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The Irish Short Story

Traditions and Trends


Elke D'hoker and Stephanie Eggermont

Often hailed as a ‘national genre’, the short story has a long and distinguished tradition in Ireland and continues to fascinate readers and writers alike. Critical appreciation of the Irish short story, however, has laboured for too long under the normative conception of it as a realist form, used to depict quintessential truths about Ireland and Irish identity. This definition fails to do justice to the richness and variety of short stories published in Ireland since the 1850s. This collection aims to open up the critical debate on the Irish short story to the many different concerns, influences and innovations by which it has been formed. The essays gathered here consider the diverse national and international influences on the Irish short story and investigate its genealogy. They recover the short fiction of writers neglected in previous literary histories and highlight unexpected strands in the work of established writers. They scrutinize established traditions and use cutting-edge critical frameworks to discern new trends. Taken together, the essays contribute to a more encompassing and enabling view of the Irish short story as a hybrid, multivalent and highly flexible literary form, which is forever being reshaped to meet new insights, new influences and new realities.
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About the author


Elke D’hoker is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Leuven, where she is also co-director of the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies. She is the author of Visions of Alterity: Representation in the Works of John Banville (2004) and co-editor of Narrative Unreliability (2008), Irish Women Writers: New Critical Perspectives (2011) and Mary Lavin (2013).

Stephanie Eggermont is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven. In her doctoral dissertation, she investigated the contribution of women writers to the birth of the modern short story in Britain. Her fields of research include British short fiction, gender studies and fin-de-siècle journalism.

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