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Can you recommend any good criticism on the history and the features of short...

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jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 10, 2011 at 5:41 PM via web

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Can you recommend any good criticism on the history and the features of short stories?

Can you recommend any good criticism on the history and the features of short stories?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 10, 2011 at 7:00 PM (Answer #2)

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One of the most famous pieces of criticism related to short stories is an essay wrriten by Edgar Allen Poe in 1846 called "The Philosophy of Composition." I have included the link to the enotes study guide section on this essay to help you research it more, and likewise a link to short stories in general. However, this essay is famous and still used today for its definition of what "good" literature is, with particular relevance to short stories.

According to Poe, all literature should be short enough to be read in one sitting. This, to his mind, made the short story superior to the novel for reasons of the normal brevity of a short story compared to a novel. Secondly, Poe argued that the process of writing was not spontaneous but actually analytical and methodical. Lastly, Poe argued that good fiction is only written once the author has decided how it will end and the kind of emotional response he or she wishes to create. This effect is all important, as making that decision will determine how aspects such as the plot, tone, setting and characters and so on will be decided.

You can read more about it by following the links below, and you might want to take a popular short story and try and judge it against Poe's criteria for successful fiction or even analyse whether Poe is correct in his assertions. For example, do authors have to know where the story is going before they start writing?

http://www.enotes.com/philosophy-composition-salem/philosophy-composition

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 11, 2011 at 7:59 AM (Answer #3)

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There were many authors who were also critics.  Poe is one, as mentioned above.  See also Coleridge, Johnson, Pope, among others.  If you search "short story criticism" in your favorite search engine, you should probably come up with some good stuff.  The following links are just a few that I came up with in a very short time period.  Good Luck!

http://www.clinton.edu/DouglasLibrary/ShortStoryCriticismSources.cxml

http://www.westvalley.edu/library/research-guides/short-story-criticism.pdf

http://www.lib.unca.edu/library/rr/shortlit.html

http://www.enotes.com/short-story-criticism

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jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted July 16, 2011 at 6:25 PM (Answer #4)

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One of the most famous pieces of criticism related to short stories is an essay wrriten by Edgar Allen Poe in 1846 called "The Philosophy of Composition." I have included the link to the enotes study guide section on this essay to help you research it more, and likewise a link to short stories in general. However, this essay is famous and still used today for its definition of what "good" literature is, with particular relevance to short stories.

According to Poe, all literature should be short enough to be read in one sitting. This, to his mind, made the short story superior to the novel for reasons of the normal brevity of a short story compared to a novel. Secondly, Poe argued that the process of writing was not spontaneous but actually analytical and methodical. Lastly, Poe argued that good fiction is only written once the author has decided how it will end and the kind of emotional response he or she wishes to create. This effect is all important, as making that decision will determine how aspects such as the plot, tone, setting and characters and so on will be decided.

You can read more about it by following the links below, and you might want to take a popular short story and try and judge it against Poe's criteria for successful fiction or even analyse whether Poe is correct in his assertions. For example, do authors have to know where the story is going before they start writing?

http://www.enotes.com/philosophy-composition-salem/philosophy-composition

great! Thanks a lot!

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2011 at 12:18 AM (Answer #5)

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Are you referring to a specific short story?  Short stories are varied in many ways.  They are an interesting genre because authors use them to do different things.  Some authors write a series of stories and connect them with a common theme, or even the same characters.  Steinbeck experimented with this.  Sometimes the stories are not connected at all, but they are all from the same time period or just collected by a publisher.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 6, 2011 at 3:11 PM (Answer #6)

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You can find a great deal on this topic by doing a search of Google and of Google Books.  Here I've tried to provide you with some links or other citations that look as if they will be especially helpful.

http://www.sfu.ca/english/Gillies/engl207/shortsto.htm

http://www.iwu.edu/~jplath/sschron.html

http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/pva300.html

See especially the topical essays here:

http://salempress.com/Store/samples/critical_survey_short_fiction/critical_survey_short_fiction.htm

See in particular the works of Charles E. May:

http://www.amazon.com/Charles-E.-May/e/B001IXO50Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

See also the classic study by Frank O'Connor titled The Lonely Voice, described by its most recent publisher as follows:

The legendary book about writing by the legendary writer is back!Frank O’Connor was one of the twentieth century’s greatest short story writers, and one of Ireland’s greatest authors ever. Now, O’Connor’s influential and sought-after book on the short story is back.THE LONELY VOICE offers a master class with the master. With his sharp wit and straightforward prose, O’Connor not only discusses the techniques and challenges of a form in which "a whole lifetime must be crowded into a few minutes," but he also delves into a passionate consideration of his favorite writers and their greatest works, including Chekhov, Hemingway, Kipling, Joyce, and others.

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