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The American Short Story Cycle$
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Jennifer J. Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423939

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423939.001.0001

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Forming Provisional Identities

Forming Provisional Identities

(p.1) Introduction Forming Provisional Identities
The American Short Story Cycle

Jennifer J. Smith

Edinburgh University Press

The introduction argues that the short story cycle is the preeminent genre for articulating the uncertainty that characterizes literary responses to modernity. The introduction outlines two vital contributions of the cycle to American literary history: 1. the absence of textual harmony in the cycle initiated new, pervasive narrative techniques of proliferating perspectives and disrupting chronology that inflect modern and contemporary fiction and 2. the form of the cycle enables the expression of subjectivity without fixity. Contingency and multiplicity are so central to our social-media infused culture that provisionality is its defining characteristic, but this book shows that the seeds for this go back almost to the nation’s founding.

Keywords:   Modernity, Modernism, Subjectivity, Narrative

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