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Literary Criticism Short Stories

The Art of Brevity

Excursions in Short Fiction Theory and Analysis

edited by Per Winther, Jakob Lothe & Hans H. Skei

University of South Carolina Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2011
Short Stories
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2011
    List Price

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Refreshing, inclusive approaches to the theory and practice of short fiction

The Art of Brevity gathers fresh ideas about the theory and writing of short fiction from around the globe to produce an international, inclusive exploration of the steadily growing field of short story studies. While Anglo-American scholars have served as the primary developers of contemporary short story theory since the field's inception in the 1960s, this volume adds the contributions of scholars living in other parts of the world. Such Anglo-American pioneers as Mary Rohrberger, Charles E. May, Susan Lohafer, and John Gerlach join with short fiction scholars at universities in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada to build academic bridges and expand the field, geographically as well as conceptually.

Contributors weave together themes of time, space, compression, mystery, reader response, and narrative closure. They discuss writers as varied as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Sarah Orne Jewett, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, Mavis Gallant, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Robert Olen Butler. Among the less familiar topics they investigate are the Australian tall tale, the nineteenth-century queer story, and contemporary Danish "short shorts."

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Jakob Lothe is a professor of English literature at the University of Oslo. His books include Narrative in Fiction and Film, Conrad's Narrative Method, and Literary Landscapes: From Modernism to Postcolonialism.

Editorial Reviews

A basic tenet of the book is that the short storyor rather, 'short fiction'is not simply a shorter form of the novel but instead a distinct form with its own set of principles.... Those interested in a stimulating overview and in-depth treatment of this surprisingly vast field will benefit by reading this well-researched volume. Highly recommended.