Studies in Short Fiction

Scholarly journal covers American and British fiction, short stories, and narrative poems through critical essays and book reviews.

Articles from Vol. 34, No. 2, Spring

Absence as Metaphor in Henry James's "The Author of `Beltraffio'"
The diseased artist is a common literary character. He is also a controversial one. While illness has been recognized, as one of the prime stimulants of creativity,(1) "the myth of the sick artist has also been dismissed as a fabrication created by...
An Updated Publication History of "The Yellow Wall-Paper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper" has often fallen unintended victim to a specialized form of revisionist history. Most scholarly accounts shrink the number of its pre-1973 appearances in print considerably, as Sandra M....
"Don't Tell (on) Daddy": Narrative Complexity in Alice Munro's "The Love of a Good Woman"
In "Everything Here is Touchable and Mysterious," Alice Munro recalls an annual event in her early life, the flooding of the Maitland River, which "came upon [the people of Wingham, Ontario] with a Biblical inevitability" every spring (33). It is not...
Kafka's "The Animal in the Synagogue": His Marten as a Special Biblical Memory
Exploring the identity of Kafka's marten-like creature in his story, "The Animal in the Synagogue," Marthe Robert speculated that it should be viewed as the memory of something sacred (113-14). Elaborating on Robert's conjecture, I would argue that...
Myths of Poesis, Hermeneusis, and Psychogenesis: Hoffmann, Tagore, and Gilman
The myths of the maze, the goddess, and the descent to the underworld play a key role in the "Mines of Falun" by E. T. A. Hoffmann, "The Hungry Stones" by Rabindranath Tagore, and "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. All three works...
Self-Knowledge and Self-Conception: The Therapy of Autobiography in John Barth's Lost in the Funhouse
Many of John Barth's works are marked by an attempt to sort out the maze of self-conception and to determine the effects that too much self-knowledge has on the individual. Barth's protagonists flounder to establish their place in the world, questioning...
Taking "Other Liberties" with Hazlitt's Liber Amoris
However much readers and critics psychoanalyze William Hazlitt's persona in Liber Amoris (1823), it is abundantly clear that "H" simply wants what he cannot have--sex with "S." In the first part of Liber Amoris, William Hazlitt constructs--supposedly...
The Art of John Updike's "A & P"
John Updike's best known, most anthologized and most frequently taught short story, "A & P," first appeared in The New Yorker (22 July 1961: 22-24), a publication that assumes a reader with considerable literary and cultural knowledge. Updike,...
The Narrator's Dilemma in "Bartleby the Scrivener": The Excellently Illustrated Re-Statement of a Problem
For to me it seems more the excellently illustrated re-statement of a problem, than the solution of the problem itself. But as such mere illustrations are almost universally taken for solutions (and perhaps they are the only possible human solutions),...
Using Temperament Theory to Understand Conflict in Hemingway's "Soldier's Home"
Deeply held values--core values--anchor every literary character's (and individual's) view of the world and the self. When core values come under attack, a character feels a compelling conflict and seeks to reduce the threat. To understand conflict...
"What's to Say": Silence in Raymond Carver's "Feathers"
Raymond Carver is well known for his sparse, pared-down style, a style that invites readers to contribute their own interpretations through connections that are not overtly communicated textually. Frequently, critics note that Carver's narrators leave...