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Old Challenges and New Horizons in English and American Studies

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Edited By Anna Walczuk and Wladyslaw Witalisz

The volume is a collection of essays representative of the wide focus of research encouraged and coordinated by the Polish Association for the Study of English (member of ESSE). Articles selected for the volume deal with works of poetry, drama and prose written in English and invite the reader to view them in the context of intercultural and intertextual discourse. Authors discussed in the articles include: John Redford, William Shakespeare, John Dryden, James Macpherson, John Clare, Anna Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, George Gordon Byron, Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, T.F. Powys, Patrick White, Brian Friel, Brendan Behan, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Chaim Potok, Ian McEwan, Kiran Desai, and Sarah Kane. In many of the essays the reader will notice a meta-discursive argument on the interplay between tradition and innovation in English studies.
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Exploding the Commonplace: T. F. Powys and the Short Story

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Miłosz Wojtyna

Uniwersytet Gdański

“The first and principal charm of a story is its simplicity and sincerity” (Chekhov 1966: 231); “In literature, the lower ranks are as necessary as in the army” (277); “[concentrate on] ordinary love and family life without villains and angels […] even, smooth, ordinary life as it actually is” (230). This is what Anton Chekhov says to his fellow writers in one of his numerous letters. Several decades after the author of the “slice of life stories”, a similar object of interest was pointed to by Raymond Carver, the American master of the condensed writing: “It’s possible, in a poem or short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things – a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman’s earring – with immense, even startling power” (1981: 9). Although Frank O’Connor, another writer of the form, may be right to claim that “always in the short story there is this sense of outlawed figures wandering about the fringes of society” (2003: 19) and short fiction indeed very often is dedicated to marginalized, turbulent experiences, numerous short story writers in some of their work concentrated on the mundane and the typical. The commonplace – which I will here understand as a body of subjects dealing with “the common man”, exploring daily problems, repetitive actions, strong habits and unglamorous events – remains most closely linked to the history of the short story....

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