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Foreword

Linda Collinge-Germain, Michelle Ryan-Sautour, Gérald Préher et François Hugonnier
p. 11

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1We are pleased to present the Autumn 2017 issue of the Journal of the Short Story in English featuring articles on 20th and 21st century short-story writers. Though they appear in chronological order according to dates of short-story publication, they may also be read thematically.

2The first article, by Michaela Schrage-Früh, compares the function of dreamlike elements in Katherine Mansfield’s story “Sun and Moon” and Daphne du Maurier’s “The Pool,” exploring not only how the dream experience and the short story form may be related, but also how reading the two texts in light of their references to dream may yield new insights regarding their psychological and artistic depth as coming-of-age-stories.

3Stephen Edwards also studies Katherine Mansfield, but, as do Kate Imwalle and Jay Ruud for their respective writers, from the angle of war and war trauma. According to Edwards, “war permeates Katherine Mansfield’s fiction, to a greater extent than critics have acknowledged, in pervasive images of death, violence, and loss.” He uses contemporary neurosis theories to illuminate how Mansfield’s diverse fiction “both attempts and refuses to heal the self when exploring traumatic memories” and sees the essential ambiguity of her modernist narrative techniques as being a means to express this.

4Elizabeth Bowen wrote the short stories studied by Kate Imwalle not in relation to WWI, as did Mansfield, but to WWII, and more precisely to the London Blitz and the trauma it provoked in the population. Imwalle argues that “although Bowen’s work falls under the category of Gothic Literature and has remained in the conversation of the gothic by most scholars, her work goes far beyond the site of the everyday ghost story when examined through the lenses of realism and trauma theory.”

5Jay Ruud studies a more recent author, Tim O’Brien, affected by the Vietnam War and who, says Ruud, conceived his 1990 story “On the Rainy River” as a reversal of traditional attitudes toward war: heroes do not go to Vietnam but more courageously to Canada, a place which represents spiritual and psychological renewal and restoration. Because, says Ruud, “the archetypal literary symbol of these things has, historically, been the Grail,” his article envisions O’Brien’s story as a rewriting of the original Grail story, Chrétien de Troyes’ Perceval.

6Five articles study stories which in some way are connected to cultural in-betweenness. In her article on the short stories collected in 1961 in The Best of Simple, Christine Dualé studies how Langston Hughes was influenced by African American cultural traditions and folklore to create an elaborate written art form based on orality. She argues that Hughes’ aesthetics of orality can be understood by looking at the close relationship between language, history and black music. The story-telling of Simple’s stories, says Dualé, is anything but simple.

7In “Communities of Self: Mavis Gallant’s Linnet Muir Cycle,” Tamas Dobozy looks at the different communities which make up Montreal society—and so Linnet’s sense of self—in Gallant’s Linnet Muir stories. For Linnet, says Dobozy, “Montreal is the scene of incompatible ideologies—English and French—whose meeting, rather than being a scene of confusion, enables her to offset one socially proscribed role against another. This ‘meeting,’ and the opportunity it offers for subversion, is articulated throughout the cycle.”

8Helen Mundler studies Jane Gardam’s 1990 story “Chinese Funeral,” a story in which a group of British tourists are destabilized by their visit to China as their colonial certainties become post-colonial uncertainties and as the relationship between dominant and dominated are reconfigured. She then draws a parallel between this story and a passage from a later novel by Gardam, The Man in the Wooden Hat, showing that in both texts, discovering the Eastern Other is problematic for the Westerners.

9Salman Rushdie’s story “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers” is the subject of Aloka Patel’s article. Patel examines the ways in which Rushdie’s story, a story of exile based on the novel and movie The Wizard of Oz, questions the concept of “home” in a globalized world. The narrator of the story, says Patel, “dismantles the notion of a static, mythical home and perpetuates the notion of home as a transformative agent fraught with ambiguity as it inheres within its frame both the real and imaginary homelands.”

10Julia Siccardi also deals with exile and identity as she examines Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), a collection which recounts the experiences of characters migrating from Nigeria to the United States. She observes in the stories that “if the encounter with alterity is underpinned by compassionate ethics that acknowledge the other person’s uniqueness (thus avoiding his/her reduction to a stereotype), the notion of transculture might offer the hope of a cultural confluence.”

11Eric Hyman, in his article “Chess Problems and the Otherworld in Nabokov’s Short Stories,” deals with a different question entirely. As the title suggests, his approach is reader-oriented. Indeed, according to Hyman, “reading a Nabokov short story is like solving a chess problem: readers are challenged to seek a key move, which solves and explains all the elements of the chess problem/short story.” Hyman takes this observation further by noting that the key move often connects to a transcendent Otherworld.

12We thank our Research secretary Aurélie Reuillon for her continued dedication and skilled handling of these articles, allowing us to bring this short-story research to readers worldwide.

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Référence papier

Linda Collinge-Germain, Michelle Ryan-Sautour, Gérald Préher et François Hugonnier, « Foreword », Journal of the Short Story in English, 69 | 2017, 11.

Référence électronique

Linda Collinge-Germain, Michelle Ryan-Sautour, Gérald Préher et François Hugonnier, « Foreword », Journal of the Short Story in English [En ligne], 69 | Autumn 2017, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2019, consulté le 24 janvier 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/jsse/1846

Auteurs

Linda Collinge-Germain

JSSE Director of Publication

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Michelle Ryan-Sautour

JSSE Editor

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Gérald Préher

JSSE Associate Editor

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François Hugonnier

JSSE Editorial Assistant

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