The British and Irish Short Story Handbook
The British and Irish Short Story Handbook guides readers through the development of the short story and the critical issues involved in discussions of short fiction. By including in-depth analysis of non-canonical writers and non-realist writers alongside that of major authors and their works, the handbook offers a comprehensive and much-needed appraisal of this area of literary study.
The guide contains a brief history of the development of the form since the 1880s, with discussions of central texts by, amongst others, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, Jean Rhys, V. S. Pritchett, James Sheridan Le Fanu, and Samuel Beckett. There follows an examination of some central issues in contemporary short-story criticism: definition of the short story; its status as a genre; the collection as an interpretive context; the importance of the motif of marginality; canonicity; and the role of institutions in the form’s development. It continues with a discussion on the range of genres in the twentieth and twenty-first century short story, with particular attention to the interplay of realist and non-realist genres.
The book also examines the work of selected major short-story writers. Irish authors considered throughout the book include George Moore, SeŠn O’FaolŠin, John McGahern, William Trevor, and Mary Dorcey; discussion of writers active in mainland Britain includes †Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen, Somerset Maugham, J. G. Ballard, and Angela Carter.