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The Ordinary and the Short Story

Short Fiction of T.F. Powys and V.S. Pritchett


Miłosz Wojtyna

This formalist-narratological study of T.F. Powys’ and V.S. Pritchett’s short fiction reestablishes both authors as important contributors to the history of the short story form. It also discusses how writers, who did not belong to the modernist avant-garde innovation, address the problems of the short story form in the twentieth century. The study takes a close look at the uses of the ordinary and analyses character, setting, and event presentation, narrators, audiences, narrativity, eventfulness, causality, and narrative rhetoric. It presents two kinds of short fiction and two kinds of the ordinary: the ecstatic one, focused on violations of norm, and the static kind that reassures its patterns.
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“Habit is the ballast that chains the dog to its vomit”, Samuel Beckett (1976: 19)

“Indeed most of life escapes, now I come to think of it: the texture of the ordinary day”, Virginia Woolf (qtd. in Sim 2010: 1)

“Poe’s defect was that he was not interested in the ordinary”, H. E. Bates (1972: 33)

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