Donald Barthelme Short Fiction Analysis - Essay

Donald Barthelme Short Fiction Analysis

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Donald Barthelme’s fiction exhausts and ultimately defeats conventional approaches (including character, plot, setting, theme—“the enemies of the novel” as fellow writer John Hawkes once called them) and defeats too all attempts at generic classification. His stories are not conventional, nor are they Borgesian ficciones or Beckettian “texts for nothing.” Thematic studies of his writing have proved utterly inadequate, yet purely formalist critiques have seemed almost as unsatisfying. To approach a Barthelme story, the reader must proceed circuitously via various, indeed at times simultaneous, extraliterary forms: collage, caricature, Calder mobile, action painting, jazz, atonality, the chance music of John...

(The entire section is 3977 words.)