Emphasizing important techniques and themes, with due consideration of germane theoretical perspectives and relevant biographical materials, this study offers the most comprehensive, sophisticated examination of Raymond Carver's fiction and poetry to date. Key arguments include a de-emphasis of indeterminacy in Carver's fiction; a detailed unfolding of his brilliant technique, especially his use of unreliable narration, symbolism, and omission; a rejection of the notion of Carver as catatonic realist, a reductive view ignoring the poignancy of his fiction; and a consideration of Carver's authorial control of his characters. Most importantly, this study provides the first readily available, detailed, thoughtful analysis of Carver's poetry, arguing for an inclusion of Carver into the canon of postmodern American poets.
Written in straightforward, clear prose, the in-depth readings will help undergraduates immeasurably, while connections of Carver's work to that of other modern and contemporary writers, to carver scholarship, and theories of minimalism, postmodernism, and realism, will interest and assist more advanced readers. A thorough, current bibliography including references to doctoral dissertations and many MA theses is included. Professor William Cain, the editor of Routledge's Studies in Major Literary Author's series, states confidently that Technique and Sensibility in the Fiction and Poetry or Raymond Carver "Will become the main book" in Carver scholarship, "the book that everyone else will turn to and be obliged to reckon with."
Arthur F. Bethea received his PhD. from Ohio University in 1996 and is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Purdue University-Calumet.