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Narrative and Space

Across Short Story Landscapes and Regional Places

Alda Correia

These eight texts deal with different perspectives on the relation between the regional short story, modernism and space. Seven of them concentrate on short prose (the short story and chronicle) and one deals with the novel. Four of them consider canonical pre-modernist and modernist Anglo-American authors and the other four Portuguese rustic and modernist short story writers. Their common point of departure is the notion that the representation of the world cannot be separated from its spatial context, and the effort to understand how space and landscape influenced the structure of narratives and were represented in some of them, mainly in short fiction. They draw attention to the importance of the underestimated regionalist short prose narratives, essentially from a comparative literary perspective, but also considering certain aspects of their social and cultural connections and dissonances.

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2. The Hybrid Genesis of the Short Story in Washington Irving’s The Alhambra


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2.  The Hybrid Genesis of the Short Story in Washington Irving’s The Alhambra

The aim of this article is to show Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra centrality in the transition between the second and third phases of generic1 development of modernist short fiction, revealing the role of space in the emergence and differentiation of a distinct literary genre.

Irving (1783–59) successfully harmonized the demands of a commercial culture in an emerging mass market, his determination to build a career as a writer in a family and social milieu traditionally related with commerce and politics, the tradition of folk tale and legend and a new representation of the Moors. He changed the valence of the story of the Moors in the Western imagination (Stevens, 2007: 295), delineating different types of short narrative prose – travel memoirs, folk tales, descriptive sketches, short story cycle, anecdotes, “fairy stories”, legends, “marvellous tales”, centred on travel report and storytelling.

The Alhambra: a series of tales and sketches of the Moors and Spaniards was published in 1832 in the USA and in England. It is the ← 53 | 54 → author’s fourth book of tales and sketches and it reveals Irving’s passion for Spain, shown in his biography, and his desire to study the traditional myths of other spaces, namely the European. In parallel, he could investigate the ancestry of his country as happened for example with the historical biography of Christopher Columbus, and develop literary aspirations...

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