates to the small Texas town where her stepfather's father lies dying; in Patricia Elam Ruff's moving and elegiac ``The Taxi Ride,'' an elderly woman, tired but happy in her long marriage, finds a welcome friend in a courtly cab-driver; in Janice Daugharty's ``Along a Wider River,'' a former sharecropper watches his old boss fumble and die while fishing; and in Rhian Margaret Ellis's ``Every Building Wants to Fall,'' a fatherless girl, feeling powerless and hopeless as well, discovers a perverse strength in causing her friend's epileptic seizures. Some inspired low comedy (and more class conflict) comes from two familiar experts: Tim Gautreaux's ``Little Frogs in a Ditch'' is a droll tale concerning a no-account loser who sells common roof pigeons as homing pigeons; and Lee Smith's unsparing ``Native Daughter'' turns on the conceit of its haughty narrator, a pretty girl from Kentucky who doesn't realize that her clubby male companions consider her easy trash. Robert Olen Butler's tetchy introduction--with its bristling at the notion of ``Southern'' fiction--insists on the universality of art, but his fears are misplaced. The superb stories here quietly demonstrate that the universal always resides in the particular.