Short Fiction in Short
A Panel at MLA (Boston) 2013
Because of meager critical attention given to the short story before 1976, Charles E. May organized a volume entitled Short Story Theories as a plea for more meaningful and substantive work on the form. As May noted with the publication of New Short Story Theories in 1994, many literary theorists and critics heeded the call, and, in fact, much work has been done on short fiction in the last twenty-five years. Nonetheless, critics still reflexively associate the novel with the United States because of formís theorization and history. As Mikhail Bakhtin has told us, the novel is, with its heteroglossia, the most democratic of genres, and as historicist critics have pointed it, the U.S. and the novel both burst onto the world stage in the late eighteenth-century. Such ideas have resulted in seminal works of literary criticism, like Leslie Fielderís and Cathy Davidsonís, that offer explicit homologies between the novel and the American nation-state. Despite the elegance of these arguments, short fiction can and does have a place in literary criticism and in American literary history. This panel invites considerations of American short fiction (tales, sketches, short stories, etc) with a focus on formal distinctiveness, political use, and/or social history. How are these various forms distinguished from each other and from the novel? What makes them valid as genres? How have writers used them for political, social, or literary purposes? How have they figured in the history of the academy, of literary criticism, or in social history more broadly? All periods are welcomed.
Please send abstracts of 300 words to Lydia Fash (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 March 2012.
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)