More Time: Contemporary Short Stories and Late Style

ISBN : 9780198839224

Lee Clark Mitchell
224 ページ
135 x 216 mm

More Time studies the contemporary short story and focuses on four recent collections: Alice Munro's Dear Life (2012); Andre Dubus's Dancing After Hours (1996); Joy Williams's The Visiting Privilege (2015); and Lydia Davis's Can't and Won't (2014). Each publication has appeared near the conclusion of a career devoted all but exclusively to short stories, with each defining a 'late style' honed over a lifetime. As well, each diverges from others in ways that have profoundly shaped our generic conceptions, and collectively they represent the four most innovative practitioners of the past half-century (with the arguable exception of Raymond Carver). Yet in an era when writing programs, The New Yorker, and distinguished journals all promulgate the short story, it remains relatively under-examined as a major literary form. We continue to argue about what a story inherently is, ignoring how differences among practitioners enliven the field. Dubus, Munro, Williams, and Davis each defy critical efforts to identify the story form's presumed constitution, marked by a supposedly special shape or requisite length or distinct narrative trajectory. And the very contrast among their efforts reveals the expansiveness of the genre, though few have taken such a cross-glancing interpretive approach. This volume opens up discussion, shifting from close analysis into larger speculation about possibilities established by the most innovative writers in their later work.


Introduction: Bulwarks of Silence
1 Bewilderment in Dear Life
2 Trauma in Dancing After Hours
3 Disjointedness in The Visiting Privilege
4 Less Time in Can't and Won't
Epilogue: Silence and Slow Time


Lee Clark Mitchell is Holmes Professor of Belles-Lettres at Princeton University, where he has served as Chair of the English Department and Director of the Program in American Studies. He teaches courses in American literature and film, with recent essays focusing on Cormac McCarthy, John Williams, the Coen brothers, Henry James, and noir fiction. His latest books are iMere Reading: The Poetics of Wonder in Modern American Novelsr (2017) and Late Westerns: Genre Expectations and Border Crossings (2018).