Constructing Coherence in the British Short Story Cycle  book cover
1st Edition

Constructing Coherence in the British Short Story Cycle

ISBN 9781138503885
Published April 30, 2018 by Routledge
280 Pages

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Book Description

The first major collection of essays on the contemporary British short story cycle, this volume offers in-depth explorations of the genre by comparing its strategies for creating coherence with those of the novel and the short story collection, inquiring after the ties that bind individual short stories into a cycle. A section on theory approaches the form from the point of view of genre theory, cognitive literary studies, and book studies. It is followed by investigations of hitherto neglected aspects of the generic tradition of the British short story cycle and how they relate to the contemporary outlook of the form. Readings of individual contemporary cycles, illustrating the form’s multifaceted uses from the presentation of sexual identities to politics and trauma, make up the third and most substantial part of the volume, placing its focus squarely on the past decades. Unique in its combination of a focus on the literary traditions, politics and markets of the UK with a thorough examination of the genre’s manifold formal and thematic potentials, the volume explores what is at the heart of the short story cycle as a literary form: the constant negotiation between unity and separateness, collective and individual, of coherence and autonomy.

Table of Contents

1 Patrick Gill, Florian Kläger
Introduction: Constructing Coherence in the British Short Story Cycle

I: Theory

2 Elke D’hoker
A Continuum of Fragmentation. Distinguishing the Short Story Cycle from the Composite Novel

3 Anja Müller-Wood
Bio-Cognitive Constraints in the Reception of Short Story Cycles

4 Corinna Norrick-Rühl
Short Story Collections and Cycles in the British Literary Marketplace

II: Traditions

5 Mark Ittensohn
A "shred and patch school of writing": The Emergence of the Modern Short Story Cycle in Late Romantic Britain

6 Rainer Emig
Recovered Coherence in an Early Short Story Cycle: Rudyard Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills

7 Gerri Kimber
A Cycle of Dislocation: Katherine Mansfield, Modernism, and Proto-postcolonialism

III: Transformations

8 Michael C. Frank
Two Worlds in One Book: Ways of Sunlight and the Migrant Short Story Cycle

9 Louisa Hadley
The Fateful Cycle of Fairytales: Reading A. S. Byatt’s The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye

10 Janine Hauthal
Unity in Diversity? Imagining Europe in Julian Barnes’s Cross Channel

11 Valerie O’Riordan
Traumatic Cycles: Ali Smith and A. L. Kennedy

12 Jacob Hovind
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Portraits of Paralysis

13 Roxanne Harde
"Consuming themselves endlessly": Women and Power in Livi Michael’s Short Story Cycle

14 Emma Young
Re-framing Feminist Politics in Helen Simpson’s A Bunch of Fives: Selected Stories

15 Gerd Bayer
The Short Narrative Form in David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks

List of Contributors

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Patrick Gill received his PhD in English literature from Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz where he is now a senior lecturer. His teaching and publications focus on the efficacy of literary form. He is the author of Origins and Effects of Poetic Ambiguity in Dylan Thomas’s Collected Poems (2014) and has published essays on poetry, contemporary fiction and British and American TV culture.

Florian Kläger is Professor of English at the University of Bayreuth. He holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Düsseldorf and has published several books and essays on early modern literature, diasporic fiction, and the contemporary novel. His research interests are linked by the question after the formal resources of literature for the creation of social cohesion.