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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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4. K. Mansfield’s “The Escape” – An Epiphany on Impossibility

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4.  K. Mansfield’s “The Escape” – An Epiphany on Impossibility

The purpose of this essay is to analyse the use of literary epiphany in Katherine Mansfield’s short stories, her conception of the technique, the influences she received in this respect, to connect it with modernism and, in the end, to discuss the short story “The Escape” as a demonstration of what was said. As referred in the Introduction, the short story is defined by brevity and concentration in fragmentation, subjectivism, apprehension and description of an isolate and definite moment. Frequently contrasted with the novel (associated with time), the short story sense of temporality resonates against the short story spatial base, and readers move in time from beginning to the end and back again (Rohrberger, 2004:7). Epiphany reflects time-space condensation, a freezing of the flux of time in a specific space, similar to Wordsworth’s “spots of time” in the “Prelude”. Some short fiction theorists, like Clare Hanson or Suzanne Ferguson (1982) even defend that epiphany is the structural core of modernist short fiction, as it emphasizes a unique moment of significant or intense experience, that the short story form adequately conveys (Hanson, 1985: 55). The epiphanic moment is a break in time continuity, a revelation that has much of intuitive or absurd, a halt that is materialized in a space. The short story brevity is suitable to explore this spatial form structure and Mansfield, whose literary reputation is based on modernist short story, frequently used...

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