David Malcolm. 2012. the British and Irish Short Story Handbook
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Further, for scholars new to the field of short story criticism it is an accessible yet well-informed entry point. With the range of resources it offers and the succinct summaries it provides of key issues, topics and debates it collates some of the central tenets of the field.
I am sure it will set people off on a fruitful journey into the ever-developing field of the British and Irish short story and short story criticism. And for that we should be grateful.
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The British and Irish Short Story Handbook
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Magazine article European English Messenger. The British and Irish Short Story Handbook provides a rich and dense treatment of short fiction writing and its development in Britain and Ireland. Malcolm's earlier study, dated , provided a comprehensive treatment of the short story in Britain and Ireland as it developed from the s to the present.
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It included a discussion of genres, as well as chapters on individual texts and authors, and an examination of women's writings, gay and lesbian writings, and short fiction by immigrants to Britain. The author's new volume, published in , is a very interesting and useful handbook, rigorously divided into five parts.
The first part presents a brief but dense history of the short story, first in Britain, then in Ireland. The rise of the modern British short story, and of the British short story tout court dates around , a convenient opening date to mark its beginnings, while the last decade of the nineteenth century was crucial for its development. Malcolm underscores a difference in the lines of development of British and Irish short stories, although these lines are sometimes difficult to differentiate.
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He also points out that the number of Irish writers who have produced substantial work in short fiction over the past fifty years is much more impressive than one could have expected. The second part deals with basic issues in short-story studies, i. Frank O'Connor, an Irish short stories writer, has suggested that in these the reader often finds the presence of outlawed figures, wandering about the fringes of society. That explains why the short story flourished in the context of an unstable, fragmented, isolated, traumatized world, such as that of nineteenth and twentieth century Ireland and Great Britain.