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Studies in Short Fiction

The Afterlife and Other Stories.

The Afterlife and Other Stories. – book reviews Sanford Pinsker by John Updike. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. 316 pages. $24. No contemporary American short story writer captures that epiphanic moment when surfaces collide with intimations of the transcendental and memory pushes protagonists simultaneously toward recollections of a nostalgic past and fearful dreams of […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

Camus’s “The Silent Men” and “The Guest”: Depictions of Absurd Awareness

Camus’s “The Silent Men” and “The Guest”: Depictions of Absurd Awareness – Critical Essay Rob Roy McGregor In Le Mythe de Sisyphe,(1) Camus commends the profundity of Kierkegaard’s perception regarding despair: “[There is] nothing more profound than Kierkegaard’s view that despair is not an act but a state: the very state of sin. For sin […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

A barbarous Eden: Joyce Carol Oates’s first collection

A barbarous Eden: Joyce Carol Oates’s first collection Greg Johnson The sheer abundance of Joyce Carol Oates’s fiction has tended to forestall careful critical analysis of individual works, especially of her books published before her 1969 novel, them, which won the National Book Award in 1970 and remains her most-discussed longer work. In particular, her […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

The Art of John Updike’s “A & P”

The Art of John Updike’s “A & P” Toni Saldivar John Updike’s best known, most anthologized and most frequently taught short story, “A & P,” first appeared in The New Yorker (22 July 1961: 22-24), a publication that assumes a reader with considerable literary and cultural knowledge. Updike, for whom literature and art have been […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

The idea of nature in “Benito Cereno.”

The idea of nature in “Benito Cereno.” Terry J. Martin Although many critics have analyzed specific natural images in Melville’s Benito Cereno, no one has yet focused exclusively on the role of nature in the novella, nor looked fully at its problematic relation to Delano. Such an examination can both reveal much about Melville’s artistry […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

Spatial Confinement in Hemingway’s “Cat in the Rain”

Spatial Confinement in Hemingway’s “Cat in the Rain” – Critical Essay Darren Felty In “Cat in the Rain,” Ernest Hemingway illustrates the emotional estrangement of his characters by manipulating spatial relationships and geometric patterns in the visual imagery of his text. The work revolves around the desire of Hemingway’s protagonist, an American wife vacationing in […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

Gender and structure in John Cheever’s “The Country Husband.”

Gender and structure in John Cheever’s “The Country Husband.” Lawrence Jay Dessner “He struck her full in the face. She staggered …” (Cheever, “The Country Husband” 340) “A deconstructive reading is an attempt to show how the conspicuously foregrounded statements in a text are systematically related to discordant signifying elements that the text has thrown […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

chalices and umbrellas, ptolemaic Memphis and Victorian Dublin

James Joyce’s “The Sisters”: chalices and umbrellas, ptolemaic Memphis and Victorian Dublin Susan Swartzlander Almost 30 years ago, Berni Benstock published a note about “The Sisters,” questioning whether the short story had “come-of-age,” a point “when a critic takes it upon himself to summarize the compendium of previous criticism, cut away, the accumulation of erroneous […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

Civil Warland In Bad Decline. – Review

Civil Warland In Bad Decline. – Review – book review Ron Tanner CIVIL WARLAND IN BAD DECLINE by George Saunders. New York: Random House, 1996. 179 pages. $22. Reading George Saunders, in Civil War Land in Bad Decline, is like listening to a fairly good sax player jam. His improvisations are, at times, exhilarating, for […]

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Studies in Short Fiction

“Don’t Tell Daddy”: Narrative Complexity in Alice Munro’s “The Love of a Good Woman”

“Don’t Tell Daddy”: Narrative Complexity in Alice Munro’s “The Love of a Good Woman” – on Ildiko de Papp Carrington In “Everything Here is Touchable and Mysterious,” Alice Munro recalls an annual event in her early life, the flooding of the Maitland River, which “came upon [the people of Wingham, Ontario] with a Biblical inevitability” […]