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Raymond Carver’s Short Fiction in the History of Black Humor

Jinqiong Zhou

This first book-length study on the black humor in Raymond Carver’s work includes valuable interpretations of Carver’s aesthetics as well as the psycho-social implications of his short fiction. The presence of an indeterminate «menace» in the oppressive situations of black humor in Carver – as compared to a European tradition of existentialist writing and his American predecessors including Twain, Heller, Barth and others – is mitigated through humor so it is not dominant. As a result, a subtle promise emerges in the characters’ lives.