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General Foreword

Michelle Ryan-Sautour, Gérald Préher et Linda Collinge-Germain

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1This issue of the Journal of the Short Story in English is a double-volume featuring a general section as well as a special section entitled “Affect and the Short Story and Short Story Cycle,” the latter under the guest editorship of Paul Ardoin and Fiona McWilliam. We thank them as well as Robert Luscher, specialist of the short story sequence and guest consultant for this special section, for their active involvement in contributing to research on the short story in English.

2The general section of this issue begins with a study of Rudyard Kipling’s 1909 story “The House Surgeon.” In “Is There a Doctor in the House? Rudyard Kipling’s Private Message to Arthur Conan Doyle in ‘The House Surgeon,’” Donna White looks at the way in which Kipling seems to have not only written a story for the public, but also to have addressed a private message of hope and healing to his friend Arthur Conan Doyle after the death of his first wife, a hypothesis that resonates with this issue’s special section on Affect.

3The two articles which follow both present comparative studies based on James Joyce’s Dubliners, attesting once again to the collection’s status as a landmark in the field of short story research. Daniela Janes compares Dubliners to the 1987 collection Tales from Firozsha Baag by the Parsi-Canadian writer Rohinton Mistry. Reading both works as short story cycles, her aim is to demonstrate that the form of the short story cycle offers a “structural correlative” to the Joycean device of epiphany. Janes argues that the “epiphanic spectrum,” understood as a “gradual accumulation of awareness,” thus a process, has correlations with the structure of the short-story cycle, an accumulative genre.

4Thomas O’Grady directs his attention to the locus of Joyce’s Dubliners as he compares the collection to Benedict Kiely’s Dublin-based short stories. Engaging with Guy Davenport’s notion of “the geography of imagination,” O’Grady argues that Kiely, as much as Joyce, pays tribute both to Dublin as a place and to Ireland as a literary landscape.

5Timothy Nixon and Brian Jansen focus in their respective articles on the topos of immigration in the turn-of-the-twentieth-century United States. Nixon encourages critics to read Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s story “Tony’s Wife” recalling the historical context of immigration and ethnic diversity in early twentieth-century New Orleans. In so doing, argues Nixon, they will perceive how the author engages with the ideas of race and racism in a story whose cast of characters is paradoxically only white.

6“Yekl,” the story written by Abrahm Cahan and studied by Brian Jansen, is set in Yiddish New York during the same period. This paper argues that “‘Yekl’ is a text whose realist impulse and urge to interpret Yiddish-American immigrant culture for a wider audience is complemented and complicated by a knowledge of and engagement with non-realist Yiddish literary traditions: the folk tale, folk figures like the schlemiel, and a history of verbal, self-deprecating, anecdotal Yiddish humour.”

7Finally, Yair Solan examines the suburban stories for which John Cheever has become so well-known, studying specifically what Cheever called the paradoxical “loss of privacy” in 1950s’ suburbia in comparison to the “liberating anonymity” of cities like New York. Nevertheless, argues Solan, Cheever’s suburban fiction maintains a decidedly urban sensibility. “Peopled by New York City exiles, suburban flâneurs, and exurban commuters, Cheever’s suburbia is hardly disconnected from the city,” concludes Solan.

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Michelle Ryan-Sautour, Gérald Préher et Linda Collinge-Germain, « General Foreword », Journal of the Short Story in English [En ligne], 66 | Spring 2016, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2018, consulté le 07 août 2020. URL :


Michelle Ryan-Sautour

JSSE Editor

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Gérald Préher

JSSE Associate Editor

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Linda Collinge-Germain

JSSE Director of Publication

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