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Title: The Short Story Cycle in Ireland: From Jane Barlow to Donal Ryan
Other Titles: De kortverhalencyclus in Ierland: Van Jane Barlow tot Donal Ryan
Authors: Brouckmans, Debbie
Issue Date: 21-Apr-2015
Abstract: This dissertation discusses the literary form of the short story cycle in modern Irish literature (1890s - present). Although the short story cycle, a collection of interconnected stories, is recognized as a subgenre in North American literary studies, there does not appear to be anbsp;or critical tradition of the short story cycle in Ireland. This neglect is surprising given Irelandnbsp;flourishing short story culture in general as well as the fact that Joyce's Dubliners is often seen as one of the archetypes of this hybrid form. This dissertation shows that, in addition to Dubliners, many other Irish short story collections qualify as cycles as well. Tonbsp;end, some twenty-five Irish short story cycles, written in English, are analysed in formal, thematic and generic terms. In the formalnbsp;the focusnbsp;on whether these works displaynbsp;tension between unity and fragmentation typical of the cycle, as different individual stories are made to be part of a wholenbsp;nonetheless does not quite achieve thenbsp;of narrative integrationnbsp;of the novel. The thematic analysis, secondly, establishes the effect of this fragmented formal structure on the meaning of the book as a whole. Thirdly, the generic examination determines whether there exists a tradition of thenbsp;story cycle in Ireland by looking for traces of the Bakhtinian concept of ‘genre memory’ innbsp;works, such as intertextual references to Dubliners. In doing so, this dissertation traces the development of the short story cycle within the larger context of Irish literarynbsp;and thereby places the now largely neglectednbsp;of the short story cycle on the critical map.
Description: This dissertation discusses the literary form of the short story cycle in modern Irish literature (1890s - present). Although the short story cycle, a collection of interconnected stories, is recognized as a subgenre in North American literary studies, there does not appear to be a literary or critical tradition of the short story cycle in Ireland. This neglect is surprising given Ireland's flourishing short story culture in general as well as the fact that Joyce's 'Dubliners' is often seen as one of the archetypes of this hybrid form. This dissertation shows that, in addition to 'Dubliners', many other Irish short story collections qualify as cycles as well. To this end, some twenty-five Irish short story cycles, written in English, are analysed in formal, thematic and generic terms. In the formal investigation, the focus lies on whether these works display the tension between unity and fragmentation typical of the cycle, as different individual stories are made to be part of a whole which nonetheless does not quite achieve the sense of narrative integration characteristic of the novel. The thematic analysis, secondly, establishes the effect of this fragmented formal structure on the meaning of the book as a whole. Thirdly, the generic examination determines whether there exists a tradition of the short story cycle in Ireland by looking for traces of the Bakhtinian concept of "genre memory" in these works, such as intertextual references to 'Dubliners'. In doing so, this dissertation traces the development of the short story cycle within the larger context of Irish literary history, and thereby places the now largely neglected form of the short story cycle on the critical map.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Text and Interpretation, Leuven (-)

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