Postmodern Approaches to the Short Story (Contributions to the Study of World Literature)
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Postmodernism, as a mode of the contemporary short story, has been clearly established and recognized by short story theorists. But postmodern theory, as pervasive as it has become among academics in the last half century, has scarcely been applied to the short story genre in particular. Many contemporary scholars, nonetheless, are currently making use of certain postmodern thematic approaches to help them determine meanings of particular short stories. T
Short story theory began with Edgar Allan Poe's review of Twice-Told Tales, a collection of stories by his contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne. But theoretical discussions of the short story languished until modernism and the new criticism provided impetus for further development. Surprisingly, though, the next large critical movement, postmodernism, failed to address the short story as a genre. But while there is little postmodern theory concerning the short story, contemporary scholars have used certain postmodern critical approaches to help determine meaning. This book demonstrates the effect of postmodern theory on the study of the short story genre.
The expert contributors to this volume examine such topics as genre and form, the role of the reader, cultural and ethnic diversity, and feminist perspectives on the short story. In doing so, they apply postmodern theoretical approaches to international short stories, be they in the traditional mode, the modern mode, or the postmodern mode. The volume looks at fiction by Edith Wharton, Henry James, Katherine Mansfield, and other authors, and at Iranian short fiction, the postcolonial short story, the fantastic in short fiction, and other subjects.
social elements that pull the reader toward a sequencing that the author neglected or refused to provide. On March 25, 1915, Katherine Mansfield wrote to John Middleton Murry that she had begun work on her first novel "I had a great day yesterday. The Muses descended in a ring, like the angels on the Botticelli Nativity roof... and I fell into the open arms of my first novel. I have finished a large chunk (Letters I, 167-68). She calls the work a "book" in a letter to S. S. Koteliansky of May
Papers," "The Fox," or "Death in Venice," the titles of "The Aloe," "Prelude," and "At the Bay" suggest central tropes that can easily frame a short fiction—novella or short story—rather than a novel. With such titles and brevity influencing us on the one hand, and multiple story threads weaving in and out on the other, how do readers decide the appropriate strategies to make sense of and achieve the illusion of wholeness (Poe's "unity of effect") from stories such as "Prelude" and "At the Bay,"
epi-story takes Candelario a step forward for it illustrates in very specific terms the complexity of the issue and, inadvertently, serves to reemphasize the shallowness and utter simplicity of Don Gustavo's "solution" and Federico's comment. Benitez further complicates the matter at a later juncture (chapter eight) when we meet Beto's father Cesar, who has suffered the loss of his wife and two younger sons in a bus accident. Functioning as a kind of corrective to Rafael's mistaken impression
indifferent throngs of Harlem. Better that she listen to folk songs at dusk in Georgia, you would say, and so would I."2 From "Calling Jesus" (in the second Washington, D.C./Chicago section): "Her breath comes sweet as honeysuckle whose pistils bear the life of coming song. And her eyes carry to where builders find no need for vestibules, for swinging on iron hinges, storm doors" (58). And, finally, from the third—"Kabnis"—section, set in rural Georgia. Kabnis is speaking: "Dear Jesus do not
with "sun," "son," "soil," "slaves," "slavery," and "song." Song is central to both Du Bois and Toomer, and their understanding of its importance places them in a line that stretches back to Frederick Douglass's 1845 Narrative, where, speaking of the spirituals Douglass wrote, "To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery."6 In the closing chapter of The Souls of Black Folk titled "The Sorrow Songs," Du Bois describes the spirituals as "the most