Introduction: the short story (2014)Apunte Inglés
Classes de dijous 25/09 i dimarts 30/09
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INTRODUCTION: THE SHORT STORY
- ‘Shortness’ and ‘storyness’.
- How long/short can it be? - Poem: every single thing plays a part Difficult Short story is the closest: it has to be short, but meaningful; a novel may not be that precise - Birth and (recent) development of American literature (>150 years) It gave the impulse to the short story (like the national genre), it has shaped it in a strong way - Poe Carver (echoes to non-Americans) - Short fiction is part of our DNA (e. g. fairytales), they are influenced by popular literature, classics, etc.
Novels vs Short stories a) The novel derives from history, from travels.
b) The story derives from folklore, from anecdotes.
a) The novel works by techniques of retardation. The culmination of the main line of action must come somewhere before the ending.
b) The sort story gravitates expressly toward maximal unexpectedness of a finale concentrating around itself all that has preceded. It is more about intuition.
a) The novel is a long walk through various localities with a peaceful return trip assumed.
b) The short story is a climb up a mountain the aim of which is a view from on high.
a) Conditions for the novel: big form and multiformity of episodes (diverse centers, parallel intrigues…) b) Condition for the short story: small size and plot impact on the ending (e. g. “Baby shoes for sale.
Never worn”, by E. Hemingway).
a) The novel is primarily structured on a conceptual and philosophic framework.
b) The short story is intuitive and lyrical.
a) The novel exists to reaffirm the world of everyday reality b) The short story exists to “defamiliarize” the everyday in two main ways: from an encounter with the sacred (in which true reality is revealed in all its plenitude) or with the absurd (in which true reality is revealed in all its vacuity).
a) The novel adheres to the classical concept of civilized society, of man as an animal who lives in a community.
1 b) The short story remains by its very nature remote from the community... It always presents a sense of outlawed figures wandering about the fringes of society... As a result there is in the short story at its most characteristic something we do not often find in the novel: an intense awareness of human loneliness (Frank O’Connor, 1963).
a) The novel is about extensive distribution.
b) The short story is about intensive compression.
The short story keeps us in our chair for about an hour, said poe; it is prose under pressure. It speaks of and for submerged populations, said Frank O’Connor; it is humanity under pressure (the short story is the right size for teachers and students under pressure!).
Notes on the development of the American short story Until the middle of the nineteenth century, American literature, in the minds both of its writers and readers, was merged with English literature and largely incorporated into it as a “provincial” literature.
The 1830s and 40s bring out with full clarity the tendency of American prose to develop the short story genre. At this very same time English literature cultivates the novel. A mainly rural society and the lack of a well-developed social system may also account for the early success of the short story in the USA.
By mid-century various types of magazines had begun to play a sizeble role both in England and America and to increase in numbers. But it is characteristic that primarily the big novels of Dickens and Thackeray were printed in the English magazines, while the main position in American magazines was held by short stories. The consolidation of the short-story genre was associated with, although not engenered by, the propagation of magazines.
The Lack of an international Copyright Law indirectly fostered the writing of short stories. The American way of living also contributed to the rise of the short story. The American Puritan mentality shunned fictional works.
We can find diferent groups when it comes to American literature: the Development of an American Art Form (Washington Irving, Catharine Sedgwick…), toward an Aesthetic of Form (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville), Old Soutwest Humour (Augustus B. Longstreet, T. B.
Thorpe...), from Romanticism to Realism, Local Color (Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Sarah Orne Jewett...), the Major Realists (Henry James, William Dean Howells...).
Reading: ‘Just Space’, Sam Shepard In this short story, there is a clear problem of identity: the mother is losing it, while Rita is changing hers to get to reafirm it. Other topics that appear are loss, lack of comunication, gender violence, etc. Since it is a dialogue, it could work as a short play too.