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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

The Persistence of Place

The Persistence of Place

(p.37) Chapter 2 The Persistence of Place
The American Short Story Cycle

Jennifer J. Smith

Edinburgh University Press

Building on correspondence, essays, and public statements, the second chapter examines the ongoing significance of place to contemporary cycles. Although Winesburg, Ohio did not originate the genre, it has had the most enduring and wide influence on cycles in recent decades, a period which has seen the resurgence of the cycle because community itself is being reimagined in response to the volatility of the economy. This chapter focus on texts whose authors explicitly cite Anderson’s influence: Russell Banks’s Trailerpark (1981), Cathy Day’s The Circus in Winter (2004), and Rebecca Barry’s Later, at the Bar (2007). Anderson hails Winesburg as enabling “a new looseness” in fiction; that sense of novelty and innovation recurs in authors’ statements about reading Winesburg for the first time, citing its transformative and revelatory power. These contemporary writers narrow even within the small town settings to focus on a particular, marginalized population, thereby amplifying the pervasiveness of alienation in contemporary America.

Keywords:   Sherwood Anderson, Contemporary, Russell Banks, Cathy Day, Rebecca Barry, Alienation, Community, Place

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