Refreshing, inclusive approaches to the theory and practice of short fiction
The Art of Brevity gathers fresh ideas about the theory and writing of short fiction from around the globe to produce an international, inclusive exploration of the steadily growing field of short story studies. While Anglo-American scholars have served as the primary developers of contemporary short story theory since the field's inception in the 1960s, this volume adds the contributions of scholars living in other parts of the world. Such Anglo-American pioneers as Mary Rohrberger, Charles E. May, Susan Lohafer, and John Gerlach join with short fiction scholars at universities in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada to build academic bridges and expand the field, geographically as well as conceptually.
Contributors weave together themes of time, space, compression, mystery, reader response, and narrative closure. They discuss writers as varied as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Sarah Orne Jewett, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, Mavis Gallant, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Robert Olen Butler. Among the less familiar topics they investigate are the Australian tall tale, the nineteenth-century queer story, and contemporary Danish "short shorts."
Per Winther is a professor emeritus of American literature at the University of Oslo, the author of The Art of John Gardner: Instruction and Exploration, and the coauthor of Less Is More: Short Fiction Theory and Analysis.
Jakob Lothe is a professor of English literature at the University of Oslo. His books include Narrative in Fiction and Film, Conrad's Narrative Method, and Literary Landscapes: From Modernism to Postcolonialism.
Hans H. Skei is a professor of comparative literature at the University of Oslo and the author of three books on Faulkner's achievement: William Faulkner: The Short Story Career; William Faulkner: The Novelist as Short Story Writer; and Reading Faulkner's Best Short Stories.
"A basic tenet of the book is that the short story—or rather, 'short fiction'—is not simply a shorter form of the novel but instead a distinct form with its own set of principles…. Those interested in a stimulating overview and in-depth treatment of this surprisingly vast field will benefit by reading this well-researched volume. Highly recommended."—Choice