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The Experimental Short Story

Scott, Jeremy (2018) The Experimental Short Story. In: Delaney, Paul and Hunter, Adrian, eds. The Edinburgh Companion to the Short Story in English. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, UK. ISBN 978-1-4744-0065-7. E-ISBN 978-1-4744-4223-7. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:63224)

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This chapter investigates the expressive and methodological possibilities inherent in writing ‘short’ through close analysis of the narrative structure and prose style of a sample of what can be classified variously as ‘postmodern’, experimental and anti-realist short stories. It achieves this through the use of theoretical frameworks rooted in narratology and stylistics. First, the paper proposes briefly some narratological and stylistic ‘norms’ against which the deviations characteristic of experimental short fiction can be measured: the linear plot, unity of point of view, a standard narrative discourse in linguistic terms and so on. Subsequently, the discussion explores the work of writers whose work pulls against these norms, investigating how their writing does so and to what end and effect. It will draw on brief examples from the anti-narrative and negation of Beckett to the graphological and typographical experimentation of Donald Barthelme, Ronald Sukenick and Gabriel Josipovici, the psychogeography and explicit ‘urbanism’ of Iain Sinclair, the demotic vernacular of James Kelman, to the use of myth and folktale in the work of Robert Coover and A.S. Byatt. The paper’s thesis is that the experimental short story genre can thus be defined and delineated in a principled manner with reference to concepts drawn from stylistics, and that such definition has useful implications and lessons for creative practice in general.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: short story, narratology, creative writing, narrative method
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PE English philology and language
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Jeremy Scott
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2017 09:57 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 15:52 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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