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Sudleigh: place and politics in the modern short story

Crane, David Jonathan (2018) Sudleigh: place and politics in the modern short story. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis consists of a short story collection and an accompanying critical commentary. The story collection comprises ten linked stories all set in a fictional small town in southern England: the eponymous Sudleigh. The cycle examines ordinary lives within that landscape. While the stories may vary in their naturalism, they are linked by a common setting and a scrutiny of the sociological and political nuances of small-town England. The accompanying critical commentary examines, through the lens of writing technique, how writers have used the realist short story not just to portray snapshots of the human condition but also to engage with the issues central to the societies they inhabit. Through the analysis and discussion of various stories by such writers as Chekhov, Joyce, Mansfield, Hemingway, Carver, Simpson, Kelman and Munro, the four chapters respond to several questions. How can the writer renew the realist short story and make it relevant? How can the writer make the short story both represent and interrogate reality? What role does the evocation of place play in the realist short story and its capacity to construct socio-political implication? It also explores the capacity of the story cycle to expand the short story’s socio-political potential, and the suitability of its fragmentary form to portray a fragmented society. In light of the modern, realist short story tradition, the final chapter offers a detailed reflective commentary on the processes and choices made in the writing of Sudleigh. As well as exploring such issues as voice, style, compression, structure, endings, editing practice, constructing the fictive town and binding the cycle, the reflective commentary also weighs the nature of my own socio-political engagements, and my efforts to renew the form.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Creative Writing; Short Story; Short Story Cycle; Fiction; Short Story Theory; Creative Writing technique; Literary Criticism.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: David Crane
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2018 10:43
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2018 10:43
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22894

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